Well, today is the spring equinox, when daylight gets longer than night, so it is official, spring is here! With the nice weather as well, I presume you are all now getting busy in the garden.
Another busy week for me. Weather is now OK for sowing of seeds outdoors, so I have been sowing my beans, peas, beetroot, carrot, pak choi, spring onions etc. With so little rain about at present, don’t forget to keep any new seeds watered.
Time also to finish off some last minute pruning of roses, buddleia, salvia etc. Also having great fun watching my pampas grass covered in small birds, all collecting nesting material.
Now I almost always overwinter my dahlias in pots or the ground. If doing so, the 2 most important things to do, once they turn black with the first frost, are a) cut the stems down below ground level to where they touch the corm. If you only cut to ground level, the remaining 1-2 inches stem will rot in the middle over the winter, and form a ‘straw’, which will fill up with water and rot the corm over the winter b) put a ‘cone’ of mulch, bark or just soil over the top, to disperse the water away. It is water that kills dahlias, not cold. Don’t forget to mark with a bamboo stick where they are.
Anyone, I had one very large yellow dahlia that had to be taken out over the winter, to make way for something else. In the autumn, I put it in a small amount of sand and spent compost, kept it in a cool, dark, dry place, and didn’t water it at all, waiting for the new shoots to appear. They duly did recently, and photo 1 shows this. Remember it started life 4 years ago as a bunch of 3-4 small corms, and is now very large, over 2 feet wide. It must love the soil. Anyway, it had to be cut up into 4 pieces, shown in photo 2 (together with the saw I used). Just make sure you have some fat healthy corms, plus a shoot, in every piece you cut off. The 4 pieces were still quite large, and I had to squeeze them into my largest 14inch pots.
Ps – don’t forget today is Census Day!