It’s the time of year as a flower farmer when you have to be in all the seasons (apart from winter!). The rush of spring flowers is just passing, the first summer blooms are gracing the flower beds and autumn seeds are about to be sown. Autumn blooms are often forgotten but are so important for extending the growing season. The queen of the autumn garden has to be glorious Dahlia’s, I’ve been growing them for seven years and each year brings new varieties and know how.
I normally start mine in pots in March when the weather is warm enough to garden in your pajamas but due to a extremely busy tulip season they were pushed back a month and I only started them late April but to my joy this has been no bad thing.
I’ve had these floral chandelier photos on my laptop for years and them seemed appropriate for this post. As the tubers currently in the greenhouse have been growing by the second I thought I’d combine to two and hopefully get you inspired to grow dahlias this year too!
You can grow dahlias two ways; from seed or from tubers. I love growing dahlias from seed, they germinate really fast and you never know what flower will bloom. The top two photos are of some early sowings but it’s not too late to sow a few now. I sow two seeds per cell and then pot on into individual pots. These have have been kept in the greenhouse but they’re almost ready to be planted out in their final spots. This year I’ve grown my dahlia’s from seed harvested from last years flowers – I’m beside myself with excitement to see what appears!
The second way to grow dahlia’s is from tubers. I store mine over winter in our very cold shower room, when they start sprouting I bring them down and pot up. In all my previous years I’ve started them early and potted up in individual pots. This year due to lack of time and compost plus something I read in Arthur Parkinson’s book I started them in cardboard boxes and crates. I put some in the greenhouse and some I left outside (don’t worry I’d checked the frosts were out the way!). Normally they take a good month to show signs of growth – this year they have all sprouted within weeks and looking much healthier for it. I packed as many as I could into the boxes and gave them a gentle water. Soon they will be ready to go outside. I’m amazed at how good they are looking and most importantly how much space I’ve saved in the greenhouse!
Back to the chandelier this was a practice run for a wedding I helped out with a few years ago. I used what I had left in the garden – cosmos and my favourite dahlia, Penhill Watermelon to create this stunner. It seemed a shame to waste it so I styled up this corner of the garden. To this day these are some of my favourite photos, it was doing this that really made me think seriously about growing seasonal flowers.