the chrysanthemum trial bed at perch hill in autumn

Sarah talks you through the latest trial varieties of Chrysanthemums at Perch Hill, showing you her favourite flowers and explaining what she loves about chrysanths.

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This is our chrysanthemum trial bed and they're just coming into flower. A few have been flowering for a while like ‘Smokey Purple’, which is this one, which is a real favourite of mine. I love it in bud like that, it’s really rich and sort of velvety and delicious with that green eye, but then it goes on and forms this sort of more relaxed kind of shaggy top. I've had this in the garden now for three or four years and I've been trialling it to see how hardy it is. We left it out and we mulched it, just like we did the dahlias, under a good three or four inches of mulch and it survived the winter and started flowering in June this year. So that really is an exceptionally good hardy chrysanthemum that I passionately recommend.

I'm wanting to build up a really good palette of chrysanthemums, that's why we've got a big trial going on, and I just want to introduce you to some tried and tested ones and some new varieties. Staying with the sort of purple-y ones, this one is really lovely too with a silvery back to the petal which I really like, that contrast, and that again has been in flower since early September. So, that's a good one and it’s called ‘Gompie Super’.

This one is just coming into flower now; it’s called ‘Beppie Super’ and I really love that flower form. I love the pointy petal which is quite unusual and very starry for a chrysanthemum. I think it’s very elegant so I'm definitely going to grow that one again next year.

The final one in this sort of purpley range is this one which is called ‘Regal Mist Purple’ and how elegant is that? It's called an ‘incurved’ variety which means that the outer petals are slightly outwardly curved but the inner petals point inwards. You get this beautiful two-tone silvery back of the petal and this rich front of the petal. How elegant is that just as a single stem? I really love them. So, those are the four in that colour range and each and every one of those I think are worth growing.

This one, which is called ‘Orange Allouise’, is a really handsome sort of golden colour and I think it's lovely with this one, which I've grown here for quite some years, called ‘Hanenberg Red’ which is another of my real favourites. It's got this beautiful colour almost like the colour of conkers, a bit redder but really rich, on the front of the petal and that really contrasts with this beautiful golden back to the petal. The flower form of that is just wonderful and it is a really elegant thing.

And then, if we go into the sort of reds and crimsons, this variety has been in flower for ages and this is a ‘Beppie Red’ and again, it’s beautiful. This is it as it's just emerging from bud and this is a flower that I've been watching and it's been out already for three weeks, so I know now it's looking a little tired but it really has lasted incredibly well. This is ‘Gompie Red’, which is very similar, and this has actually been in flower even longer, this is one of the very early ones. This has been flowering since August whereas the ‘Beppie Red’ is more September.

The absolute queen of the crop, in my view, is a brand new variety that is the most sumptuous dark rich sort of Bourneville chocolate colour called ‘Jalta Red’. Isn't that a cracker? I definitely want to grow lots and lots of that next year. That's what's good about the trial, you know I really like all of these actually, but you get a firm favourite and then you know that you want to grow lots of that one. I would arrange the ‘Jalta Red’ with hydrangeas and that would be fantastic all the way through autumn.

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