Thursday, 23 May 2013

Dahlia day. Taking the plunge.

A container grown dahlia from sunnier years. Will they grow well in 2013 if it ever warms up?
Braved the intermittent hail storms  (it's May for heaven's sake) to visit to the allotment this morning.  My mission?  To plant out a selection of dahlias in my rose and cutting flower bed.  This bed was well manured earlier in the year, so they should have plenty to feed on.  I'm currently out of organic mollusc repellents, so am simply hoping they can fend of the evils until I have time to buy more. The last slug treatment I bought was some wool-based pellets but I have to say that for the price, they don't really go far, as they need to be spread in a fairly thick, wide band around the plant that they are protecting.  They also leave you smelling like a sheep. Think I'll stick to wool foraging on walks in future.

At home, I've re-homed some dahlias into the garden borders, yanking out drifts of forget me nots to reveal planting pockets.  I've still got about 12 more plants to find homes for, so am waiting with my trowel poised for the first signs of weakness in any current border inhabitants.  Leggy lavenders watch out, your days are numbered.

I am quite excited about the prospect of mid- and late-summer flowers as I have not previously grown dahlias in any quantity, or, I have to say, with massive success - but the size of some  my 'Rip City' plants still takes my breath away. I had to pot them on into large plastic tubs usually used for storage as I didn't have any plant pots wide enough. Surely even the hungriest of slugs doesn't have sufficient appetite to decimate something that size!

The plants have all been well hardened off for the past couple of weeks, so the current chill in the air should not be too much of a shock to their system.  With them planted out, I can at least now get in and out of the greenhouse without fear of upsetting a crowd of Witteman's Best, Peaches, Purple Gem, Tahoma Star or Rip City.  They were starting to look quite tough and intimidating.

I hope the plants all romp away, but if they get munched and collapse or are otherwise dismal, I can always call on supplies from Dahlia Dave.  Dahlia Dave came to my rescue for a friend's wedding a couple of years ago as he grows them in abundance at both his allotment plot and back garden at home.  Have I got the knack this year or not? I'll let you know as time goes by.


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