Dahlias and Digging – Gardening Part 2

I’ve been so busy in the garden today that this is my second post..wozza.  After weeks of not really being able to do very much, the sun has been out, the auto vents in the greenhouse have actually opened and I really feel that Spring is in the air. Sod the fact that it is forecast to rain for the next 4 days!!

Hellebores by the back door

Hellebores by the back door

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First daffodils to flower are Tete-a-Tete

After getting the onions in I retrieved my camera and dahlia tubers from the kitchen and spent some time in the warmth of the greenhouse.  I lost all my dahlia tubers last year to frost so have bought some new ones from Sarah Raven.  She has a really great selection and I choose 3 smaller ones as I want to put them in a mixed herbaceous border and don’t have huge amounts of spare border space..more on that later!

The varieties I chose were Jescot Julie which is a vibrant burnt orange with purple undersides

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Ambition which is a rich purple

Dahlia Ambition

And New Baby, a small ball type dahlia in a deep tangerine orange

Dahlia New Baby

They will all work so fabulously together in a border during late summer and autumn. I love the combination of purple, orange and the green of the leaves. Each of these colours are equidistant on the colour wheel and therefore are really harmonious. I wouldn’t want to wear these colours but they look great in the garden.  Anyway, at the moment they just look like a dried up mass of tubers, which is exactly what they are!

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The tubers are tender so I can’t plant them out in the garden until the frosts have passed. So I have potted each one up in a two litre pot in multi-purpose compost and will leave them in the greenhouse, as this super interesting shot shows 🙂

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By the time the frosts have finished they should be bushy plants.  I will then pinch out the tips and remove all but five shoots sprouting from the tuber to encourage strong growth and lots of flowers.  Both the pinched out shoots and the removed shoots will then be potted on in a gritty compost mix around the edge of a pot and covered with a plastic bag.  After 4 weeks these should have rooted to give me new plants for free..how good is that..and by mid summer there will be no difference between the mother and daughter plants. 🙂

With three boys a lot of our garden is laid to lawn for games of football and cricket, but every year I find myself reclaiming a little bit more lawn to make extra border space because I love flowers so much and do not have enough room to grow everything I like.  So today I started digging up a little bit of one of the front gardens to extend what was a bit of a mean border to say the least.

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Before….

After...

After…

I just need to shape it into a curve now,and plant it up before I move on to make the right hand border just a bit bigger!

Kirsty x

Gardening Days are here again

I can’t believe how much I have achieved in the garden over the last few days.  The combination of warmer weather, longer days and a more positive attitude has really made a difference.

When we extended our house 18 months ago we had a patio installed in front of the French Doors at the end of the kitchen.  Because the garden is lower than the house, it had to have a brick wall built under the flagstones and then steps built on three sides down to the lawn.  This made it look quite harsh and hard and so I decided to soften it by planting yew all the way around.  This will eventually knit together into a small formal yew hedge, but at the moment it looks like this:

Untitled I got my lovely Husband to dig the trench last weekend just before it snowed and my Dad helped me this weekend to get the bare rooted plants in.  They had a good layer of horse manure added to the bottom of the trench.  I can tell you, that stunk the car out when I brought it home from the garden centre, and as it was pouring with rain, I couldn’t even have the windows open.  Anyway, I now need to trim  the tops of each yew to roughly the same height and keep it well watered.  Hopefully by next summer it will look more like a hedge.

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While Dad finished off I got some Old Fashioned Sweet Pea seeds into cardboard pots and spent some time in the greenhouse where it was a bit warmer. I will start them off indoors and as soon as they germinate they can go into the cold frame.

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When we built the extension a lot of the garden got trashed and I moved a large number of perennials, roses and shrubs into the veg garden. Most of these have now to either been moved or given away so that we can grow lots of veg again this summer.   I made a start on Saturday by moving a Viburnium Tinus and a Hebe Buxifolia to the borders either side of the back door.  This allowed me to clear out two raised beds which I will be using for potatoes so they have been manured and turned over ready for some Maris Piper tubers to go in in a few weeks time:

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The bed behind them has Asparagus crowns in it which were planted 2 years ago so I’m hoping for a good crop this summer.

Kirsty x