With many of us working from home, keeping a distance or self isolating, plant catalogues and planning your garden are a welcome way of passing the time.
I already have a few dahlias in my garden, but have just ordered a few more: Ambition, Blue Bayou, Leila Savannah Rose and Tartan. You may think that is an odd mix of colours, but I already have good selection including Waltzing Mathilda, Café au Lait, and Labyrinth, to name a few. I figured the new additions would complement the existing collection. There used to be a view that they were rather vulgar in a showy kind of way, but there is nothing quite like a dahlia for superb saturated summer colour!
Colour is a funny thing! As ‘fillers’ a few years ago I bought some diascia plants, which, if you were feeling generous you might describe as apricot in colour. My daughter considers them the colour of Elastoplast! I have left them outside in their pots each winter, but they come back every year, much to her disgust! They are ridiculously tough and I am not very good at getting rid of plants.
I sow a few Cosmos each year, which work equally well as cut flowers. This year I have seedlings of Purity, Candy Stripe and Antiquity coming through. There is not really a lot of room in my borders for anything less robust! A lot of summer colour has to go into the pots. Gazanias have successfully over-wintered outside for the third year in a row. My mother loved these and I continue to grow for her. I am hoping that the begonias I bought from Alec and Joe last year will return. As a contingency plan I have also ordered some Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’. All the pelargoniums have successfully over-wintered and I am currently trimming these back and making cuttings. Last year, I bought two beautiful Coleus plants, aptly named King Kong as they were absolutely huge. I was hoping I would be able to over-winter these in the greenhouse, but sadly they are looking pretty dead at the moment. Spring is definitely a time for surveying your losses and triumphs.