Thursday, 27 June 2013 07:13

The Dahlia News Featured

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The dahlia bed last summer The dahlia bed last summer

Gardening Diary 26th June 2013

Encouraged by my reclamation of the rose garden after one day's weeding, I today tackled the neighbouring dahlia bed. This island bed is square with a thick border of blue fescue grass surrounding a developing Elaeagnus x ebbingei bush. Between these I've been growing dahlia for the past few seasons. This winter I didn't lift and store the tubers in the autumn for the first time. In common with the rest of the garden, this area had become overgrown with weeds during the first half of the year, and was looking really miserable.

Removing the weeds turned out to be less daunting that I had anticipated. If you leave them to develop long enough, the strongest start to dominate and crowd out the smaller unwanted plants. It's important of course that they don't also choke your precious “wanted” plants, but this time I was lucky. Much of the covering was clover, and I found that removing each hefty plant from the base cleared a significant area in one pull. Most came out easily and if any broke to leave the root in the ground, I consoled myself that these provided nitrogen-rich nodules to improve the soil.

Clearing the bed revealed that some ten dahlia plants had survived the winter and were developing into sturdy plants. In previous years, newly emerging shoots of dahlia have been eaten by rabbits, but I guess that this time they hid successfully amongst the other vegetation.

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