Plant of the Month 7/12 – Dahlia

Dahlia are beautiful and they come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes. They look good in pots (if you can tolerate the bugs… keep reading) and in a flower bed or on an allotment.

Lots of people think they are a bit dated, kinda blousey. I guess they do remind me of an 80’s blouse or something. But their bold, kitsch appearance is what I love about them.

True if you maybe over do it and go all Dahlia, your garden could resemble your nan’s… But if you dot them around your garden with some other plants they really inject a bit of colour and drama. They look especially nice up against a plain wall or fence.

So… I was starting to feel that I would never be pleased enough with my first ever Dahlias to be naming them a plant of the month. Oh how things change, because here they are!

They started out well as seedlings, but the ones which started to flower in my garden were covered in aphids, which lead to the plant pots being full of ants. Then some of the plants had gotten too heavy and had flopped over in the wind. Also, the slugs liked them. Cue grumpy gardener!

I had tried so hard to keep the ones in the garden pesticide free and using organic methods only, but after a bit of straight talking from Dad I accepted defeat and used some non-organic methods to get rid of the bugs.

I am now pleased to say that they are doing fantastically at the moment and they look beautiful. They add a real burst of colour into the yarden and I love them.

Now… on the other end of the scale… The Dahlia who live at the allotment.

They have given me no problems, not one. I guess, as they live on the open plot they get a bit more of a breeze which makes it harder for aphids to cling on. It’s less sheltered there too so they get full sun!

These guys are in full bloom next to my cosmos and they look fantastic too. I popped up the plot this afternoon to have a quick check before a weekend of camping and I was hit by an explosion of colour!

So there you have it. My 7th plant of this year. The wonderful, versatile, colourful Dahlia. I think there must be a version out there for everyone. Aside from the aphids and occasional slugs, they are pretty easy to look after, and let’s face it they’re a classic.

Thanks for reading.

Amy x

 

 

Brighten things up

I have been recently inspired by a book, called ‘How to Grow’ by Hollie Newton, to embrace my inner-kitsch. I should add, her book has also given me some great tips for growing vegetables, fruit and plants too!

As you will see in Hollie’s book – if you buy it, which quite frankly every aspiring gardener should, she has jazzed up her London garden with bright pieces of furniture and accessories. Lots of which she painted herself – which, by the way, is much cheaper and way more creative than just buying it!

After having a good old read last weekend I randomly purchased a bright pink, flamingo shaped watering can this week on my way home from work. I only say randomly, because until now my garden design had included a lot of green (obviously) but also neutral tones, whites, greys, browns and the odd deep purple flower thrown in.


So that’s why my purchase of a flamingo watering can was a bit of a surprise, as it doesn’t really go with my initial designs. But hey ho… looks like there might be some tweaks to my design now. Which is sort of the beauty of creating a moodboard and really taking the time to think about how you want your garden to look. It can change at any time to incorporate new ideas. There are no rules really… You can do whatever you want with your space. Even when the garden’s ‘finished’ it will never really be finished, you can add to it and change it whenever you like!

The flamingo watering can was just the start… I have just also purchased a wooden bird box from the garden… what’s so kitsch about that I hear you ask… well I’ve painted it.

Personally, I think its the coolest bird box in the village… maybe even in the West Country. A bold claim I know!

I do know that the colour of the bird box makes no difference to our winged visitors, but it will add a needed splash of colour to our white washed yard walls. It is also one of many touches I hope to add to help bring wildlife into the yarden. In a world when species are going extinct and becoming endangered left, right and centre, I would like to do my bit by making my yarden wildlife friendly, a sanctuary even.

So go on everyone – paint something bright and pop it in your garden, be it a chair, a bird box or even some pots!

Go for it – grab your paintbrushes!

Amy x

 

 

If you want to buy the same bird box as me, mine came from the old trusty Wilko for £5.00

Paints came from Wilko too – and they are just tester pots by Cuprinol. I have ‘Beach Blue’ and ‘Pansy Purple’ on my bird box. Both were plenty to give it 3 coats and only £1.50 each

‘How to Grow: A guide for gardeners who can’t garden yet’ can be bought from any good book retailler, but I bought mine from Amazon for £6.99 plus P&P. Bargain!