Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Bloom and Grow (June 2015)

Show and tell time is here again!  Back in January I set myself the task of purchasing a new plant(s) for the garden each month.  The aim is primarily to fill gaps in the borders or just to cheer up a specific area that may be void of any blooms.  The proviso being that they had to be a genus I had not tried before and it had to be in bloom.  It's not been as easy as I'd thought.  It amazes me just how many of the more popular garden plants I grow or have tried to grow in the past.  It also helps that you actually like any of the plants that happen to be in bloom at that particular time.  I already have quite a well stocked garden and many failures behind me.  Choosing a plant that I've never grown before is not as easy as it would be if I had been starting the garden from scratch.    

This month's purchase is one plant I tend to have mixed feelings about.  My grandfather was a big Dahlia grower and although I have many fond childhood memories of them growing in his garden, I have less fond memories of those clipshears.  What is a clipshear?  I hear you ask.  A clipshear is what we Scots call an earwig.  I remember my Papa fighting what seemed like a never ending battle against these wee beasties.  There was upturned pots filled with straw dangling all around his garden.  I wonder will I have the same issues?  Clipshears are presently not an issue in the garden.

As children clipshears filled us with dread.  It was a childhood belief that these wee beasties crawled into the ear and would eat our brains.  My brother was a particularly squeamish sort and I remember once I collected a few of them in an empty matchbox and terrorised him with them for hours.  Let me tell you, my backside took what it got when mum finally caught me.  What a cruel big sister I was! I wonder, are there similar childhood believes attached to these insects from where you're from?         

Dahlia Happy Single Kiss

Before I set out on my shopping trip, I had already made up my mind to source a Dahlia or two.  I think Dahlias would fit into the type of garden I am trying to create out front.  I did not want bedding type, I wanted the tuberous kind.  I am following hot on the heals from my success of over wintering begonia tubers.  Idealy I wanted something with dark foliage and a deep coloured single  bloom.  However, that was not to be.  Most of what was available were either too pale, too sweety pink, too showy or too blousy.  2 single pots in a far corner suddenly caught my attention.  

Dahlia Happy Single Kiss.  I managed to find something with dark foliage but the colour of the blooms was not quite the colour I was looking for but I was willing to compromise this time.

According to the label D. Happy Single Kiss has salmon flower head with dark centres.  The picture above reflects their description but to my naked eye they are more of a peach/orange colour than what I'd consider to be salmon.  The camera hasn't quite caught it.  I would have preferred to buy 3 pots but as there was only 2 left they had to do.  I snapped both of them up before a lady standing by me beat me to it.  I think she also had her eye on them.
Foliage - Happy Single Kiss

Both pots are very healthy and are a good size.  A 3l pot cost me £6.99.  Yes, an expensive way to buy considering I probably could have bought tubers a lot cheaper a few months ago but at least this way I start off with plants that are already growing well.

Each plant is not only healthy but also of full buds.  Apparently, I need to keep dead heading to encourage more throughout the year.  The buds are plump and very shiny as you can see below. Almost like little individual fruits.  Checking up on toxicity, the flowers are apparently not toxic but the foliage and tubers are if eaten in large enough amounts.      
     
        
Being single flowered they will also benefit the pollinators visiting the garden.  I specifically wanted a single variety for that reason.  It will reach a height of around 60cm with a spread of around half of that.  I am hoping that they will be short enough to to require support but I will have some ready at hand just in case.

Both plants seen below with another purchase I made this month.  One though that does not qualify in so much as I already grow Alstroemeria.  The purple foliage also shows up the red blooms of the Alstroemeria well too.

Dahlia Happy Single Kiss and Alstroemeria Princess Kate
Being native to Central America, Mexico and Columbia, Dahlia tubers will need to be lifted and stored for winter here in Scotland.  I think the same is to be said for the rest of the UK.  The first frost will blacken the foliage and this apparently is the time to get them out of the ground.  They will need to be dried off and then stored in a cool dry place.  Before I get round to that though, the Dahlias will need plenty of organic matter added at time of planting.  The front garden is well drained and sunny enough to keep them happy.  I read that they will not tolerate wind therefore I will have to nestle them between other plants for that extra bit of protection.  The Dahlia Happy Single Series are bred in Holland and D. Single Happy Kiss is just one variety available in this series, there are others equally as beautiful.  Plants from this series have all been bred with the smaller garden in mind and are said to be particularly suited to grow in containers.  From what I can gather, Dahlia's are making a real comeback into gardens.  They are not a considered as naff as they used to be.  Their popularity has been improved through the introduction of more single varieties, all of which will benefit visiting wildlife.  Clipshears included I suppose!

