Tag Archives: dahlias

Summer in the garden

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There’s the picture of the summer in the garden – lovely Becs pulling up the weeds and generally making everything shipshape in one of the flowerbeds with Bev Pace from charity ‘Back on Track’ providing moral and practical support in the background. gracegarden-009

Our sign got a facelift too. We’ve come a long way in three seasons. The garden is fuler, with a greater variety of flowers and is abuzz with bees and people. The team has increased in size; Young Blooms has a new shopfront, closer to the garden and we’re featuring regularly in the press, spreading the word about the benefits of growing British flowers.

And late summer is dahlia and zinnia time. Even the wind and rain of the last few days can’t dampen our spirits. Gardens have a habit of lifting the spirits, don’t they?

Dahlia Love

We are great fans of those queens of the late summer cutting patch – dahlias. Available in rich, jewel hues or elegant pastel shades they are reliable and prolific plants which keep on giving for minimal input.

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Staking is important – to ensure that they are not battered by the August and September breezes, which have been quite strong this year. Other than that, deadhead regularly and pop a few upturned flowerpots stuffed with straw onto canes in amongst them to catch the earwigs and they’ll provide you with bucketfuls of lovely blooms right through the late summer, into the autumn and up to the first frosts.

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We chopped down and lifted last year’s tubers after they had been blackened by the frosts, packed them in newspaper and stored them in a cool, frost-free environment. Then we planted them straight into the ground at the end of April. They are just coming into their own now.

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We’re particularly fond of cafe au lat and any of the deep burgundy varieties but any dahlia is a lovely dahlia.

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Grower’s tip – Cut the stems of the first flowers short and you’ll ensure that subsequent blooms grow on longer stems and don’t forget to shake off any earwigs before bringing them indoors.

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Our dahlias will be finding their way into bouquets and arrangements over the next few weeks but there will be some for sale in our new shop at Hartley Farm. 

Why not pop in and say hello?

 

Dallying among the dahlias

dahlias in muted shades

Gorgeous dahlias in muted shades

Without doubt, the undisputed queen of the August flower patch is the dahlia, blooming its socks off from July, right through to the first frosts of Autumn. It’s hard to believe, when cutting these beauties that they were first bred to be eaten as tubers, rather than enjoyed in the vase. It’s an interesting taste apparently, somewhere between a carrot and a potato, with a dash of celery thrown in for good measure. Though when first spotted, growing wild on the hillsides of Mexico I’ll bet it was the flowers that drew admiring glances rather than the thought of a quick dahlia stew.

It’s one of the miracles of the flower patch. Plant what looks like an unremarkable muddy bunch of chubby fingers and you’ll be rewarded with dozens of beautiful blooms in myriad shades from  classy, muted pastels to statement-making jewel hues. Some dahlias are as large as dinner plates, whilst others are delicate, neat pompoms. A flower of such infinite variety is a definite winner for the florist and the flower grower.

Classy Cafe au lait

Classy Cafe au Lait

We grew many of ours from seed last year, lifted them, stored over winter and potted them up in the spring before planting them out. This year we took some cuttings too and now they’re romping away in their corner of the garden and we’re cutting almost every day.

Perfect in a sophisticated wedding arrangement

Dahlia

 

or as a single statement bloom.

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We even sent a bucketful over to a nearby National Trust property this week so that visiting children could try their hand at some quirky posy-making.

Pop into Hartley Farm Shop and you might be lucky enough to bag yourself a bunch.

Dahlia time is well and truly with us.

As well as enjoying the dahlias and all the other gorgeous blooms in the garden we’re making a concerted effort to keep you all up-to-date with what’s happening at Not so Secret Garden via this blog and our newsletter.

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