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Cafe au Lait Dahlia

22nd September ~ September days

16th September ~ Perfect weather this morning – cool and drizzly. Not too hot! Yesterday was very hot again and uncomfortable to work in. More cutting back and down and weeding. Compost heaps are overflowing. I need to work out a better system for organising and emptying them. Perhaps collecting material in a pile and adding gradually layered with grass clippings.

17th September ~ The works has slipped seamlessly into Autumn tasks which are important but there is plenty of time to complete them. The urgency of summer is over where it is a constant round of planting, cutting and watering.

18th September ~ September days. Hot and sunny then chilly in the mornings and evenings.

20th September ~ A very satisfying hour of reclaiming some of the cutting beds. Weeds have taken over in many places where the plants have finished. The soil is loose and dry and the weeds come out easily.

Discovered a little forest of Lagurus ovatus – Bunny Tails – germinating. It is a hardy annual so I am hopeful that these will over winter well and flower early next year. There are also multitudes of Briza.

Swarm of bees in the poly tunnel. They buzzed around then settled for the night on the supports and on the flowers.

21st September ~ Beginning to sort out seeds, seedlings and greenhouse. I need room in the greenhouse for all the pots of seeds. I’d left some trays of sown seeds on the floor of the greenhouse due to lack of bench space. They now have cat footprints in them. Hopefully will still germinate. Many things need to be potted on or be planted out and that will make room for the new seedlings. Keep up with the pricking out.

22nd ~ Family party ~ Bees still resident.

Unknown Dahlia

15th September ~ Autumn tasks

9th September ~ I made a few wreath bases from twisted stems. These can be covered with moss or straw or used as they are with foliage tied on.

10th September ~ Beginning the Autumn change around. Many plants are flopping, crushing and squeezing out smaller plants around them. I know I plant too densely so I’ll try and make a space around each plant for it to expand into. Weeding, cutting down and thinning out in the front border today. There is a long way to go but it’s a start.

11th September ~ Some of the seeds sown last week are starting to germintate.

12th September ~ First sweep of the Autumn leaves. The Birch tree is always the first to shed leaves, in fact it sheds all year and also spreads thousands of tiny seeds in every pot and on every bed. It’s surpising that we don’t have a forest.

13th September ~ A busy day of wedding flowers. Buttonholes and corsages in a white and burgundy colour scheme. Aching hands but they looked good.

14th September ~ very little achieved in the way of gardening. Recently, since it became cooler, I’ve become relaxed about watering and now everything in the tunnel and greenhouse needs water and some of it needs staking. We are having hot days again.

15th September ~ A satisfying day of weeding and clearing spaces between plants. I swear things have doubled in size during the last month. We had all the hot weather when they struggled to stay alive but since it’s been raining they have made the most of the warm temperatures and damp soil. It’s a good time of year to be cutting back and moving things around. Some plants will now put on new growth before winter and make a mat of green.

Beech nuts all over the ground under the beech tree. I wonder if we will have an invasion of Squirrels. I don’t remember seeing so many before.

Apricot Star Dahlia

8th September

3rd September ~ Very fine wet rain which soaks in a short time.

4th September ~ I have a lot of planting out to do. I have small Lupin plants which I understand do better if established in the Autumn. I hope they won’t be razed by slugs. Better send the ducks in. Also Gaura. I’m not sure how hardy that will be so I will try some planted under cover. A few things need to come out of the poly tunnel so there will be room. Bulbs will start arriving soon!

5th September ~ There is a definite chill in the air first thing in the morning. Once the sun is up it’s warm again but there is no doubt that Autumn is coming.

First Ranunculus claws arrived in the post today. They are replacements for ones which were the wrong colour last season. Fingers crossed for these.

6th September ~ Pulling up the Daucus in the poly tunnel. It got too tall really and has not been worth the space it took up. I’ve saved some seed from it and hope it might self seed as well. I have self seeded plants outside which have done well.

7th September ~ How do the days go past so quickly? More cutting for drying and trying to sort what is already dried. It’s important to cut and bunch in 10s, 20s etc to save on sorting and counting once dried. Ask me how I know?

8th September ~ New plants. A visit to the Rare Plants Fair at the Bishop’s Palace, Wells and then a visit to a friends’ meant a boot full of new plants. Lots of plans to rearrange the garden, it’s the perfect time of year, but no time, frustratingly.

