Posts Tagged ‘dahlias’
November 13th, 2010
This month I plan to head out to the nursery and buy myself a dahlia or two, some seeds for my vege patch, some mulch for that as well and some tomato plants. I left a couple of dahlias in the ground last year, but this time I think I have remembered where I put them, so I plan to keep an eye on that little patch of soil, keep it moist and at the first sign of little green shoots, scatter a few snail pellets about. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t use snail pellets but for a few little things I do make exceptions. Dahlias are one of the exceptions. The snails love the new shoots and it is a bit of a race between us -last year they won! But, this year I am determined, and I do have the advantage that I put a little stick where they were growing last year – actually to remind me to lift them, but now if I can just find the stick….
Dahlias bloom about ten weeks after planting and remain in full flower until the end of April! What a bonus! They are easy plants and very giving in the flower department. All they need is a sunny, well-drained position protected from strong winds and soil that is rich with compost and manure. Once they start growing they need frequent watering, but they hate to have wet feet. They make a terrific gift, one that keeps on giving! So, potting up a couple to give away for Christmas might be a good move too.
The roses, of course, need to be dead headed and they love a little plant food and I still need to keep up with mulching in and around them. I plan to make an attack on weeds – this is the month, before the ground hardens up, yes, it is raining now, so the soil is good for weeding! Still, I have to admit to finding weeding something I would rather write about than actually do!
May 17th, 2010
It is time to make an assault on weeds, for these will accelerate in growth at this time of the year with the rain! My most invasive weed at the moment is oxalis! I have known people to go mad at this time of year over this little plant!! It is enough to drive you to the weed killer – but we won’t go there! We want our garden to be free of all that! No, it is best to remain calm and try to look positively at all that extra time spent in our garden bed pulling it out. A dear friend of mine told me that if I could get all the oxalis out (including all the little bulbs) before it flowered I could be rid of it forever. I have never succeded, but I live in hope.
Another ongoing little chore is raking up all those lovely autumn leaves for the compost bins! It is fun to do this – it keeps you warm and gives you exercise! If you have too many leaves to fit into your compost bins you can spread them at the back of the flowerbeds or under shrubs, whatever you do with those autumn leaves – don’t waste them by burning them!
The dahlias are all looking a bit sad now but it is important to let the foliage die back naturally to allow the tubers to take in food for the following year. Around the end of the month they are usually ready for me to cut the stems of the plants to within 15 centimetres of the ground and leave the plants in the ground for a few more weeks to allow the tubers to mature. At this point some people lift and store them for next year. I have never had much success with lifting dahlias; inevitably they become too dry and shrivel or they fall prey to slaters, or I forget about where I put them and they die a sad death in the dark corners of the shed, alone and forgotten. I find that my dahlias will usually suffer less by being left undisturbed – something I do very well – until it is time to divide and replant them around November.
While raking up the leaves I saw my little clump of violets – they will be flowering soon, so it is time to give them a little bit of TLC with some fertiliser and maybe tidy up the old leaves by giving them a little bit of a trim back. Dear little things that they are!
Well, I am off out into that garden bed to pull out some more oxalis! Happy gardening!