‘Autumn’ suggests the season of falling leaves, crumpets by the fire and chrysanthemums – though not, of course, the increasing lurid ‘pot mums’ displayed nearly all the year round outside petrol station shops. The late Roy Elliott, who received an Award of Merit for Chrysanthemum weyrichii on 12th September 1961, considered it to be a fine addition to the autumn garden: but, in fact, it is in bloom in August.Hailing from Japan, Kamtschatka and islands between there and Alaska C. weyrichii is herbaceous. The short flowering stems barely 10cm high bear surprisingly large flowers, up to 5cm across, with pink rayed petals and a sunny yellow centre, set off by the dense tangle of toothed leaves underneath. These rise from sturdy, woody rootstocks which sometimes wander by stolons to put up a tentative flower nearby: the flowers face upwards, one to a stem.
There is an albino form ‘White Dream’ though rather different in that it is not only taller but reputed to be from Eastern Europe, China and the Korean mountains as well as Japan. Of course, as it is a later discovery, the pink flowered type may grow there also but, whereas Roy Elliott’s plant dislikes being confined to a pot, ‘White Dream’ is said to be shy flowering unless planted in a constricting situation and does better when pot bound. Shades of the petrol station! The A.M. pink form is the one you want.Propagation is as for the larger varieties, from cuttings, division of the main plant, or from a conveniently adventuring stolon. Chrysanthemum weyrichii is not as easy to obtain as it once was – but patience brings its own rewards.