As with most things, trends come and go with flowers, both in borders and for cutting. Victim to our capricious nature, the poor old dahlia seems to have been nowhere in the fashion stakes for decades now, it’s time rooted firmly back in the seventies. Absolutely no room for those big, blousy blooms in a modern prairie planting scheme or ‘tasteful’ orchid flower arrangement
There is however one place that is the exception to the rule; the allotment. Here they reign, on occasion whole plots dedicated to their charms. And charmed me they have, especially since I’ve started to take more of an interest in improving my camera skills. They are, I think the Kate Moss of the flower world, fabulously photogenic and shooting them close up allows a different view of the elaborate shapes, colours and petal formation that sometimes escapes the passing glance.
I’ve taken many shots over the course of the summer on our allotment site, whilst visiting gardens and at shows and in the next few months will share some of my favourites varieties here.
If you want to skip ahead though, today sees the start of the National Dahlia Society Annual Show at RHS Wisley. There will be more than a hundred growers and nurseries from around the country competing for prizes with their exhibits. At the weekend these will be replaced by pot grown varieties from the National Dahlia Society and two walk around displays from the National Dahlia Collection and Pheasant Acre Plants. During this time members of the NDS and the RHS Dahlia Trials Forum will be available for questions and advice.
Many of the dahlia blooms will be sold on Tuesday and Friday and Sunday afternoon with proceeds going to the National Gardens Scheme. Varieties from the current RHS Wisley dahlia trial will also be on show, and you can visit Portsmouth Field and vote for your favourite or perhaps seek out some inspiration for next season’s planting.
All photographs shown here were taken on Bob and Alan’s plots over the course of this summer.
The National Dahlia Society Show is part of the RHS Wisley Flower Show and runs from the second to the seventh of September.
It is open between 9.00am and 6pm Tuesday to Saturday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on Sunday.
Entrance is free for RHS members and one family guest. For non members the show entrance is included in the normal garden admission price.
All further details here
The National Dahlia Society here.
The National Dahlia Collection here.
Pheasant Acre Plants here.
In the interests of continuity I always look back on the previous month’s update before I start to write this post. What’s changed since last month? I can’t lie; not a lot. Flicking through the pictures I took a couple of days ago it becomes all too obvious that as far as the chillies are concerned we’re at a standstill. Yes, there are quite a few cayenne peppers but with the number of plants under cultivation I expected to be picking basketfuls by now. Frustrating when we’ve got lots of things we want to be using them for.
The photographs really tell the story, the light, not so bright and the leaves fading and a bit ragged as we move into September. What we did do last weekend was to move all the plants in pots back into the greenhouse in preparation for cooler night time temperatures. A bit more of an undertaking than we realised with four, metre and a half gravel trays. Removing the gravel, washing them down, putting them in the green house replacing the gravel and so on. We then set up an irrigation system to keep them watered and will continue with the feed.
The photographs show from top to bottom.
- Kung Pao
- Hugarian Hot Wax and Padron
- Scotch Bonnet
- Poblano and Aji Limon
And so it goes on!
As usual If you’d like to add a link to your chilli blog posts in the comments then please do.
There’s only one way to describe the plot this morning and that’s soggy. What’s become apparent in the last couple of days however is that it is very much a plot of two halves and that whilst I am sharing pictures of seemingly evergreen crops here today, some things seem to be positively thriving on a diet of torrential rain and cooler temperatures.
Throughout the season I’ve been adding to the number of perennials on the plot, a couple of helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer‘, a potentilla ‘Elizabeth’ and campanula, amongst others. I’ve not mentioned them much because although purchased in excellent condition they floundered a bit once planted and I wasn’t sure they’d survive in allotment conditions. Finally after three months in the ground they look established with full green foliage and in the case of the potentilla some very pretty flowers. The same is also true of the herb bed which inspite of being mostly sage, rosemary and other plants that like dry conditions was looking a bit frayed around the edges. At the end of July I tidied it up and cut back everything other than the lavender which was in full bloom at the time and now there’s plenty of new growth.
Following Bob’s lead I’ve tried to take more care of the dahlias this season, feeding weekly and cutting off any blooms that are passed their best, this might not seem like a big task but I’m estimating that’s it’s about a hundred flowers a week. Definitely been worthwhile though because whilst these plants seemed to reach their peak very early in the year they still look fresh even if not quite show worthy.
I said in the last post that my thought were already turning to autumn and to that end I’ve already started clearing beds in preparation. The sweetcorn is finished now, it all tends to come at the same time and although I have left some of the smaller cobs for the ‘wildlife’ the rest of the plants are already on the compost. This I think will be replaced by chard and cavolo nero. I’m still holding out for the tomatoes, although I do feel that green chutney is inevitable at some point, but will start to clear away plants that have given their best fruit. I am thinking now that forty two plants was just too many.
Here’s hoping for a good weekend.
Thank you for reading and let me know in the comments what’s going on in your garden.