A catastrophe happened in my chrysanthemum garden today. The kind of catastrophe all competitive chrysanthemum growers dread-the loss of a show bloom.
I can hear you thinking now. “The loss of one of those little button chrysanthemums? Dozens of blossoms still remain. Why would loosing a bloom you’re growing for show matter?”
Growing Garden Chrysanthemum Versus Competition Chrysanthemums
It’s easy to reply to that question. I’m not talking about the garden variety of chrysanthemum. I grow thirteen classes of chrysanthemums that are cultivated specifically to.show in competitions.
My catastrophe happened unexpectedly. This morning I carefully worked my way through a row of 10-inch, mums flower pots. I’ve perfected my technique. I move each pot to a low table and turn it 180 degrees, looking to dis-bud unwanted, new growth coming from a leaf. Why? Because stringent guidelines for growing chrysanthemums for show state that only a single bloom may be grown on each stem. Of course, I want that one bloom to be growing from the top, not the side of the plant, as the stem needs to be cut at least 22 inches high to show.
After dis-budding all the unwanted new growth, I carefully tied new stem growth to a stake. That’s so the stem will be straight (another show winner) and the heavy body of the single blossom can have support as it matures.
Catastrophe Hits the Chrysanthemum Garden
It was while carrying the pot back to its place I myself caused the catastrophe when I accidentally brushed against another bloom. The snapping sound of a stem breaking stopped me in my tracks. I turned around and looked at the ground behind me. My worst fears were realized. I’d knocked off the top of a beautifully growing stem, its top ready to soon explode with a show-worthy chrysanthemum.
I couldn’t help myself. I stood there for a moment and grieved for what might have been-a winning blossom. One I could have shown at the National Chrysanthemum Society coming up on October 30-31 at the Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona del Mar, CA.
Looking for Comfort
I decided to memorialize the event by taking a picture of the poor, beheaded stem. Then I went into the house, broken mum tip in hand, to commiserate with my husband. Unfortunately, he’s not the commiserating type. “That’s too bad,” he said, almost flippantly. No sign of remorse or sorrow in his voice. His shoulders didn’t sag. No tears came to his eyes.
His face brightened. “I can tell you how to get over.”
I raised an eyebrow in disbelief. “Really?”
He grinned. “Go back outside and play with the 500 others blooms you’re cultivating.”
I gave my heart-hardened husband a dirty look, walked outside, and tossed my catastrophe into the garbage can, determined to never have that kind of catastrophe again. At least not today.