They are not yet in the ground.  I want to wait until the roses bloom then I can find a spot where they can nestle in and look good.

Do you grow Dahlias?  Do you find issues or are they relatively easy going plants?  I'd be interested to know experiences with them.  

24 comments:

  1. I love those dark foliage dahlias. I have several that come up very year after being overwintered in the ground.
    This year I have about a hundred self sown seedlings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How great that you manage to over winter them in the ground Roger. I doubt I'd get away with that here. I had no idea that they'd self seed either. Would I be right in thinking that they would not come true from seed?

      Delete
  2. Ottima scelta di piante! Bei colori e bellissime foglie! Qui le Dahlie soffrono molto l'umidità invernale anche se ce n'è una rossa che spunta ogni anno :)

    Un saluto :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I grow dahlias as well Angie. I had stored for winter 2 roots of Dahlias and in spring I divided each and had 4 roots planted in pots. They grew well and in May I planted tall plants in tubs. So they will sit and flower till autumn, then they go to storing. Your dahlias are pretty with dark foliage. Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your dahlia 'Happy Single Kiss' is a beauty, I love especially the foliage. I can tell you that dahlias are easy and happy growers, important is to lift the tubers in late autumn and store them in a frostfree place, but be careful, you have to inspect them a few times in winter to see that they are not wrinkling and drying out.
    I have grown dahlias for several years, a very long time ago when I was young, then a long time not, they were totally out of fashion. Now I have them again for about 10 years. In spring I put them in large black pots with compost from the heap. When they are big enough I put them between other plants in the border. This year I think I keep them in their pots and have to give them regularly fertilizer to keep them going. I almost cannot find empty spots in the garden which is fully booked.
    Happy Gardening Angie!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Angie your childhood memories of your grandfather's dahlias is similar to my memories of my father's dahlias, which he still had when my children were young, my Dad is no doubt in the same age group as your Granddad, Dahlias were the thing then, I hated the earwigs and have vague memories of the eating our brains story, my Dad used to lift his every year and we were in the South East of England, I think the one you have chosen has pretty flowers, I like the daisy shape of the singles, I do not like the doubles, I really like the foliage, very much, and, as the foliage will be in your garden longer than the flowers, nice foliage is important, it does look nice with the red flowers, Frances

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ugh, earwigs. All those childhood tales about them getting into your ears really got to me & to this day, if I see an earwig I immediately feel protective of my ears! I didn't realise they liked dahlias.

    I really like the foliage of the dahlias you choose. Like you i prefer singles, good for the bees & insects & much more attractive than the OTT pom pom ones. I guess we will have to wait until end of month view to see them planted up :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Even down here they are not hardy in the ground. Last winter was very mild but wet, which I suspect is what did for them. One survived, only to decimated by slugs. I'm wondering whether to grow them again if it's going to be such a fight. I do love the dark leaved ones though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love your Happy Kiss dahlia, such a pretty colour. You weren' t thinking of eating it were you? I love dahlias although slugs are a problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you do not have problem with clipshears.
      My version of terrorizing siblings with insects was to run after them with a bumblebee tied by its leg to a thread. It was great fun (for me). Children are often nasty.

      Delete
  9. I do grow Dahlias, in fact, I bought a handful of tubers this year and planted them a few months ago. They are taking their time, though, because although they like our heat this summer, they also would probably like more water than I've been giving them. Our winters are mild enough that we can leave them in the ground. Love your new two, the dark foliage with the salmon petals appeals to me!

