Early this year (2015), I purchased 4 heirloom mums from Bluestone Perennials: Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Bolero,' Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Cambodian Queen,' Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Clara Curtis,' and Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Mary Stoker.'
And 3 from Select Seeds: Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Autumn Bronze,' Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Emperor of China,' and Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Hillside Sheffield Pink.'
Additionally, my good friend @jvdubb (Jennifer) gifted me 6 newer models: Chrysanthemum 'Hot Pink Daisy', Chrysanthemum 'Light Pink Quill', Chrysanthemum 'Quarterback', Chrysanthemum 'Red Orange Daisy', Chrysanthemum 'Ruby Mound', and Chrysanthemum 'Ticonderoga.'
I was surprised by how fast they all grew in one season. They are definitely strong growers and are not like many perennials that take a few years to establish. For example, here are spring and fall photos of 'Cambodian Queen'
The history of the rubellum chrysanthemums is somewhat foggy. In 1929 North Wales, an oddball chrysanthemum was discovered at Happy Valley Gardens, Llandudno (great name). Kew botanist John Sealy thought that it was most like C. zawadskii v. sibiricum, but not quite. So he concluded that it was a new species and named it C. rubellum. Apparently, in 1929, you could do things like that. Turns out that it was probably not a new species, but an improved sport and should have been named C. zawadskii v sibiricum robustrum. Oh well, many plant breeders used the "new" C. rubellum to produce new hybrids that were called C. rubellums. One such hybrid from Amos Perry (of that time period) is 'Clara Curtis.' Note that most rubellums are 2-3 feet tall. Not so with 'Clara Curtis' (must have been crossed with a dwarf). At any rate, ‘Clara Curtis‘ was one of the very first rubellums.
Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Bolero' is an early bloomer. Photos from October 3, 2015.
Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Mary Stoker' is another yellow. Not sure who Mary was, but one Google reference mentions a Russian origin.
Another heirloom is Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Autumn Bronze.' Seems like many of these early rubellums had bronze in the name (Chrysanthemum ‘Bronze Elegans’ and C. ‘Bronze Elegance’).
Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Hillside Sheffield Pink,' AKA ‘Sheffield Pink’, ‘Single Apricot’, ‘Single Apricot Korean’ or ‘Sheffield’. Starts out in early fall with medium pink buds, turning to pale apricot in October.
My favorite heirloom is Chrysanthemum x rubellum 'Emperor of China'. Spoons are in!
Newer Chrysanthemum models were earlier to bloom. Chrysanthemum 'Hot Pink Daisy'
Chrysanthemum 'Red Orange Daisy' and Chrysanthemum 'Ruby Mound'. No lack of flowers on these plants!
Chrysanthemum 'Light Pink Quill' turns into lavender as the temperatures drop. Yes, the last photo is the same plant! Not photoshopped:)
Football Mums! Chrysanthemum 'Quarterback' and Chrysanthemum 'Ticonderoga.' Two of my favorites!
A couple of years ago I had a surplus of Dahlia tubers, so I put an add on Craigslist. There were only two or three respondents. I guess it was two. So, when one of the women came to pick up tubers, she brought me a chrysanthemum in a coffee can tin. Nice lady. Of course I planted it. The first year it was growing so tall that I trimmed it in the middle of the summer. As a result, it did not bloom until the end of November. The blooms were small and quickly failed to the December temperatures. I did not trim this year. It bloomed in October. What a treat!
I am hooked on these fantastic plants! I will search for new (old) ones next year. And yes, I will provide support for these beauties next year.