Dazzling Dahlias

As you know, we both adore dahlias: sadly they don’t adore our garden. Dahlias appreciate a little elbow room and plenty of sunshine to grow well, neither of which they readily find at The Watch House. One recent garden visitor, pointing to Dahlia ‘Firepot’, exclaimed ‘everything looks so healthy …… apart from this poor thing!’. […]

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Plant Profile: Dahlia ‘Nicholas’

  I should have predicted it. I take a holiday, I unwind (sort of), and up creeps the dreaded tonsillitis. It happens every time, without fail. I don’t suffer from many afflictions but this one comes along as regular as clockwork and it’s debilitating. Tonsillitis is one of the few things that changes my cup […]

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Bending the Rules

In the world of gardening there are correct ways of doing things (as outlined in serious text books such as the RHS Encyclopaedia of Gardening) and wrong ways of doing things. These include, for the benefit of a work colleague who shall remain nameless, planting tulips bulbs in March. In between these two extremes lies […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Eranthis hyemalis

Eranthis hyemalis: winter aconite, winter hellebore, winter wolf’s bane. Jack Frost has arrived in the south of England, wrapping his icy arms around our London garden, petrifying bare earth with his icy breath. His late arrival has sent many optimistic plants that dared to bloom early back into hiding. The puckered, pink flowers of Magnolia […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Mirabilis jalapa

Mirabilis jalapa: marvel of Peru, four o’clock flower, tea-time plant It’s been an extraordinary weekend for gardening. The weather has been warm, dry and still; not a cloud in the sky from when the sun rose on Saturday morning until it set on Sunday evening. Feeling the sun on my face and back, I reflected […]

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Dahlia Week: Big and Beautiful

When I was a boy, most dahlias looked a little like D. ‘Lady Darlene’. They were bold and brazen, not afraid to be bi-coloured or brassy. Their flowers were either big, top-heavy confections or perfectly pert little pom-poms perfectly designed to hide earwigs. The dahlias of my childhood were the drag queens of the floral world, […]

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Dahlia Week: Dahlia ‘Waltzing Mathilda’

It’s rare that I regret not buying a plant. This is because I scarcely ever resist temptation in the first place. ‘Buy it now, you might never find it again and then you’ll be sorry’ says the mischievous flower fairy that follows me around gardens, markets and nurseries wherever I go. ‘Don’t worry about where […]

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Dahlia Week: Dahlia ‘Happy Halloween’

This week The Frustrated Gardener is devoting itself to that dazzling diva of the autumn garden, the dahlia. Since Christopher Lloyd re-ignited our fascination with this Mexican marvel gardeners have fallen head-over-heals for the dahlia’s beguiling blooms. I grew up with dahlias, growing bedding types from seed every spring and planting tubers directly in the […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Incarvillea delavayi ‘Snowtop’

I need more plants like I need a hole in the head. The garden is already bursting at the seams and there’s twelve weeks to go until it reaches its most junglified. But when confronted with a bargain my willpower withers like a dandelion doused with RoundUp. ‘Go on’, goaded Martin the Garden Centre Man, […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’

Begonias are such stalwarts of the summer garden that they are often overlooked, even sniffed at, by so-called fashionable gardeners. I’m not attracted by the enormous, dinner-plate sized blooms of most tuberous begonias, but find single flowered hybrids essential for colour in my partially-shaded garden. They do not demand day-long sun and look all the better […]

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