Chrysanthemums In The Garden

By Kent Higgins

If you are looking for spring just as soon as March 21 comes around, treat yourself to a preview of the season by forcing a few of the hardy perennials. Almost any of the early-blooming plants can be used. For a start I would suggest that you select from the following: English primrose, Primula vulgaris; Himalayan primrose, P. denticulata; pasque-flower, Anemone Pulsatilla; and leopards-bane, Doronicum caucasicum These should be dug with a good root system and put into a pot no larger than is necessary to contain the roots.

The rose daphne, D. Cneorum, is a small, pleasing shrub with beautiful, fragrant flowers. It too can be forced. Plants with a spread of 8 to 10 inches are preferred. If you do not have any plants on hand, you can buy them from almost any nursery specializing in trees and shrubs.

When forcing these plants, it is important to pot them early so that they can make root growth before winter sets in. Then put the pots in a cold-frame, burying them to their rims in sawdust, peatmoss or sand. After they have been exposed to a few hard frosts, cover with something which will not mat. The glass sash should be kept on for most of the winter to prevent the soil from freezing too deeply.

In late February or early March remove the plants from the frame and bring them indoors to a cool room. A temperature of 50 to 55 is desirable until flower buds form, at which time the plants can be brought into the living room. Here it is preferable to have the temperature less than 70's. None of these hardy plants appreciate being pushed around; so do not attempt to hurry them by increasing the temperature.

Moving chrysanthemums to the garden - Chrysanthemums can be transplanted advantageously to the garden to fill gaps where tender annuals died or bulbs were removed. If you do not have a few plants for this purpose in reserve, you can undoubtedly buy them at a garden center; or if there is a nursery nearby, get them there. Select those with unbroken root balls and turgid top growth.

Planting deciduous trees and shrubs- So long as the ground remains unfrozen, planting of deciduous trees and shrubs like penstemon plant can be continued.

Digging and storing tender bulbs - If it has not been done already, dig up dahlia, gladioli and other tender bulbs.

Watering evergreens - Toward the end of the month obtain with an auger a 12- to 18-inch-deep sample of soil near the evergreens. If the sample is dry, water underneath the evergreens thoroughly. After this has been done, drain the irrigation pipes so that there is no danger of water freezing in them.

Harvesting root crops - Root crops such as beets, turnips and carrots should be dug up and stored. Parsnips, leeks and salsify, which improve with a light frost, can be harvested later.

Winterizing tools and bringing in potting soil - In preparation for the season ahead, winterize your garden tools, including, also, the lawn mower. Clean the tools, coat them with a thin film of oil and bring them under cover. Also bring a supply of potting soil indoors. - 29857

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