1st September – Turning a corner

26th August ~ out at 7am to get ahead of the heat. It was misty and damp and perfect. I cut down all the Larkspur and trimmed the whole edge of the first cutting bed, weeding and tidying as I went. I wish I’d done it last week before open day. Moving along close the the plants, I spotted seed heads to dry and seeds to collect. Pulling out these spent plants leaves gaps for new planting. I have plenty to plant but it’s too dry just now. Possible rain again this week.

27th August ~ It’s time to sort out the seed stash again and get started on the Autumn sowing. I’ve also bought a few new ones (of course) so a plan is needed.

28th August ~ Pricking out. I aim to keep on top of the pricking out of seedlings so they don’t get crowded and leggy whilst crammed in a pot together. Today Dianthus ‘Chaubad Marie Yellow’ and potting on Escholzia.

30th August ~ Lopping heads of Cosmos seems cruel but it ensures that the flowers keep coming. My aim is to remove any which haven’t been cut and used as soon as they have been pollinated by bees. The flowers last longer un-pollinated. There are still plenty around for the bees. Lucky bees to live here. Lucky me.

31st August ~ Creating buttonholes and table centres in a beautiful blue and white colour scheme. There is very little pale blue around in August so Cornflowers took centre stage with purple tones in the table centres. I loved them so hope the wedding party do too.

1st September ~ Another day out but before I went I spend half an hour sowing seeds. As well as growing for cutting, there are lots of areas in the garden I’d like to improve next year. Growing from seed is a cost effective way to produce a lot of plants. I’m sowing wild flowers for our grassy area, I hesitate to call it a meadow, as well as late vegetables and overwintering hardy annual flowers. Hopefully they will germinate quickly in the warm greenhouse.

Apples and cobwebs

25th August ~ Lessons to learn

20th August ~ I’ve cut bunches and bunches of Atriplex, Straw flowers and Limonium for drying. Each time I cut it means a climb up the ladder to the loft where we have ropes strung across for drying. Tomorrow Eryngium and Pink Pokers.

21st August ~ I cut down the sweet peas in the poly tunnel. They’d stopped flowering a few weeks ago but I wanted to save some seed. I should have taken them down sooner as I think they’ve been shading the tomatoes. Next year plant in a different orientation. They were such tiny, weedy plants when they were planted, I never believe they will grow so tall or last so long.

22nd August ~ feeding the dahlias. I started well planting them with blood, fish and bone plus compost in the hole and then was feeding once a week with seaweed feed. The plants (mostly) look good and healthy but they’ll appreciate it if I keep feeding. I use seaweed or Comfrey concentrate.

23rd August ~ Cobweb in the face day.

24th August ~ Planning ahead for a funeral spray this week. I’ve made a ‘pocket’ out of chicken wire and string to stuff with moss. It will be a cuboid when it’s stuffed and sewn up, similar in shape to to a floral foam block. I never use floral foam and this will work in just the same way after soaking – holding the stems in place and hydrating them.

25th August ~ Day off visiting Ston Easton Park. Gorgeous gardens with enviable vegetables. As well as box edged beds there are huge green houses filled to the brim with tomatoes, cucurbits and chillis. We weren’t allowed entry but it would have been steamy hot inside. We could only peer in the doors in wonderment. Coffee in the beautiful and relaxed hotel overlooking the gardens and river.

Cosmos in the sunshine

18th August ~ On show

12th August ~There is nothing like knowing people are going to see every part of your plot to focus the mind. A good day of tidying and clearing. I wish it always looked this tidy. Thought it is August and there are too many bare patches and not enough colour. I know I say this every year but I need more cosmos, dahlias and friends in the front beds and borders. Open days at the weekend as part of the Flower Farmers’ Big Weekend.

13th August ~ Replaced all the earwig traps which had been dislodged and blown away in the gales. There are still earwigs about but they are causing less damage than they were. Unfortunately still targeting the dark red dahlias. Dahlia plot looks fab considering it’s new this year and was a mess of weeds a few months ago.

14th August ~ More heavy rain. All water butts and tanks are now full and I have filled all watering cans as well. We are unlikely to have more drought but I am twitchy just the same.

15th August ~ Weeding, edging, tidying – it’s all coming together. As I go round I can see ways to improve things for next year to grow more efficiently and what we need more or less of. The season is changing and many things have reached their peak and will now begin to tail off. Thank goodness for Dahlias, Zinnias and Cosmos which are all flowering prolifically. I don’t like to think of the end of summer but there is a chill in the air in the evenings and it feels like change.

