19 October 2023

A Chrysanthemum Conundrum

By this time in the season, we’d normally expect to have a few more chrysanthemums than we do right now. We’ve gone from having five beds of them to two. Earlier in the year we found out the nursery where we get our chysanthemum plugs from had suffered a huge virus, affecting loads of their plants. At this point, we were buying chrysant plugs fresh every season as we didn’t have the space or means to raise them on the farm.

So there we were, expecting to have 10 varieties arriving in June, which were now not coming. We found somewhere else to source them from but they were approximately 5 times more expensive per plant, meaning we didn’t get the same quantity as we had originally wanted: enter Plan B.

We have been using these more expensive plants as mother plants – planting them, letting them grow, then taking cuttings which we then plant with rooting hormone and keep in our propogation tunnel until they’re ready to plant out. Then we let the mother plant and the new plants grow, then taking a cutting from both to plant with rooting hormone and the cycle continues. It’s slow but worthwhile and we now have a dedicated chrysanthemum area on the farm where we keep the mother plants and gradually increase our own stock.

So though we call this Plan B, in the long run it is actually much better for us. The lack of chrysanthemums this year is a relatively small price to pay to be able to have control over our chrysanthemums long term; we’ll be less reliant on other growers and so less vulnerable to external factors such as viruses that can throw last minute spanners in the works. Sometimes though, the bigger the spanner, the greater the outcome.

You are welcome to take that profound and poetic phrase and use it freely.


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