THE POMPON DAHLIA.
List of Pompon
BY F. W. SEALE.
During the last few years, great advance has been made in the popular estimation
of the varieties of this fascinating section; and most deservedly so, for they
bloom so profusely, and bear their flowers on such stiff, wiry stems, well above
the foliage, that where a gorgeous display is desired, no other class of Dahlia
can compare with them, and they are so easily cultivated that it is almost
impossible to name a flower that, gives such good results in return for so
little expenditure of trouble.
The Pompon does not require any very special culture, one of its most desirable
characteristics being its readiness to adapt itself to circumstances, and unlike
most sections of the Dahlia, it does not require heavily manured soil; in fact,
it is much better without manure, as smallness of bloom is one of its most
desired attributes, a fact which judges generally are now beginning to
Although this section has been greatly enriched by varieties of recent
introduction, there is still plenty of room for improvement. For instance, a
class of fancy Pompons would be a great acquisition; they are at the present
time very poorly represented.
In growing Pompons for exhibition purposes, a very open situation should be
selected, where the plants will be fully exposed to the sun, but if exposed to
the wind some sort of screen must be provided or the blooms will be liable to be
much damaged, possibly just on the day before the exhibition for which they were
required, and they would lose their freshness, a most essential quality; rows of
scarlet runner beans planted round the piece of ground make an excellent foil to
the wind, or a canvas screen might be erected on the windy side.
As to soil, they will thrive almost anywhere, but a good sandy loam is
preferable, which should be turned up rough for the winter to sweeten and
pulverise it; but as I have before mentioned, unless the soil is exceedingly
poor, it is advisable to withhold manure altogether, for if the season should
happen to be at all wet, it is impossible to get small blooms if manure has been
too liberally added to the soil.
Provided that the plants have been previously potted into 5-inch pots, or
thereabouts, the first week in June is a very good time for planting out, and
the distance apart should be 4 feet from row to row, and 2 feet from plant to
plant, each plant being properly secured to a stake. About a fortnight after
planting out, they should be well pinched back, the plant will then throw out
several side shoots, which should be again stopped when they have attained a
length of from 4 to 5 inches. By this means a perfect bush is obtained, and
although it makes them a little later in blooming, the delay is well repaid by
the gorgeous display they make when allowed to bloom. It is in this respect that
the culture of the Pompon differs so materially from that of the Show and Cactus
sections, as none of the lateral branches require thinning out; in fact, the
more branches that the plant is allowed to carry, the better will be the quality
of the bloom.
Should the weather be dry they will require watering, but great care must be
exercised, as too copious a supply of water has a tendency to make the blooms
come coarse; as the plants increase in size, they will require additional
stakes; a very good plan is to place four stakes round the plant and encircle
the stakes with some soft tying material to which the lateral branches should be
secured as soon as they arc long enough to handle.
When cutting the blooms for exhibition, great care must be used in selecting
them all of one uniform size; they are usually exhibited in bunches of 6 or 10
blooms each, every one of which should be as even as possible, and care should
be taken to arrange the colours so that they harmonise. In the choice of blooms
for exhibition only those that are perfect in the eye should be selected; all
open-eyed or hard-eyed blooms must be discarded and only those chosen in which
the centre is well up, with plenty of unexpanded petals.
But it is for garden decoration that the Pompon is so especially adapted, for
they are so easily cultivated, and make such a blaze of colour, that they are
quite unequalled for the purpose. They are equally invaluable for vase
decoration, as with their stiff, w-iry stems they make an ideal flower for the
decorator: nothing can be more charming- than a bowl
or vase filled with Pompons intermingled with autumn-tinted foliage, which is
generally procurable at the period of the year at which the Dahlia is at its
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The following are the Pompons that were listed at this