Six on Saturday – 19/5/2018

I’m in the habit of writing my Saturday posts on Fridays but here we are, Saturday morning and nothing done. Good thing the sun is shining and early morning photos can be taken.

Chillies. I sowed three sorts and put them on a south facing windowsill on 3/3/18. Two sorts, ‘Apache’ and ‘Ring of Fire’, germinated 100% and were pricked out into 9cm pots, ten of each. When they outgrew those, I moved them on into 1L pots, kept six of each on the windowsill and put the remaining four in the greenhouse. Today I shall pot on the sixes and move them to the greenhouse and move the fours, which have fallen behind in growth, back to the sunny windowsill.

Dahlias (1). I left all my Dahlias in the ground over winter, covering each with a mound of leaves. A few weeks back I removed the leaves and very slowly, shoots have been pushing up. It’s been a nervous time as they are very vulnerable to slugs or an unexpectedly cold night, but they seem almost all to be under way. A couple are still to show.

Dahlias (2). I have two trays of Dahlia seedlings from seed I collected from my own plants last year. I think these are ‘Veritable’, the others are ‘Orange Cushion’. I was very surprised at the quality and range of colours I got from a batch I did from ‘Orange Cushion’ a couple of years back, it’s encouraged me to do more. Allotment two is becoming a trial ground.

I imagine most gardeners see little wrong in liberating seed when it is otherwise going to drop to the ground and be lost. These came from a nearby park. I had long wanted the yellow candelabra primula; it was P. helodoxa when I was a lad. P. smithiana, P. prolifera, P. ianthina, Aleuritia prolifera and P. prolifera subsp. smithiana all seem to get a look in these days.
They get tall, 3ft., and are a lovely clear yellow. I don’t care what they’re called.

Spiraea japonica ‘Abigail’. In nursery days I found a few yellow leaved seedlings of Spiraea growing in the gravel beds, presumably progeny of one of the two or three forms we were selling at the time. I rescued them, potted them up and eventually picked the best of them to plant at home. From that we took cuttings and sold quite a few in the nursery, though the name was never registered officially. This is the original plant, still in my garden and very bright at this time of year. Abigail, my niece, was a toddler then; she’s at Uni now. She’s very bright at all times of year.SOS425

The allotment doubles as a trial ground and the garden doubles as a production facility for flowers suitable for pressing, drying and making up into cards. Here are some of the montages/collages that Sue makes up before sticking them onto cards. She uses a flower press that goes in the microwave, does the pressing in minutes. She sells them at craft fairs; handmade, absolutely unique and too cheap.


Right, it’s way too nice to be sat indoors at the computer, I have much to do in the garden. I don’t doubt there’ll be a growing list of links to other sixes appended to host The Propagator’s weekly dispatch. Following them may have to wait till later, but follow them I will and you should too.

9 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 19/5/2018

  1. The cards are lovely! I think I will also leave my dahlias in the ground this winter. I did a bit of both. 100% of the outdoor ones are through, but only about 20% of the stored ones are coming back into growth. Waste of time and effort mucking about with them. I like the idea of saving seeds. They control very easily from seed when I’ve bought it. I must give that a try this year.


    1. I still have a couple of no shows on outdoor Dahlias but as ever there’s a queue for the space. I planted one lot of this years seedlings on the allotment today, hopefully they’ll flower this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Those pressed flowers are stunning! You have managed to produce a lot of dahlia plants. That is very impressive. I wonder if slugs leave alone established dahlias? I leave mine in a raised bed over winter and have never seen any slug damage. But then I’ve never seen slugs in our raised beds – I think the wooden sides are too bristly for them!


    1. The dahlia seed germinated like cress, the hard part was limiting myself to pricking off 20 of each variety. In my experience Dahlias are very vulnerable as they start to grow in spring as the slugs can graze as fast as they grow. Once they’re up several inches they can lose a bit with no consequences. You’ll have fewer slugs in Kent; colder winters, drier summers.


  3. Have you always left your dahlias in the ground and are you quite far south? My RHS tutor said that 20 years ago it wouldn’t have worked here in Sussex but now thanks to climate change should be ok – but then we have just endured a Game of Thrones winter.


    1. I’ve lifted small plants and left the good sized ones in. I plant them a bit deep and cover them with heaps of leaves or compost. I’m not sure that deep planting is a good thing, they can be slow to come up, perhaps because the soil at depth doesn’t warm so quickly. We never get frost to freeze even an inch down.

      Liked by 1 person

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