Do start off dahlia cuttings: If you want to take cuttings it's time to get your tubers sprouting! Start them off as soon as you receive them by placing them in large pots or deep trays with a generous helping of a general purpose compost. Partly fill your container to half cover the tuber and water (without allowing the water inside the tuber). When the shoots are around 8cm use a sharp knife to cut them away from the crown just above where they join the tuber. Trim off any growth under the top pair of leaves, dip in hormone rooting powder then pot up using John Innes No.2. As the stems develop, pinch out any growth from the middle of the cutting to help create a bushy plant. Harden off before planting out around May. Do keep an eye out for slugs and snails that will feast on your young plants.
- Do care for your soil: Healthy soil is the key to all good growing so take some time to enrich yours before the spring gets started. Dig in plenty of well-rotted farmyard manure or leaf mould and, if your soil tends to be heavy, add some sharp sand or grit.
- Don't cut back perennials: It's still too early to cut back the old growth from perennial plants. Leave the old growth to protect the new emerging shoots until early spring.
- Do move shrubs: If you have any shrubs in the wrong place, now is the time to move them while they're still dormant.
- Do deal with pests: Look out for any pests that have been hibernating and destroy them before they have a change to breed and cause havoc.
- Don't use old compost: Old compost is a favourite hiding place for vine weevil larvae that destroy plants by munching on their roots. Clean post with jays fluid to ensure there are no germs left behind and fill with fresh compost.
- Do remove weeds: Emerging weeds can be pulled up as they start to appear to prevent them from sowing seeds and becoming an invasive problem over the summer months.
Peter Nyssen 31st January 2018
Peter Nyssen 5th February 2015
Many of our experienced customers prefer to plant snowdrops, winter aconites and English bluebells “in-the-green”. This means they are delivered, carefully wrapped to preserve moisture, in full growth with a little soil attached to the bulbs. By planting them in this state you can see exactly where you are putting them and they often establish themselves more quickly. It’s also an extremely useful way to inject flowers quickly into bare spots! They should be planted immediately on delivery and will flower readily. Here are our quick and easy planting tips for a successful show.
Snowdrops in-the-green arrive either in flower or about to flower. They should be planted around 10-15cm deep in groups of 5 to 9. Snowdrops planted in open ground will naturalise at a quicker pace than those planted in grass.
Eranthis (Winter Aconites) also arrive in flower or about to flower. They should be planted around 4cm deep in small clumps, in a moist well drained shaded place. When congested lift and separate after flowering.
English Bluebells arrive before they flower. They should be planted around 8cm deep in a moist well drained sheltered site.
Peter Nyssen 5th February 2015
Now is the time to start dahlias into early growth for cuttings. Plant your tubers in trays of damp compost covering just under half the tuber and let shoots grow to 3 to 5 cm. At this point you can divide the tuber into portions, making sure you have roots and shoots on each individual section. Pot each section separately using a good free draining compost like John Innes No.1. This method will produce several smaller dahlia plants from your original tuber.
Alternatively, you can take basal cuttings from your dahlia tubers. This method will yield a smaller plant in the first year but will not compromise the vigour of the existing tuber. To do this, take a single, strong shoot and, with a clean sharp knife, cut it away from the mother plant making sure you take a small sliver of tuber with each one. Cut away the lower leaf and dip the cuttings into hormone rooting powder before planting them in free draining compost like John Innes No.2. Keep the cuttings warm until the roots are formed (this takes around two to three weeks). Once the roots are formed you can pot them in to individual pots.
Plant your dahlias, propagated or purchased new from our wide range, out into the garden from around mid-April after the chance of frost has gone.
Peter Nyssen 5th December 2014
Dahlias are one of the best value plants available and will flower all summer (depending on the variety) if cared for properly. Their diversity of colour and shape are a real winner for every garden and a gift your family or friends can enjoy for months on end. Below are our top dahlia planting and care tips. Do let us know if you have any additional handy hints so we can add them to our website to share with other enthusiasts.
1. Plant dahlia tubers at a minimum depth of 15cm adding good quality compost or manure to the soil especially around the roots to help with moisture retention.
2. Dahlias can not withstand cold so plant them in the ground after the frosts or in sheltered pots ready to transplant when the soil temperature rises.
3. Always stake the larger varieties as soon as you plant the dahlia tubers. This will help keep the dahlias from rocking in windy areas and encourage long, straight stems.
4. Dahlias love sun, don’t plant in the shade or you will loose the flower and end up with leggy plants.
5. Dahlias are hungry plants and will need feeding regularly with high potash feed and water regularly. Do not use a nitrogen fertiliser as this will also restrict flower production.
6. Always pinch out the side shoots of your dahlias when the plant is around 15-20cm this encourages the plant to produce a good bushy structure and many more flowers.
7. In the autumn, allow the frost to turn the growth black then lift the dahlia tubers and trim the growth. Turn upside down on paper to drain any excess water and allow to dry for a few days. Finally, dust the tubers with a fungicide and store in shallow boxes or trays with dry sand or peat free compost around the roots. Keep in a frost free dry place.
Peter Nyssen 7th October 2014
Now Autumn has put in her first appearance and the summer gardens are coming to an end the time is now for planting spring flowering bulbs. To help you in your gardening efforts we’ve put our heads together and come up with our TOP 10 BULB PLANTING HINTS AND TIPS. Do let us know if you have any you’d like to share for the next edition of the newsletter!
1) Prepare your soil by adding garden compost and, in heavy soils, horticultural grit and sand. For containers use a mix of John Innes No.2 with a little added grit.
2) Squirrels, rabbits etc just love tulip, crocus and iris bulbs (amongst others). Aside from choosing Animal Resistant bulbs (use our special filter on the website) try planting your bulbs in an open weave net bag, such as an onion bag making sure the holes are big enough for the shoots to come through. Plant the whole bag in the ground and deprive the furry critters of their bulb feast.
4) Running out of space in your garden? Try planting a mix of early flowering, naturalising bulbs such as snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils in your grass. Plant them using a bulb planter randomly across the lawn for a natural splash of spring colour.
5) If you’re not sure where you have gaps in your spring planting try planting a selection of bulbs in pots ready to transplant into the spaces once the shoots start to show.
8) Try using layer planting in containers for weeks of flowers or plant en masse in your borders for dramatic effect. Give us a call if you’d like more help with choosing suitable varieties.
9) Water your bulbs as soon as you have planted them. This encourages root growth.
10) If left in the ground, tulips degenerate year on year. To preserve your favourites, remove the seed head after flowering and let the foliage die back before lifting the bulbs. Store in net bags in a cool, dry place until you plant them out in the following autumn.