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This is the latest Dahlia in my collection, the large lilac flowered Sir Alf Ramsey.
Whilst quite a small plant this year it’s producing 3 or 4 large blooms and will be a real stunner in the Dahlia border next year.
For the first time in ages I watched GW last night and actually saw a couple of jobs that I could be getting on with over the weekend. So this morning the summer fruiting raspberries have been organised by removing last years canes that bore this years fruit and tieing in this years new growth which will bear next years fruit. There was about four new stems per plant once I removed the weaker growth and about 25 stems in all which should give a decent crop of fruit next year. They’ll be joined by half a dozen autumn fruiting plants that I’ll move over once they finished cropping.
And I realised that I should be removing some of the stems from my celeriac which are starting to bulb up. It’s the first year I’ve grown them after being given some seedlings from a friend on our Hort Soc committee. They’ve done really well and now by removing the stems this will hopefully encourage the bulb-end to swell further.
Whatever jobs you decide to get on with this weekend I hope you have a good one!
Approaching high summer and the garden and plot are reaching their respective heights of floral beauty and productive potential. My favourite flower, the Dahlia, is now coming into full bloom and, in my opnion, you’d be hard pressed to beat this particular bloom for summer colour. The variety is ‘Shooting Star’, a lovely cream coloured semi cactus variety.
By stopping the plants a month ago I’ve had to wait longer for the first blooms but I’ve got much bushier and stronger plants which means more energy going into producing more buds and flowers. Dahlias are relatively easy to grow if you follow a few basic principles – they are hungry and thirsty plants – so a good feeding and watering regime is essential. My Dahlia bed sits on the remains of my winter chicken manure delivery, once the plants are established I mulch with whatever compost I have left over and lawn clippings to help moisture retention. Another essential task is staking; Dahlia’s can grow to large plants around 4-6 feet high with heavy blooms so early staking is a must – it can look a bit unsightly with canes and string everywhere but the plants will soon fill out and hide this. If you want larger blooms, perhaps for your local flower show, then you’ll need to disbud, a topic I covered in one of last year’s posts.
‘My Love’ is a smaller white flowered semi-catcus variety.
‘Kennemerland’ is the largest Dahlia I have, growing to 6 feet, with large yellow flowers.
On the plot there’s lots of jobs to do. The strawberries have finished now so the foliage has been cut back and any runners pegged in the soil to help the new plants establish. At last the leeks are in, pretty tiny plants at this stage but there’s plenty of time for them to bulk up before winter. More beetroot, rocket, lettuce, radish and spring onions have been sown. Along with some winter veg, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbages and cauliflowers. There’s always something to do on the veg plot!
And the veg is coming thick and fast now. I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m growing a golden variety of beetroot this year, Burpee’s Golden. And I forgot that I’m still growing the standard red variety up at my shared plot in the next village – they’re pretty good as well.
Back home there’s loads of broad beans and mangetout, it’s my first year growing mangetout and they’ll be a firm favourite on the plot from now on.
Hope you’re all having a good weekend!
Harvesting – Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Spring Onions, Tomatoes, Courgettes, Onions, Shallots, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Calabrese, Potatoes, Broad Beans, Mangetout, Beetroot.
Jack has returned with a vengeance in South Wiltshire this week. He first hit on Sunday and then lingered on and off for the next five days. Reducing the Dahlia bed from this:
In less than a week. My favourite plant, a summer powerhouse of growth and flowers, reduced to something resembling wilted spinach in double-quick time. Summer is officially over!
I had to keep the mourning period brief as I was setting off to Derby in a few hours and the tubers had to be lifted to guarantee their survival through the winter. I took a knife to the thick stems, some of which I could barely wrap my hand round.
And cut the foliage down to ground level. The stems are amazing, more like drain pipes with water trickling back out when cut. An important point to remember Dahlias need lots of water through the summer months.
Using a fork I lifted each tuber remembering to label and note the bloom colour for next year.
After an hour the job was done.
The tubers have really grown in size since planting. The prize has to go to Kennemerland, the largest tuber by some distance. I took off what soil I could before putting them in the garage to dry out. I’ll deal with them properly next week. They need to be dry and frost free to get through the winter successfully.
The last job was to dig up the celery, which was in a more sheltered spot so unaffected by frosts so far. I’ll clean them up and freeze most of this for winter use in stocks and soups. I’ll keep a few stalks wrapped in tin foil in the bottom of the fridge as this keeps them fresh for ages.
It’s been a great first year for growing Dahlias. They are easy to grow, I’ve had no real problems this year. If you want great flowers in your garden or for cutting all the way through to October then I would recommend giving them a go. If you want to have a dabble in the local show then you can go further by stopping and disbudding. And who knows I might try a higher standard next year.
Have a great weekend!
Even in mid-October there are some great colours on show in the garden. The Dahlia’s are still producing dozens of blooms with no signs of slowing down. And in the greenhouse there’s a few tomatoes, peppers and chillies to ripen. Hopefully the frosts will stay away to let this continue for another few weeks yet. The array of colours really does lift the mood, even on the dullest of Autumn days!