    ReplyDelete
  10. One of these years I'm going to have to grow some Dahlias. One of the ladies I used to arranged flowers with at church had many of them, and regularly used them for cut flowers. There are so many stunning varieties! Yes, we have earwigs here, too, and they do cause damage in my garden. Fortunately, the same method for dealing with slugs works for earwigs in my garden--shallow tubs of beer. Sad to see them drown, but at least they die happy. And then they provide food for birds. (I was a mean big sister, too. Oh well.)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've always been attracted to Dahlias yet I'm seemingly hopeless when it comes to growing them. I tried them in my former garden and they failed to thrive - I blamed the limited sun that garden had to offer. I tried them again in my current garden last year, which has plenty of sun, but the results were unimpressive - this close to the ocean, the foliage tends to mildew. However, as reassurance, I can't remember encountering hideous earwigs in either circumstance. I hope the Dahlias we well for you - there's such a wide variety of form and color in those bulbs. By way of disclosure, I did buy 3 plants in bud this year ('Hidalgo XXK'), which I put in pots by the front door, but I'm not yet sure I'll try keeping them - this time, I'm struggling with both their water needs and leafminers.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dear Angie, as usual super lovely plant choice, your Dahlias! To me the peachy/apricot color is contrasts perfectly with the dark foliage, which makes for a very interesting plant. I would be challenged though to integrate these colors in my garden and I am very curious where you will place them in yours, but I am sure you will find the perfect companions for them since you have such a talent for color combinations. I have no experience with growing Dahlias, but wanted to try them this year, but the severe drought in addition to the water restrictions brought the realization of this idea to a screeching hold :-(.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Angie, I do grow Dahlias, they provide wonderful late summer colour, I think earwigs are only really a problem if you are growing them for show.
    I wrote a piece with a fact sheet about growing dahlias for our garden club you can read it here if you wish: http://www.blackpeargc.org.uk/scrapbook/lateBloomersMore.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. The dark-leaved dahlias are beautiful! As Alison said, we can leave them in the ground here in the winter as long as they have good drainage. I often grow them in pots and place them out in the beds if there are any bare spots. Not hardy in pots left outside so the pots get stored in the basement for the winter and brought into the greenhouse when spring arrives to get an early start.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes Angie, I grow dahlias, I think it is the wet in the winter that they don't like. Sometimes I miss bringing one in and it pops up next year, but is never as good as the others. I do like the foliage on your new buy and the flower colour is beautiful too. The "Bishop" series all have single flowers, like you ,I have bought single ones so that the wildlife can enjoy them too.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Good morning! I was wondering if you would possibly be interested in a guest blogging opportunity with Gardening Know How? If so, please e-mail me for details at:
    shelley AT gardeningknowhow.com

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love the new dahlia! I've always grown a few myself, I can't help myself when it comes to big, bright, tasteless flowers.... is that "naff"? I'll have to reconsider now that they're coming back :)
    I have 'happy single flame' replanted from last year and am looking forward to it and others. I'm grateful we don't have many earwigs!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Earwigs do look menacing. I don't grow dahlias but I can appreciate their beauty in the gardens of others.

    ReplyDelete
  19. More expensive, yes...but when you buy a blooming plant you know what you are getting. Seldom have I had dahlia tubers be true to the photo. We don't usually dig them for winter storage around here, but the gophers are a deadly threat (always something). I like the flower color on yours very much. I keep aiming for dark foliage, but none have been as dark as yours.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm not a huge fan of Dahlias, I've tinkered with them in the past, but one I did really like and would grow again if I found it was a species, Dahlia merkii with lovely pale pink flowers. I grew it in a pot and moved it into the greenhouse over winter. Sadly I lost it amongst many other plants in those two bad winters.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I can cope with most garden critters but earwigs send me running for the hills. So no dahlias in the Tidy 'Dahlialess' Garden.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Not a fan of earwigs either Angie (I wonder if anybody does like them apart from fellow earwigs) but I do like dahlias. Your new purchase is most attractive and I wonder where you will plant it. My favourite to date is the white flowering
    'Twyning's After Eight' which has dark foliage. It's a matter of luck here whether dahlias will overwinter in the ground. Last's years came through at the allotment where I left their fate in the hands of the weather gods.

    ReplyDelete

Your comments are appreciated. My blog is currently experiencing issues with some readers reporting problems when posting their comments. Please bear with me whilst I try to rectify the problem.
I have temporarily switched on word verification. I apologise for this, personally, I don't like it either, I am hoping this may help.