The Cuttings Garden is still going strong, although it is mainly dahlias and more recently the outdoor chrysanthemums that are filling my vases. Last week I took a few pictures of my favourite blooms – I am keeping my fingers crossed for the frosts to come late so that these beauties will still be going strong well into November.

                           Chrysanthemum Allouise OrangeChrysanthemum Alouise Orange

Annual Salvia

Dahlia Pink Giraffe

Pink Dahlia Giraffe

                                           Sunflower SeedsSunflower Seeds

Pink Pom Pom Dahlia

Pom Pom Dahlia

                                  Yellow & Red Spiky DahliaYellow & Red Dahlia

I have made a note to myself to keep a written record of where the dahlias are planted next year. In the mass of undergrowth it has been hard to find the individual labels at their roots. As a result dahlias that are new to me this year, such as the one above, will remain nameless until they are dug up for the winter.

Every year there is much discussion amongst gardeners about the best way to overwinter dahlias. On my wet heavy soil the only option is to dig them up, dry out the tubers on the greenhouse bench & then label & store them in boxes under the greenhouse benches. Some will not make it through the winter, but most do. When I have tried leaving them in the ground very few survive and those that do suffer from slug damage as they start to regrow, so are very late to flower.

The outdoor chrysanthemums are grown in pots sunk into the ground for the season. I will lift these pots when flowering stops, cut back the plants and store them in the cold frames. New growth in the spring can be used for cuttings and the old plants repotted and put back outside for the summer. The flowers are earlier and smaller than their greenhouse cousins, but beautiful and welcome none the less.

It will soon be time to start off the hardy annual seeds that will form the mainstays of my early summer cuttings garden. Although these can be sown direct in September, I prefer to leave the beds empty to be thoroughly weeded and composted throughout the winter months. I start the seeds off in the greenhouse in January, ready to be moved out to the cold frames and into the beds by early spring.

In the meantime the first job on my return home will be to plant out the many bulbs I have lined out in the potting shed!