I honestly thought I’d covered all the possible catastrophes that could happen while growing chrysanthemums for show competitions in my previous Associated Content articles. I was wrong.
I recently experienced two more catastrophes that insured the death of more chrysanthemum plants. Why, it’s almost more than I can bear.
Some nasty, green, bud-devouring worms took up residence in some early chrysanthemum bloomers recently. They did it quietly-not a squeak from those disgustedly fat worms revealed their hidden existence deep into a Candid intermediate incurve bud. It was only as I moved its pot to check for new, unwanted growth around the roots that two criminals showed their ugly heads. Then they had the nerve to reveal their whole bulging bodies-bodies bursting from a feast of a fresh petals from my chrysanthemum plant.
A close look at the worms’ bud domain gave me such a fright. Only stubs of petals remained around the edges of one side of the chrysanthemum bud. Those terrible creatures had been headed straight for the bud’s center. I couldn’t help myself. A wail of misery and woe filled the air. It came straight out of my mouth.
What to do? My blood ran hot and furious. Kill the enemy! Do it now! Common sense caused me to pause a moment. With my bare hands? Never! I didn’t want squished worm guts on my hands. I went into the house and got a paper napkin, then came out and captured both invaders. Two dead worms with one pinch. I felt vindicated.
The sad truth-the worms-eaten Candid bud would never mature into a judge-worthy bloom-forced me to untie it from its stake and cut its 30-inch stem down to about six inches in height. My sweet husband came outside to find out what all the ruckus was about. He assured me that, in order to kill any worm survivors, he’d spray all my thriving chrysanthemum plants with BT right away.
Recently my husband and I decided to have a plumber install a large sink in our back yard. He could mix fertilizer, insecticides, and BT in the garden, instead at the kitchen sink. The plumber mentioned that he’d piped the sink near the hot water heater. I didn’t pay much attention to his comment.
When it hit 109 degrees in our back yard last week, I went out to water the leaves of our chrysanthemums plants. We have a hose attachment that offers a variety of water choices: cone, center, flat, jet, soaker, mist, or shower,
Because it was such a hot day, I decided to gently shower the leaves and buds. I started showering them as soon as I turned on the water. After about 30 seconds I ran my hand through the water. It was hot! I jerked my hand away from the water and moved the showering water stream to the ground. But it was too late. The leaves, stems, and new buds of several chrysanthemums plants experienced death by heat-water so hot it cooked the life right out of the leaves and buds.
As I walked through the rows of mums the next day, I beheld the terrible damage that hot shower had inflicted on innocent, growing-nicely-as-you-please chrysanthemums plants. Lesson learned? Run the water from the sink hose long enough to empty it of its water heater water.
Some Good News
Do I have enough chrysanthemums to show in competition to met my accredited National Chrysanthemum Society judge requirements this year? I need to win three blue ribbons. With at least 450 stems of chrysanthemums flourishing in my garden, I’m hopeful.
I’m also hopeful that this be the last article I ever write on new catastrophes with the chrysanthemums. Is that too much to ask?