Where are my dahlias?

My dahlias are late this year, though it could be because I dug the whole lot up and replanted them – late. There are some blooming, but they are bedding dahlias. I’m more interested in the tall-stemmed cut flower types. I’m pining for a good dahlia bouquet to bring indoors.

I guess, while I’m waiting, I will have to appease myself with these two gorgeous but completely different bouquets, one flouncy and feminine (from Ruffled Blog), the other more rustic (from Inspired By This), with fruit (blackberries), seed heads and herbs.

Hurry up, dahlias. I want to make up some beautiful bouquets of my own.

Plant Now: Creeping bellflower

Creeping bellflower is an herbaceous perennial that’s in flower now. It’s a hardy plant that grows in sun or part shade, and when in bloom puts on a magnificent display. I grow Campanula muralis and Campanula ‘EK Toogood’, both with purple-blue flowers.

The plants are low-growing, so they’re not suitable for cut flowers, but they flower freely from summer to autumn. They grow well in the garden or in containers, or even in the cracks of concrete paths and brick walls. Available from garden centres.

Bottom image taken in Stanton, Gloucestershire

Plant Now: California Poppies


I do love these prolific bloomers. More often than not you see the orange poppies growing wild or prolifically in large gardens, but in the past few years we’ve seen introductions of lemon, pink, mahogany red, white, gold, and double or semi-double flowers. They do look lovely in wildflower gardens, or in amongst cottage flowers.

California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are easy to grow, thriving in dry, poor soils. As cut flowers, they’re short-lived but vibrant in the vase. Press seeds onto the surface of seed-raising mix and keep in a warm spot until ready to pot up. Or buy seedlings from your local garden centre. I recently bought some pink ones that have a white centre. They really look lovely in my cottage garden.

Kings Seeds has some lovely mixes, as does Egmont Seeds and GardenPost.

The middle photo comes via Dave’s Garden.

Purple and pink blooms


Pretty blooms, don’t you think? This bouquet is made up of proteas (they get a bad rap these days, but they are so beautiful!), cymbidiums (love these orchids), the blotchy leaves of ornamental cabbages (fab), and the seed heads of starball scabiosas (read more about them here).

Image from The Bride Link.

Plant Now: Calendula ‘Bronze Beauty’

I really like this calendula. It’s not as gaudy as the bright orange varieties, this one sporting more subtle creamy-peachy blooms, with darker undersides. These two images are the same plant allegedly, the bottom one from Egmont Seeds (true to what I grew in my garden), and the top one from Super Seeds. It’s possible that different areas (and thus different climates) produce variations in colour, though it may just be a trick of the light when photographed. You can see the similarities between the two though.

‘Bronze Beauty’ a hardy annual on 45cm high stems. In my garden it’s less vigorous than other varieties,though it grows well as both a border plant and as a cut flower. Sow seeds in trays or direct sow into fertile soil.

Summer wildflower bouquet


Wow. I’m loving this bouquet, which looks like it’s comprised of blooms straight out of a home garden. A picking garden, at that. Such vibrant colours and so cheerful, don’t you think?

My sunflowers, catmint and dahlias are coming along nicely in my own picking garden. I might be able to replicate this bouquet soon.

Image via Project Wedding

Plant Now: Kingfisher daisy

Felicia amelloides
, aka kingfisher daisy, blue daisy or blue marguerite, has vibrant blue flowers with bright yellow centres on 30cm-high stems. In the warmer north they’ll bloom year round, otherwise spring to autumn is the norm. They can be grown in pots or in the ground; mass-plant it for a colourful ground cover, or combine it with fiery orange osteospermum for a show-stopping display.

Plant in full sun in light, free-draining soil. Water well in dry spells and trim back after flowering (or late summer/autumn) to maintain shape.

Available from garden centres.

Plant Now: Obedient Plant

Physostegia virginiana, aka obedient plant, is grown for its tubular white or pink to lavender flowers. The flowers grow on tall stems and are long-lasting, making them ideal for the vase. In bloom from summer to autumn, physostegias prefer average, moist soil, though they are tolerant of some drought.

I can’t say I see these plants at garden centres that often, but if you google you’ll find several online nurseries that have them.

Photo credits: The top image is via  Growing Colors, the middle image is via Prairie Nursery.

Sweet Living Weddings

Yippee! I’ve finally finished my online weddings magazine, Sweet Living Weddings. It’s massive  - 180 pages worth of crafts, DIYs and tutorials for a glamorous handmade wedding. It features lots of beautiful flowers, with instructions on how to make your own floral head wreath, boutonnieres and bouquets. Plus there are cake decorating tutorials, reception styling tips, jewellery and accessory DIY projects, hair and beauty tips, and lots of real weddings inspiration.  Take a sneak peak of the magazine here.

Plant Now: Dahlias

Dahlias, with their vibrant  blooms and tall stems, are ideal for picking. And if you don’t like red ones, there’s a white or pink one, yellow or orange one, or salmon, cream or greenish one that will suit you. Their flowers come in all colours and different forms, including Cactus (with double blooms and narrow petals that are rolled or straight, incurved or recurved, giving them a spiky appearance – like the middle photo above), Decorative (double blooms showing no central disc), Pompom and Ball (an obvious pompom shape with no central disc, like the bottom photo), Anemone (with small petals in the centre with larger petals surrounding those), Waterlily, Peony, and a few others. There are literally thousands of hybrids to choose, and all are easy to grow.

Plant your dahlias in a sunny spot in free-draining soil. Dahlias don’t dig too deep, so plant them in a spot that’s sheltered from wind. Staking is generally advised, but if you grow a lot, like I do, stakes just look hideous. Best to plant them in a wind-free garden if you grow several. Dig in plenty of compost before planting and add a balanced fertiliser. Avoid using fresh manure or compost that hasn’t quite broken down as these can cause excessive soft growth which is susceptible to mildews and stem rot.

Read more about growing dahlias here

The beautiful top image comes from Tec Petaja