Knowing that a hard frost was on its way last night I made the most of the final hours of the Cutting Garden yesterday to gather in the last of the usable dahlias. Having finally made myself cut some flowers for the house I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden again after a long break from joining in with her challenge to find something from the garden to bring inside every week of the year.
The dahlias have been outstanding this year – they have been flowering non stop since early July and would have carried on for a few weeks yet if last nights frost had not hit them.
The dahlias I used in this arrangement included the ubiquitous Cafe Au Lait – loved by brides and florists the world over it seems and Henrietta, a Sarah Raven purchase which was new to me this year. Similar in colour to Cafe Au Lait, Henrietta has smaller flowers and has been a prolific producer since July (in contrast to Cafe Au Lait which has very large blooms and can be shy to flower). Also similar to Cafe Au Lait with a little more pink in the petals is Ice Cube – right at the back of the photo below. Another prolific flowerer, dahlia Ice Cube is not very tall so stands well in the wind and rain. I will have to check what the pink dahlias at the front are – it is too dark to pop outside now and search for a label.
The base of this arrangement was made with autumn foliage – I choose the leaves for their pink tint which worked well with the dahlias. I have added a bit of amaranthus Hot Biscuits which is still looking good and is on my list as a must have seed for next year and a few stems of verbena bonariensis.
There are also a couple of sweet peas that I could not leave to the frost! I cut a long length of stem with the sweet peas attached – this is a good way to make sweet peas usable later in the season when their stem length has reduced.
It is always sad to get to the end of the season in the Cutting Garden and say good bye to all the lovely flowers that have brightened my days since spring. November is the month for bulb planting and tidying in the Cutting Garden though, so I will be using any fine weather to get outside, give the beds a good weed and tidy and plant tulip bulbs and biennials to look forward to next spring. I should mention that I have a rather unconventional treatment for my dahlias – I neither dig them up nor cut them back – I just leave the top growth to protect the tubers over the winter and keep my fingers crossed that some new growth will appear in May – on the whole I find this approach very successful.
Although the Cutting Garden is at the end of its productive days for 2017 all is not quiet in the rest of the garden. The greenhouse is full of chrysanthemums and my first planting of narcissi Paperwhite are looking like they will flower later this month. My winter flowering sweet peas have germinated and I have plenty of trays of hardy annual seedlings to look after through the winter. The first snowdrops are already flowering (they are a very early variety!) and have had their heads chopped off – by a rabbit I expect! The winter flowering jasmine nudiflorum is in flower, I have plenty of cyclamen to enjoy and it will not be long before the hellebore season is under way!
The joy of gardening for me is the changing seasons – there is always something to look forward to!