Here are the dahlias starting life in the early spring as tubers, having been stored in a dry frost-free place over winter. Most of them survived and more on that later
In the spring they are lovingly awakened, this picture gives a sense of how big they become and I am dividing the largest ones with a saw and the open surfaces are then generously dusted with sulphur powder to aid clean healing.
Planting them into pots with new garden compost they will stay in the greenhouse, kept moist and in good light, while they sprout. When they are strong and about 1ft tall (and the last frost has gone) they are ready to emerge into the garden to be planted out.
Dahlias always make me smile and as we work I can see them in my minds eye and I do smile. As they are vulnerable to a strong wind we built a frame from hazel sticks to give them leaning posts to hang on to in case the big winds come and then all, including my smile will not be lost!
If you don’t have hazel sticks available then check out our wrought iron plant supports hand made by my local Blacksmith and now available on our website.
It is my love of allotments that brought the dahlias into this garden, unlike traditional planting they grow between the vegetables, bringing their outrageous colours to the kale and the leeks, shining brightly amongst the beans and the broccoli.
And here they are, my big and blousy friends, they are long-lasting and can be left out or picked and enjoyed indoors throughout August and September. They also make a spectacular bouquet when invited out and it’s a joy to arrive on a friends doorstep with them.
And back to surviving winter. This year, after losing some of my favourites during overwintering I have decided not to pull them out! It may be a rash and foolish decision to chance my luck but I am going to cover them with thick mulch, and then with a fleece, and then with a blessing to lady luck and we will see what the spring will bring.
And here is my favourite dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’, I thought I had lost her over winter and then to my delight a green shoot awoke and now we can share her beauty.
Next year, hopefully my big, blousy friends will re-emerge and grace the garden and the house with their opulent and flamboyant beauty.