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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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October 30, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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October 30, 1997
 

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Chrysanthemums delight us with a kaleidoscope of fall color extending well beyond the traditional oranges, yellows, browns and reds of the season. Mums like Fireside, Torch Song, and Matador produce such bold bursts of color they make the greatest impact planted en masse. Chrysanthemums also come in a rainbow of sophis- ticated shades that blend well with other flowers. I favor rose pinks like Jewel Box, Minn Pink and Trade Winds complimented by a back drop of blue Russian Sage (perovskia) and tall yellow Yarrow (achillea). Coreopsis and Sedum share the bed with Ver- bena and the Easter Bas- ket Mix Alyssum forming the borders. I also have Iris in this bed because their water needs are com- patible, the mums cover the spent Iris foliage and the Iris will provide spring and early summer flowers when the mums are rest- ing. I also plant Pansies in this bed in the fall. They complement the soft col- ored mums and will be back to bloom with the Iris in the spring. It would be a shame to stop with just one bed of mums, and I didn't. I have planted chrysanthemums in a full range of colors, types and sizes with some in nearly every flower bed and also put them in pots. With at least 160 varieties ranging in height from six inches to nearly four feet and with every color except blue, the chrysanthemum has to be the most varied and versatile of all flowers. The diversity of forms is as exciting as the dazzling array of colors. Chrysanthemum flowers are single, double, pom-poms and buttons with spidery, quilled or spoon-shaped petals. An added pleasure is the sharply aromatic foliage. The flower is so adaptable you can transplant it in bud or full bloom anytime of the year. You can plant it from root stock or a cutting. Florist chrysanthemums (C. Morifolium) are the flowers we most often think of as mums a.nd are the ones in my reference here. Shasta Daisies, Marguerites, Painted Daisies and Feverfew are also considered chrysanthemums. Commercial growers can force chrysanthemums to bloom anytime of the year by manipulating their light. They are a mainstay with florists year round. Florists love the mum for its variety in color and type but most of all because it is the longest lasting of all cut flowers. It will retain its beauty as a cut flower from one to three weeks. Potted chrysanthemums are available all year from florists and garden shops. One advantage of buying a flower in bloom is you know what you are getting. Also, know if you buy one of these out of the normal blooming season it will revert to its natural blooming time, late summer through fall, when planted in the VICKSBURG - A Spoon-type chrysanthemum garden. In addition, not all florists' varieties, unlike nursery stock, will be hardy in the garden. This flower loves the sun. However, some varieties do better with protection from our searing afternoon sun. It is drought tolerant, but still needs soil with good drainage and to be watered regularly. It will thrive in our alkaline soil if the pH isn't extremely high. Usu- ally, this is not a problem in a well built flower bed with plenty of compost. Nurseries specializing in chrysanthemums are one of the best places to obtain plants and information. In 1996, I ordered a "Surprise Collection" from Huff's Gardens (1-800-279-4675 for catalog) of 20 differ- ent varieties and a "Cut Flower Collection" of ten varieties. The plants were in a variety of colors, sizes and types. The order was placed in January. I planted the mums in late March. There were many delightful discoveries of plants well beyond the range of the ones I regu- larly buy from nurseries. The young plants need to be "pinched" several times during the growing season. Memorial Day and Independence Day are of- ten used as easy refer- ences. Pinching out the top or "stopping" the plant will cause it to form three or four more new shoots. The number of times you do this will depend on how short and how many blooms you plan for your mum. Pinching should cease by mid- July. Large flowered mums and tall varieties need to be staked. Fertilizing should begin about 14 days after plant- ing and continue through the growing season. I use a balanced liquid fertilizer for all my flower beds, and this works well for the mums. When the plant has finished flowering cut it back between three and six inches above the ground. Don't mulch too heavily and be sure to remove any covering by early March. You can take cuttings in the spring when the new shoots reach about six inches. Pull up shoots for trans- planting with some root attached. Pinch them back and place them in the soil where you want them to grow, or you can start them in pots for later transplanting. Plants need to be dug and divided at least every three years. Take the outside shoots as described above and discard the woody center. Don't put mums in your compost pile. Chrysanthemums are natives of the Far East. They were cultivated in China by 500 B.C. and grew in Japanese gardens by the eighth century A.D. These beautiful perennials didn't reach European and North American gardens until the middle of the nineteenth century where they rapidly gained great popularity. Mortgage Life Insurance Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, October 30, 1997 7 DON ALSTON CADC JAKIE ALSTON RN, BS, CAD( Waler Wel DRINIING WA't%'R AT ITS F[N-ff. ur omle 1"O YOCm HEALTH 1 water is not only gtx:l, its g(x)d/or yh WALK IN AJO FILL YOUR lUG FOR 30 P,, G*U,m DELIVERED TO YOUR OO(O $5.00 for $ CaltOn Bottle DRIVE THRU WINDOW SERVICE 25 e, We od coelm, crod, iks 1 72 7-91 2 Diane York Kim Johnson 727-8679 751-0227 Engraving Wed- Fri 10-4 low , Sat- 10 - 3  " 727-1655 e" I HWY 372 WWW. 702-727-5512 LITTLE TIME ? NO TIME ? Is cleaning your house or Business beeomlng a chore? Call us at 727-1623 Ask About Our Flats Rates - * Senior Discounts "FREE ESTIMATES Lleensed and Bonded