16th August ~ day on, day off! Heavy rain again today – really no let up all day and it’s very squelchy underfoot. Not possible to do anything much outside but I did manage a short time in the shed with some dried flowers and the beginnings of a wreath. Apart from that prep for the open day in the way of signs and cakes.

17th August ~ Day 1 of Flower Farmers’ Big Weekend. A glorious warm sunny day. We had a stream of visitors who made all the preparations worth while.

18th August ~ Day 2. Even more visitors. I’m very happy to spend a day talking to people about plants. Plenty of cake was eaten and money raised for Dorothy House.

Cafe au Lait and supporting cast

11th August ~ Ducks and bees and rain

5th August ~ Dahlias are really taking off now. The earwig traps are working as long as I remember to empty them every day. Perhaps the bark mulch paths were a mistake. Probably an earwig magnet!

6th August ~ A small amount of rain tease us.

7th August ~ There is so much to cut now it’s exciting. Someone questioned why I grew so many different things and had not grown a large quantity of a few things. I think that would be a different kind of business. Having all the grasses and twiddly bits to hand makes all the difference when creating interesting designs.

8th August ~ Dahlias are hung all around our house to dry. An interesting experiment with the heads which have opened too far to cut for vases. So far they look promising but may be very fragile.

9th August ~ Our beautiful ducks have destroyed my last planting of lettuce. They really do very little damage when let loose in the garden but have a taste for lettuce and spinach. I’ll need to find some way of covering the few which are left. I do give them lettuce leaves so…

10th August ~ Be careful what you wish for. We have had a decent amount of rain but they bring heavy winds with them. Thankfully we have staked and netted most things and the nets are doing a good job. I’ve just been out to check my dahlias and they are all standing up superbly. Completely by fluke, I think we’ve planted them in a sheltered spot!

11th August ~ a few things had fallen in the high winds so some staking was needed but we got off pretty lightly really. Good progress in tidying the Cutting beds. Mr C did valiant work edging the membrane paths and I cleared some plants which had gone over and removed plenty of weeds making it look better for open day next week. In truth the garden is very dry and green and there is little to see in the way of flowers. There are even bare patches. I always mean to have more colour in August but have failed again. The cutting beds, at least, are brimming and, of course, there are the dahlias.

Stung by a bee.

Torrential rain this afternoon and thunder. I know my fleece is outside and I wonder how many tools I’ve left out.

White cosmos

4th August ~ Wasps and compost

28th July. 9pm weeding outside in the perfect temperature. Weeds come out easily as it is dry, dry, dry.

29th July Deadheading snap dragons. They are getting rust.

30th July 7.30 am enjoying a cup of tea while listening to rain. First time in weeks I haven’t had to start outside early before the temperatures soar.

—————3pm Trapped in the poly tunnel with no coat as rain beats down. Managed to do plenty of jobs which have been piling up when is was too hot to go in. Satisfying.

31st July Motto for next year is ‘Plant then stake immediately’. No exceptions

1st August Many interruptions, little progress.

2nd August Weeding in cutting beds. So very dry that perennials are suffering from that and being swamped by weeds. Adding compost and mulching are very important if we are to have these dry summers. Any rain we have had has been burnt of by the high temperatures.

3rd August Found a wasps nest in a compost heap while trying to turn it. Bone dry in the centre of the heap. Will have to leave it now until Autumn and the wasps have left. Strimmed the long grass in the middle area where we hope to establish wild flowers. Far too late, really, most of the seed had already dropped and have now spread the rest all around. Will cover some of it over winter to reduce grass ready for planting.

Vivid pink Ranunclus

April 2019 – Ranunculus

Ranunculus are the undoubted stars of the April cut flowers. They have been quietly growing away all winter and suddenly burst into bloom showing off their amazing colours.

I was surprised to find that I liked the orange best. It looks fabulous in a vase with the vivid pink.

Pale purple Anemone

March 2019 – Anemones

Anemones are flowering. Finally, after what seems like a long winter, we have flowers again. Plants are in active growth again with new spring flowers popping up every day.

Here, Anemones were among the first flowers in bloom. Their rich jewel colours are a tonic after the grey months of January and February, though we did have a crazy hot spell in February this year.

Pale purple Anemone
Pale purple Anemone. There only seems to be one this colour. I’ll be watching out for more. It’s pale purple streaked with darker shades.
Purple Anemone
Purple Anemone
Pink Anemone in bud
Pink Anemone in bud

These were pre-sprouted in the Autumn and grown on until they had a good root system. Then they were planted out to overwinter in our poly tunnel. The corms rot if they get too wet so this is a good way of preventing that.