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Dahlias, Summer 2017.

05 October 2017 09:21:41

I was at my local gardening club last evening and was speaking to one of the members, who is a keen dahlia grower. He grows a large amount of dahlias as his wife is a flower arranger and uses a lot of homegrown flowers in her arrangements. He was telling me that it was a disasterous year for him with hardly any flowers and foliage like net curtains. He would grow his dahlias in rows, like veg and not in his garden among other plants, so would be able to see which ones were not doing good and be more critical of their performance. For me this year has been a great year for dahlias, as they seem to enjoy the moist warm weather we had and are still going strong apart from the foliage being a little tatty. They had a long season of flower as well, flowering from late May and were huge plants when I planted them out. My favourite dahlia this year was Dahlia ' Admiral Rawlings' , the colour of the flower is sumptuous. Other favourites are Dahlia 'Bloodstone', Dahlia 'Gloire de Noordvgijik', Dahlia 'David Howard'and Dahlia 'Chat Noir'. Did any other members find this a good year for dahlias?


JoanG JoanG 05 October 2017 20:33:41

Personally I prefer the single dahlias but don't have any right now. Yours look fabulous Mary, especially Admiral Rawlings which I have admired in Carmel Duignam's garden. 

DeclanTipp DeclanTipp 05 October 2017 22:00:38

Mary , I found it a very good year for Dahlias . Some here are still showing good form . And Iam no expert ! I do love my Dahlias though ..

Fleurette Fleurette 05 October 2017 22:23:54

Your 1st picture, Mary, shows a lovely big colour clump of dahlias.  

I don’t grow many dahlias, as it is too much work to lift them.  However, I have had The Bishop of Llandaff for years and leave it in the ground.  This year it is still in bud and I am still waiting for the 1st flower.  Is it worth it?  Obviously “No”.  The  growing season at 55° N. Is 3weeks shorter than in Co Cork. Or is it 3 weeks at either end of the season?  I cannot remember.  

Four years ago, Conrad gave me a “dahlia coccinea var. palmeri.“ It is a sort of climbing dahlia with a bright red single (simple) flower.  It flowers very late in the season and  Presently has a very large fat bud.  Still waiting!  It flowered earlier in previous years.  

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 05 October 2017 22:45:27

Joan, I love the honka types, but bought one and was disappointed, very small plant. 

Declan, I love them with their over the top flowers.

Margot, the one you got from Conrad sounds very interesting. 

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 05 October 2017 23:40:32

My Dahlia story this year is my 'Catherine Deneuve' which I took a chance and left it in the ground last winter. It didn't reappear until late July and came into bud at the end of August but is looking truly splendid now! I hope the forecast grass-frost wound put paid to her!

Jackie Jackie 06 October 2017 08:00:38

Mary I found the Dahlias this year were absolutely fantastic too. I've had loads of blooms and still going strong. Like you one or two looking a bit tatty but overall a great display. I too love D. Glorie van Noordwijks  with its masses of orange blooms. I bought Pooh at Bloom aand it's done well. I a,so got som 'dinner plate' size Dahlia in Lidl and they were just stunning. I have D bishop of Llandaff and it's the only one I didn't lift and that's been flowering non stop too, if a little later. A few I have in containers but the ones I have in the ground are staying this year. I'm going to see how they fare out!! 

Jacinta D Jacinta D 06 October 2017 08:42:03

Fantastic year for Dahlias here too. I love them all, but like Joan, I think I prefer the singles. My only single is about to flower any day now. I originally grew it from seed sent to me by Deborah about 5 years ago or more. 

I'd like to get my hands on D. 'Pooh'. I've seen it in Peter Wiseman's journals a lot.

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 06 October 2017 09:13:18

Hazel, your Dahlia ' Catherine Deneuve' is gorgeous, I remember you uploading a photo a few weeks ago.

Jackie, I am half  thinking of letting mine stay out this year but, after after the first bad winter a few years ago, I lost all of mine, so not sure what I will do.

Jacinta, I got Dahlia 'Pooh' from Peter last spring.

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 06 October 2017 12:24:24

Mary - I haven't lited my dahlias for the past two years and they have been fine. I put about a bucket of compost on top of them when the leaves have gone black - just trim off the foliage so they won't rot and then a good dollop of compoats keeps them snug over the winter. 'Catherine deneuve' missed out on the mulch for some reason and was much later to appear.

