Gardeners are an optimistic bunch. We moan about the weather, but rain or shine, we’re optimistic. We must be because we keep going back for more! Despite year after year of failure with cauliflowers, I’d still love to grow the perfect specimen, and this year, my main floral ambition lies with the dahlia.
I adore dahlias. Their bold colours and striking shapes remind me of the kind of flowers my children draw and I love them for being such great show-offs. They also make amazing cut flowers. So quite why we rarely see them for sale in florists is beyond me. Anyone know?
Anyway, I’m planning to make cutting an armful of dahlias a weekly part of my late summer and autumn allotment visits. I have a vision firmly planted in my head of me, armed with my new little flower snips (which I’ll show you in another post) cutting dahlias of all shapes and colours and filling my hand-made trug full of them. It’s a scene worthy of Country Living magazine.
Whether it becomes a reality or not remains to be seen. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried. Sarah Raven, esteemed dahlia guru is always saying that dahlias are easy and forgiving plants to grow. However, they hate the frost and are pretty fine food for slugs—both of which have taken my previous dahlia growing dreams and killed them firmly off.
This year, instead of trying to plant corms (too early, too deeply or with a neon ‘EAT ME’ sign for the slugs) I’m trying to grow dahlias from seed. It’s far cheaper and I’ll just have to get used to the idea that the living room in my flat is going to be a giant dahlia squat until the weather is warm enough to plant them out. At the moment I have 47 little dahlia seedlings, all carefully potted on last weekend into individual cells where they will stay until they’re big enough to be potted on again. Eventually they’ll be in individual large pots and taking up half the flat.
Like I said. We’re optimistic, us gardeners. So, I’ll leave you here with the image of me, cutting glorious dahlias and making beautiful, bold arrangements with them all autumn. When—not if, I’m feeling confident— that happens, you can be sure that I’ll share it with you here.
And if you’ve got any dahlia-growing tips, do share them!