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 Last Chrysanthemums, Bishopstoke Show 1964-2003

Jacktextred21line 350w8204

Passed away suddenly on April 16th 2012, Age 81. Much loved husband of Phylis, loved Father to Tim, Kay, Andy, and Andrea. Much loved Grandfather to Chris, Jamie, Joanna, Ryan, and Lauren. Loved and missed by Rio our Flat-coated Retriever who was looked after by Jack and Philis every working day.


Chrysanthemums or Chrysanths

Chrysanthemums are beautiful flowers originally a native from China, various colours and different forms of flower heads available from decorative buttons, daisy-like to the giant flower heads, created by disbudding (removing new surplus flower buds) to produce a single flower head. Chrysanthemums grow up to 1.5m high in a garden, leaves are deeply lobed.

Master Chrysanthemums Growers.

Jo & Grandad

Newspaper cutting - My late father-in-law Jack Primmer and proud Daughter Joanna.

My late Father-in-law grew Dahlias in his early years until the competition became less challenging so he changed to Chrysanthemums for nearly 50 years and his large flowers were always a delight to see for family and friends. Every year he would enter his flowers in shows around the country never missing our local flower show the “Bishopstoke Chrysanthemum & Dahlia Society” which ran from 1964 to 2003 which his wife helped run. The society closed mainly because of the lack of new younger members replacing the old flower growers as most younger generations are just not interested in growing flowers these days. Every year the local mayor would visit the show and give out trophies, watching the fierce friendly rivalry between him his friends and other growers were always fun to watch. My father-in-law would often win the best bloom in the show or winning first prize in most flower shows he entered and we now have a large collection of trophies and medals and every year he would get his name and picture in the local papers. At the end of a flower show my father-in-law and other growers would just give away their flowers, we would go home with a car boot full, we would give them to family and friends and older neighbors who would always appreciate the huge colourful flowers which last a long time displayed in a vase. He had so many flowers at one time he would receive visitors in coaches to view his garden, he would build huge frames with a roof covering his large garden and even bags over his precious flowers to protect them before a show. Sometimes a darkened room in the house was out of bounds where all the flowers were prepared before a show. He was a brilliant grower, having produced 3 separate coloured Chrysanthemums named after our 3 children, which had to be displayed at RHS Gardens at Wisley for a year to be registered. One year when he was ill for a short while my family got together to dig his garden and build his frames, we all found it was hard work, but we all believe his interest kept him busy and his mind active. He never slowed down, sadly passing away suddenly in his garden next to his Chrysanthemums in frames age 81. Just as family joked he would one day, even though his leaving left us all feeling totally devastated. Award-wining blooms are the skill and a lot of patients of flower growers like my father-in-law who produces flowers every year at a very high standard from pollination. All his Chrysanths friends except one have sadly passed away, it’s a shame that these master growers of these beautiful flowers are not passing on their knowledge gained from many years growing these beautiful flowers.

Andy’s Exotic insects eating his prize flowers story.

Andy’s Exotic insects eating his prize flowers story.

One funny story I remember which gets repeated at family parties sometimes. I was living in a local bed-sit saving for a house and needed somewhere to keep my insects and spiders so I asked if I could build a shed in his garden. Well, he looked at me strangely and replied, ok but I do not like caterpillars as they eat my flowers. I assured him that it was impossible for any of my bugs to escape and only eat selected plants. I was breeding Indian Moon Moths; theses are a giant green moth with trailing tails and huge caterpillars that feed on Rhododendrons In this country. Well you can guess what happened next 3 small Indian Moon moth caterpillars escaped from there containers, the shed was opposite his Chrysanthemums. later to my surprise and horror my father-in-law found 3 large moon moth caterpillars feeding on his flower heads, they were not interested in the leaves. The caterpillars were doing very well as they had grown to a very large size, they were handed to me in a bucket. I tried to blame it on wild British species but did not get away with it as the caterpillars look very exotic. He was not happy with me as the flowers being eaten were from a selected group going to a flower show. My family thought it was very funny though I did not know it at the time Chrysanthemums flower heads are a food plant for many different species of insects especially caterpillars.