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 06 October 2017 13:58:06

Hazel, my problem is that the soil gets very wet in winter. If I had the money I would put in lots of grit into the soil where I plant them and possible grow daffodils amoung them to flower earlier in the year. I do leave out cannas and gingers and just mulch. They survived the bad winters and were only slightly set back. I do leave out the odd dahlia and have found that they will flower a little later.

Scrubber Scrubber 13 October 2017 18:10:23

Scrubber's dahlias withthe exception of a very robust red and white one were disastrous. This was due to the fact that Scrubber didnt plant any apart from the very robust one which was left in situ and laughed at all the winter threw at it!

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 13 October 2017 19:52:02

Peter, I think that was the dahlia I gave you, Dahlia 'War of the Roses' a very, very hardy dahlia. If you ever lift it there will be loads of tubers. 

My Best 'Buy' of Summer 2017.

03 October 2017 17:31:06

Well not a 'Buy', but being in the right place and the right time. I was lucky enough to be given a fern Lophosoria quadripinnata. It has a beautiful large fronds and the underside is grey. It has grown very well with all the rain this summer. 

JoanG JoanG 03 October 2017 21:26:31

I remember you posted about this plant when you got it, Mary; it certainly has come on well and looks lovely in that corner.

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 03 October 2017 21:56:51

What a beauty!

TerriShoos TerriShoos 04 October 2017 10:44:39


Scrubber Scrubber 04 October 2017 13:31:57

Quadrapinnata  Ah but have you seen my Octapinnata?????? Only jokin' Its a beautiful fern. They had a nice selection in Johnstown last sunday and reasonable 8Euro.polistichum setifera Plum Densum. I read in my book its very common so should suit me! but also very beautiful!...?susceptible though to Taphrina wettsteiniana-but then arent we all!!!!

Jacinta D Jacinta D 04 October 2017 13:54:40

Very nice indeed. :)

Jackie Jackie 05 October 2017 07:39:53

Oh yes that's a real beauty. My love for Ferns has grown over the past few years. 

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 05 October 2017 22:48:37

Thanks everyone and when I googled the fern I found it for sale in Kell's Bay for forty euros.


03 October 2017 17:14:35

At lunchtime today we were watching a hen pheasant taking a very keen interest in the beautiful berries of Callicarpa profusion. She spent several minitues jumping up and down trying to knock them to the ground and then gobbled them down as fast as she could. Callicarpa is a lovely shrub at this time of year and will develope a gorgeous leaf colour as the month progresses and not to big, so suitable for a small garden.

DeclanTipp DeclanTipp 03 October 2017 17:28:11

Clever lady ... 

JoanG JoanG 03 October 2017 21:39:06

A lovely shrub indeed Mary and it looks like you have enough berries above jumping height to continue to enjoy!

It's amazing what efforts the birds will make to forage; we've been watching a large woodpigeon doing a delicate balancing act on our pyracantha lately; normally the blackbirds have it to themselves. 

Jackie Jackie 05 October 2017 07:38:31

Great photos. It must be just lovEly to have Pheasants in the garden in the first place. And I know Paddy feeds them too! How wonderful. It looks like a beautiful shrub. 

Best Plants of Summer 2017.

28 September 2017 12:17:32

My favourite plants of Summer 2017 is Salvia ' Amistad' which seems to flower for ever and I just adore it's dark inky blue flowers.

My second choice is Dahlia ' Admiral Rowlings' which grows to about six feet in height and has the most delicious coloured flowers. It towers over it's neighbours and looks so well in the border.  I bought this dahlia in the UK last year and have not seen it for sale anywhere in Ireland, such a pity, as it would be a huge hit with lots of gardeners.

My third best plant of Summer 2017 is Amicia zygomeris. It has grown so tall this year, it is amazing. I love the formation of the leaves and the flowers, just gorgeous. I got this plant for a very keen gardener, who in her time,  was a very generous lady and it is a reminder of happy times.

