My dahlia patch has gone berserk. After what seems like weeks of rain, the sun has finally put in an appearance, and so too have my dahlias. Previously the odd bloom was seen poking its head out amongst the sweet peas and achilleas, but now they’re running riot. Seen here are a mix of pompom and cactus dahlias. The red cactus dahlias are a mighty 22-25cm in diameter!
I have a real thing for flowers in the hair. They just look so darn gorgeous. Check out these stunning designs by florist Amy Merrick over at An Apple A Day. They’re part of the bridal flowers she did for a wedding in Brooklyn. Note the dahlias too. That’s the other thing that gets me excited. And these ones remind me that dahlia season is just around the corner. I can’t wait!
I have five more dahlias flowering now, all with super long stems ideal for picking. Here’s two of them, but don’t ask me their names. I got these two in a lucky dip from Dahlia Haven (although I’m sure I could find out their names if you’re desperate to know). If you haven’t been to Dahlia Haven before, or ordered up large from their website, you absolutely must! Their 2011 catalogue is online and it’s to-die-for.
I picked my first dahlia yesterday, 11 weeks after I planted a heap of tubers of varying varieties. It’s quite the show-off, I think you’ll agree, with its pure white blooms forming a perfect pompom. The heads aren’t too big (8cm in diameter) but they’re quite exquisite, and they’re meant to be excellent cut flowers. This variety is called ‘White Knight’. Here it is with sweet peas, the rose ‘St Paul’s Cathedral’, and chincherinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides), which has white, starry flowers.
I can’t wait till my dahlias bloom, but that’s still a wee way off yet. In the meantime, I’ve been getting my kicks by eyeballing this exquisite bouquet by Nicolette Camille Floral Design for Once Wed. Delicious dahlias, roses, white scabiosa and starball scabiosa are interspersed with hydrangea florets, and all are pulled together with a simple but elegant white ribbon. Divine!
The weather has warmed up dramatically, so it’s time to get cracking in the garden. I’ve been sowing hundreds of flower seeds, as well as a few plants and tubers.
Dahlia tubers can be planted now for summer and autumn flowering. Plant them so their necks are 5-6cm below the soil. If they’ve already sprouted, position them so the base of the shoot is just below soil level. For detailed information on planting dahlias, click here.
My two clematis are in full bloom. Clematis montana ‘Tetra Pink’ and ‘Elizabeth’. The latter has a gorgeous chocolate scent (truly!) and both can climb to a whopping 7-10m high if you let them.
Clematis come in all shapes and sizes, from dainty diminutive blooms to giant dinner-plate show-offs. They can be compact growing or high climbers. They also flower at various times of the year, so if you plant several different varieties you can have at least one plant in flower almost year-round.
Believe it or not, clematis are superb cut flowers. Pick when the flowers have just opened and remove all foliage. Check your local garden centre for plants, or try a specialist nursery like Mr Clematis.
Calla lily (Zantedeschia) tubers can be planted for midsummer blooming, although bear in mind that tubers under 3cm won’t produce flowers until their second year. Buy tubers from garden centres or from specialist mailorder nurseries, like NZ Bulbs.
I planted 23 different varieties of dahlias yesterday – mostly pinks, purples, magentas and reds, with a couple of white and peach varieties thrown in for good measure. A week ago, and not too far from here (about two turns left and one turn right), I journeyed the neighbourhood and spied two fully grown dahlia plants already flowering their socks off. If they could thrive not five minutes away from my own doorstep, it was high time I planted my own.
Dahlias are one of the most prolific flowering perennials and come in myriad shapes and sizes, from neat-as-a-pin pompoms to spidery cactus types and paeony and water lily lookalikes. The flowers range in size from tiny-tot heads less than 50mm to giants with a diameter of over 250mm. [Read more...]