The cottage chrysanthemums are even later in their blooming. Sometimes they leave it so late that they have to compete with wind, rain and sodden leaves. A pleasant single pink called Innocence is usually out by the end of September. It isn’t as tall as some of the other cottage types, the yellows and bronzes, and that interesting old gentleman, the Emperor of China I have given up growing some of these in the orthodox way as it seems impossible to make them grow straight, even with the most careful staking. I planted the bronze variety under a tall bush of Helichgeum gunnii. The first year it worked according to plan.
The helichrysum produced its pink flowers in late spring, and in September, when all it had to show were brown tufts, the chrysanthemum thrust its long stems through the needled foliage and the bronze flowers were framed by dark green Then came a disastrous winter and the poor helichrysum succumbed. I didn’t cut it to the ground, as I did many things, but left about z’ of dead wood. The chrysanthemums did what they could with this support fountaining above the tree stump. Some of the longest stems couldn’t manage to stay upright and where they sagged to the ground they rooted, which suggests possibilities of doing better things with the lanky chrysanthemums. The cottage yellow is tall but not so tall as the bronze, and it looks quite well if grown close to the tall Anapbalisyedoensis so that the soft yellow heads of the chrysanthemums intermingle with the fluffy white heads and silver leaves of the anaphalis.
The Emperor of China is a pink chrysanthemum with darker buds and deeper shades in the flowers. The leaves carry on the same theme with many crimson leaves among the green. It is not quite so tall as the others
A dwarf pink called Gloria is a pleasant little chrysanthemum for the front of the border, and a little later another old variety with tiny, gold-centred, crimson flowers comes into bloom. The only name I have for this is Tiny, and though it fits it I feel there must be another more responsible name. It isn’t as easy as some of the others, and I am very careful when I try to increase it because I should hate to lose those eager little flowers which positively glow at me across the garden. –
Perhaps my favourite of all the hardy chrysanthemums is the last to flower, the beautiful scented Wedding Day, with its large, single white flowers with their green centres. I have this one growing through a shrub too. I planted it below a good bush of Pblomis fraticosa and it has pushed its way up through the branches, as I intended it should, and the beauty of its flowers is enhanced by the soft grey-green leaves.
A useful orchid-coloured flower which is at its best in late September is Cbelone °Nivea. Its pouched flowers grow against the z’ stems, which are straight and strong and do not need staking. The white version of this plant is easier to place, but quite accidentally I planted the type flower dose to Sedum telepbium Munstead Red, with good effect.
Also in orchid pink, but in a much deeper tone, Senecio pulcher flowers in autumn—that is if it flowers at all. For some reason this groundsel is difficult to find and not at all easy when once it is found. It has long fleshy leaves, slightly jagged at the edges, the daisy flowers are fleshy too and grow on stems that should be z’ high but are often more dwarf. A nurseryman, who called to see me when this flower was in bloom, looked at my plant and said, “I see you don’t grow this very well either.” I was, in fact, rather proud that I had managed to keep my S. pulcber for five or six years, and was grateful that it flowered at all. I grow it in a narrow bed beside a stone path and see that it gets plenty of water I wonder if it would do better in a really wet place, but so far I haven’t had the courage to lift or divide it. Another senecio that I grow, S. smithies, definitely prefers a damp place and does well in the wettest place in the ditch.
In a normal year April is a balmy month, with gentle showers that leave the sky clear and blue, and furtive sunshine, which heartens without scorching. February should have brought enough moisture to stop anxiety for many weeks, the angry winds of March should have dried up the surface of the soil and made it workable, all ready for the gentle play of shower and sun in April.
Of course it doesn’t always happen like that. We don’t always get rain in February, and March winds do not always know when that month ends and April begins. But worst of all are the years when we have weeks and weeks without rain, sometimes even into May. This can be disastrous for plants that have had to be divided or replanted rather late in the season. Some years April doesn’t live up to its reputation in any way. It can be cold and sometimes things seem to take a long time to get going. I have been more disappointed in April than in any month beau se we expect so much. I always remember, in the days when we divided our time between London and Somerset, with what eagerness I dashed out to see what had come out while I had been away, and it was usually very little.
In a good year Viburnum utile is a pleasant sight early in April. I have this shrub trained against the east wall of the malthouse There are odd flowers as early as February and in April it covers itself with flat flower-heads of pale pink, enhanced by deeper buds. I know that many people do not consider this viburnum worth growing, preferring the product of its mating with V. carle.rii in Viburnum bterk.woodii. I grow V. burkwoodii as a bush and it soon makes a very big one and is practically evergreen. Compared with V. utile it seems to have more foliage than flower. The “thinner” utik is so covered with bloom early in the year that the stems and sparse foliage hardly show. I often think how lovely it would look grown against a white wall. The grey stone of the malthouse is not the best background for pale flowers, but even that disadvantage cannot detract from the beauty of V. utile at the height of her glory.