As part of my visit to the Botanic Gardens yesterday, I decided I'd stop by the area where the sweet pea was growing during my June visit. To be honest, they were nothing exciting. In fact it's fair to say they were disappointing size wise compared to what I'd grown here at home, and, most of the plants had mildew which just made them look more miserable.
In contrast, there was a great display of Dahlia plants growing nearby and the first to catch my eye being Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff'.
If you've grown Dahlia before, you'll know that they are a late Summer flowering plant providing great colour where a lot of other shrubs and flowers have finished.
They can be bought ready grown & in flower, but I enjoy growing them from tubers in mid-Spring. Once they've been set in compost and kept frost free they're easy to grow and require only a little care during the growing season.
There is a huge range of colour, flower shape and height when choosing what you want to grow. When I started growing them initially, I went for the dwarfer bedding varieties. I quickly came to appreciate the taller ones, where the flowers rise well above the foliage.
So coming across them today was rather fortunate, as it gives me a chance to see them 'in the flesh' and record some of the varieties that caught my eye, with a view to ordering some very early next Spring.
I do have some in pots, which are growing nicely, and I expect will be in flower over the next week or two. Care is simple - a small amount of feeding, regular dead-heading and time to appreciate.
Once we get into October and the early frosts, I'll simply remove most of the foliage, lift the tubers, and store in shallow boxes of dryish compost; storing them in a frost free shed until next Spring. Easy.
In the meantime, there is plenty of time to enjoy the colour and interest they'll provide.