This summer has been a great summer for growth with the amount of rain we have had.  Hydranges have loved it and are looking good into the Autumn. The drier weather of the spring and early summer was appreciated by the roses and the dahlias were flowering so early as well. A good summer overall for the garden.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 28 September 2017 20:54:45

I remember that Amicia from our visit to Van Der Lee's garden a couple of years ago. Is it easy to grow?

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 28 September 2017 21:10:04

Yes, Jacinta, we did see it growing in Var der Lee's garden. I have not had any problems growing it. It is in good soil and in a sunny site.

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 28 September 2017 23:21:07

Three lovely plants Mary!

Jackie Jackie 29 September 2017 08:26:09

Mary you have just an array of plants and such beauties. These are great choices too. I have S Amistad here, so easy to propagate too. I love it. 

JoanG JoanG 29 September 2017 20:30:48

Yes, super choices Mary.  Though my small garden is already full, I know I'd make space for the Amicia if it ever came my way.  I first saw Dahlia 'Admiral Rawlings' in Carmel Duignan's garden, it sure is fabulous. 

Fleurette Fleurette 29 September 2017 22:47:49

All three very stately, Mary. The Dahlia looks so warm and glowing. And sooo tall. 

Fleurette Fleurette 29 September 2017 22:48:37

All three very stately, Mary. The Dahlia looks so warm and glowing. And sooo tall. 

A Visit to Coolwater Garden.

21 September 2017 23:41:09

We have spent the last few days in Clonlara, Co Clare babysitting our grandson, Ben and last Monday we visited the garden of Kevin Begley in Fedamore, Co Limerick. It was a foggy morning when we left Clonlara, but it had burned off by the time we reached the garden. Kevin was so kind to give us a tour of his garden and it was evident that he was a very keen gardener who went to huge effort to give his plants the growing conditions they required. He has erected a canopy to provide shade for his wonderful selection of acers which were looking fantastic at this time of year. He is also growing an amazing Drimys 'Marina' a plant that's requires an acid soil, but Kevin's soil is alkaline. Troughs are displayed around the garden planted with choice alpine plants that he aquires from nurseries in the UK. He also has a keen interest in ferns which are flourishing throughout the garden.

The back garden has a very large pond at its centre planted with native plants which fits in so well with the landscape outside the garden. Again, Kevin has gone to the trouble of building a shelter for his collection of Agaves to protect them from the weather during the winter. There are plenty of seats in the back garden to sit and view his wonderful creation. We had a lovely visit to the garden and many thanks to Kevin for his welcome. A garden to visit if you are in the Limerick area.

I have to thank Paddy for the photos as one of us had to mind Ben,who after a biscuit from Kevin, behaved himself.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 22 September 2017 07:31:10

Having been there myself a couple of years ago, I can vouch for everything that you say about Kevin's (Kindredspirit) garden. It's so gorgeous. And a lot of effort has been made to create one of my favourite gardens to visit so far. Photos are brilliant too. Definitely a garden where a baby/toddler needs to be restricted, or if they're water-babies. 

Delighted that yourself and Paddy got a few days on your own with little Ben. He must be getting really big now.

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 22 September 2017 08:30:47

Jacinta, a lovely garden and Kevin was so giving of his time to us. A very enjoyable visit.

Ben is one next Thursday, having a party in Tramore tomorrow with Aoife's friends children and then a little party in Clonlara on Thursday. We are back to baby-minding on Sunday. A busy week with birthdays next week, Patrick's on Sunday and Paddy's on Monday.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 22 September 2017 08:51:37

Good Lord, that year has flown. Enjoy all the jelly and ice-cream. LOL

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 22 September 2017 22:17:51

Is that your first visit to Kevin's garden? I also visited it a few years ago and it is etched in my mind as a truly unusual and creative garden!

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 23 September 2017 09:30:30

Hazel, yes it was our first visit despite the fact we are so ofter in Limerick/Clare, but this time we have the day free to do what we want, so have been very lucky to visit a few places. We went to Bunratty Castle and a fantastic walk near Corbally in Limerick that bring you along the banks of the Shannon to Annacotty. I would love to visit Kevin's garden in Spring when all the Alpines are in flower.

The year has passed very quickly, Jacinta.

Scrubber Scrubber 23 September 2017 17:37:03

Many thanks.very interesting.  Happy 50th on Monday Paddy! 


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