Sunday, June 28, 2015

The happy accident

I struggle with growing flowers. I don't  know why. Perhaps lack of experience? Or perhaps because they're too fussy? Either way, I don't really strive to incorporate flowers in my garden as anything more than the side-effect of plants I can manage to get to survive in our conditions.

So I was pleasantly surprised when Chrysanthemums found their way into my garden. And quite by accident too! I couldn't have planned it better if I tried. In fact, I did try! My husband bought me a bouquet of flowers, and when I initially trimmed them to put in the vase, I tried to strike the prunings. Unfortunately, they proceeded to rot in the medium I planted them in. The rest of the flowers sat for weeks in the vase, with just the perfect amount of water underneath a tiny bud. When I went to toss the spent bouquet in the compost, I saw these tiny little roots begging for me to plant them.

So I did, and it grew!

Not only did it grow, but it thrived! They received insufficient water, and had to compete with weeds in poor soil too. These propagated Chrysanthemums played the underdog for quite a while. The tall stems, fell over and sprawled across the ground, but the buds still turned their heads to the sunlight. And when they bloomed, they did it en mass.

I know why people try to plant flowers now. They seem to smile at you, when you walk into the garden. They call you over to have a natter, all the time shinning a neon sign that says - haven't I just made your day, and don't you want to plant more of me?

Flowers may not speak English, by they certainly have the visual display and aromas, down pat. They know how to attract attention, and get emotional creatures such as us, to spread them around the place. Not to mention the bees which go crazy over their blooms. I had both native bees and European varieties, taking a keen interest.

If  you want a bloomer that can handle some neglect, consider the Chrysanthemum. I don't have any experience with the double blooms in ground, but the single blooms have proven they're hardy enough to stay. You will find they grow tall and lanky, and they may require some support. I just let mine flop over, and when all the buds flowered, it looked like a carpet of pink.

Do you have a favourite, no fuss flower, that will grow in your conditions?


  1. As we live in cold climate Victoria, bulbs are my favourite no fuss flowers. I also have allyssum, nasturtium, sweet pea (that have all come up from the dropped seed) poppies (same as the sweet pea). Bulbs are truly my faves though. They flower in late winter, just when I most need to see hope that warmth is coming soon and bobbing daffodil flowers never fail to make me smile. Erlicheer are my all time favourites with their violent perfume. Freesias too. :)

  2. I've tried allyssum, nasturtium, sweet pea, many bulbs and freesias. All got baked eventually. That's not to say they aren't hardy in your climate though. Victoria is colder in winter, which would probably fatten your bulbs. I still think inexperience plays its part in my killing of flowers though, lol.

    Thanks for sharing your list of hardy flowers.

  3. You are so lucky! I think that they must of been non hybrids to begin with? Or organic? I find bulbs to be the easiest flowers to grow-we have iris, tulips, lily, peony, dahlia and gladiolas. We also have some very nice hardy roses that require little more than pruning and we also have mums. In our area most of these don't bloom all at ones-the roses and peony usually do together after the tulips and the iris. But when we prune our fruit trees if they are budding, I use those for a bouquet too-they will continue to bloom in water.
    I think you know that I adore flowers already;)

    1. Those blooming fruit tree branches, sound beautiful as a display inside. Apart from the roses and iris (Spanish Iris, related to grass not a bulb) I haven't tried any of the ones you have. I think I've admired your peony pictures before - they were the tree peony, weren't they?

      I understand the flower obsession you have, and I think I would have one too, if I could just get them to live through our lack of rain! ;)

    2. Forgot to say, I'm not sure if they were organic, but I know I'm incredibly lucky to have that one freak bud, drop roots like that! I didn't even plan the water level. It was just meant to be. :)

    3. Chris, have you ever seen anybody take cherry blossom tree twigs home? I remember seeing this in San Francisco alot-the flower shops used to sell them- so when we prune our trees I bring them inside to flower. If I buy flowers then they serve as a backdrop for that bouquet.
      I don't know much about growing flowers outside of my area and the coastal regions of S.F. but when I lived in the desert (Las Vegas) our rental had a lovely climbing rose and this was common in the general area. I think you can find flowers that work well in yours but it takes some research.

    4. I used to live in a stone fruit area, and I never heard of taking the blossoms from the tree home. It sounds like a very unique way of bringing flowers inside though. Especially cherry blossoms.

      I've found the banksia rose and a certain kind of carpet rose, and a tiger rose can all live, without any TLC from me. The banksia rose has more canes this year, so hopefully, I'll get more flowers.

  4. And they look sooo pretty! I didn't think I liked chrysanthemums much but yours are delightful! So simple yet sweet.

    1. The plant with just its foliage on, looks pretty ordinary. You could probably mistake it for some kind of weed. But when it flowers, its something else!

      It's certainly given our money's worth, buying the original bouquet. I didn't think I was a chrysanthemums fan either. ;)


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