Update 17th Oct – spoke to soon the first Autumn frost hit this morning! The curse of the commentator, should have kept my mouth shut!!
Growing Dahlias for the first time this year has been a real labour of love. They are not the easiest plants to grow and demand a certain amount of attention to get the best out of them. First I stopped them, then mulched, staked and watered and finally disbudded to get the end result, some cracking flowers. Now that Autumn is approaching I’m just sitting back and letting them do their own thing. Just enjoying them with the occassional pass around the bed to deadhead. Next year I’ll be growing more, just which varieties to choose?
The Dahlia’s are getting quite big now, really filling out, and I am just about keeping up with the disbudding on the main plants. It’s strangely satisfying and hopefully I’ll be rewarded with bigger and better blooms shortly. I’ve got 16 plants from tubers, about 2/3rds have now shown their first flowers, and eight plants grown from seed. See my previous posts here and here for more Dahlia photos.
This one is Kennemerand, a real striking yellow flower.
Next is Shooting Star, a more subtle cream colour.
This one isn’t a named variety but has a pretty orangey ball shaped flower.
And here’s the pink version.
This one is Kenora grown in a container.
And finally a lovely Dahlia flower grown from the seeds that Maureen gave me. She has some fantastic Dahlia photos on her blog.
On the veg front things are going well with courgettes and squash in abundance, I’m giving some away as we have loads. The beans are getting into their stride now and I’m managing to pick a good handful of runners and french beans every other day now.
In the greenhouse I’m growing quite a few peppers this year. Fingers crossed I may be able to have green, red, yellow and orange peppers all at the same time if it comes off.
As it’s the first time I’ve tried to grow Aubergines I’m pleased that the fruits are forming nicely, they should fatten up in the next few weeks.
This is my favourite chilli variety, Cayenne, will eventually turn a deep red colour and is quite hot and perfect for cooking from fresh or for drying.
Hope you are having a great weekend. Please look out for a free giveaway/competition I’m running which will be coming up in the next day or so, I have loads of seeds to give away and all you will have to do is leave a comment. So look out for my next post.
Harvesting: Lettuce, Rocket, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Chillies, Courgette, Squash, Potatoes, Broad, French & Runner beans, Chard and Carrots.
The Dahlia plot is now bursting with energy, new growth from every point shoots skywards with the promise of glorious blooms. I now face the question of disbudding, do I remove some of the flowers to promote the ones that are left to even greater levels or, do I let nature take its course and have more smaller blooms. So I’ve started removing the adjacent flower buds just leaving the central bud on each stem as soon as they are large enough to handle. I also remove the side shoots from the next pair of leaves down the stem. This should channel more energy to the central bud giving a bigger bloom with a longer stem and also promote more growth further down the plant which will mean a bushier plant in the long run. Having never grown Dahlias before I’m adopting my usual approach of taking everything very seriously until I get fed up with it at which point nature will take over and do her thing.
I’m hoping to be able to cut a few flowers for the house and enter some in my local Horticultural Societies Summer Show later in August. The plants in containers are now well away and in full bloom and the tubers planted directly in the ground are just about to start which is exciting as I have no idea what the form and colour of the bloom will be (I’ve not got round to checking the varieties on the internet). When I lift the tubers I can label the height and colour of each one so I can have more of a co-ordinated display next year.
This is the smallest flower so far (one of the container tubers).
This one is Kelvin Floodlight which is by the front door. I love the colour.
From just growing veg in previous years I’m enjoying raising some flowers this time round, you can’t beat the extra colour in the garden to lift your mood.
Dahlias are my favourite flower and this year is the first year I’ve grown them. There’s named varieties from tubers, some started in containers in the greenhouse in February which are now in flower (the rest were planted in the ground in early May), and some from the seeds that Maureen sent to me. Whilst I’ve left a few of the plants to their own devices you have to be cruel to be kind to get the best out of these super plants. By pinching out the central stem, and others if you’re growing from tubers, a process known as “stopping”, this switches the plants energy from producing buds to concentrate on new growth from the leaf axils. Although you’ll need to wait longer for them you get twice as many!
So I now have the best of both worlds, a few early flowers to admire and some plants bulking up nicely for later in the season. With careful watering, mulching and staking I should have a cracking display through August and September. Fingers crossed.
This one is Babylon Bronze which is a lovely apricot colour and quite a large flower.
This one is labelled as Bristol Stripe and has a deep purple colour, although it doesn’t seem to match the photos of this variety on the net. I’ll wait for some more flowers to appear but it looks to be a different variety than the label.
Japenese variety, Atika, is my favourite so far.
The ones I’ve grown from seed are much smaller plants but have pretty little flowers in a variety of colours.
There’s another dozen or so varieties to come into flower and I’m looking forward to a great display of blooms over the next few weeks.