After the busy summer months, when comes October, gardeners, just like nature, need a good rest. Autumn is the time to put the garden to bed, reflect on the past few months and plan the next growing season. In today’s newsletter, I’ll list everything you need to do now for great spring flowers.
But before we dive in, I have a small farm update for you 👀
You might have noticed the absence of the September newsletter, and that’s because I’ve been caught up in a major project — we're buying a house! To be precise, an ancient 1890 house that’s seen better days. The past few months have been a whirlwind of house viewings, bank meetings, and gathering quotes from a slew of builders. Given the extensive renovations ahead, I’ve decided to scale back on flower growing next season.
What does this mean for the newsletter?
Not much! I’ll still be sending you a monthly flower newsletter complete with a detailed gardening plan. However, brace yourself for occasional glimpses into my house projects, especially once I start revamping the new garden. As I roll out new content, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you enjoy the most! Feel free to reply to my emails — I genuinely love reading your responses.
Will I stop growing flowers altogether?
Absolutely not! Finding a house with a spacious garden was a priority for me. This year, I experimented with growing flowers at an allotment, but it didn’t quite work for me. Visiting the allotment proved challenging amidst a busy schedule, and I sorely missed the convenience of strolling in my garden between meetings or during lunch breaks. I’m thrilled about creating a thriving cut flower garden at the new house, and I can’t wait to bring you along on this exciting journey.
Now that the house news is out, let’s jump into our Autumn gardening plan.
Flower of the month: Dahlias
Dahlias kick off their blooming show in the summer, but it's at the onset of autumn that they truly shine. It's almost like the cooler nights give them a second wind. During this time, their blooms become even more vibrant, and the plant hits its productivity peak. With proper care, you can enjoy their flowers all the way up to the first frost.
Dahlias are a diverse bunch, and you’ll find one to suit every taste. They fall into 14 distinct groups, each with its own characteristics: single-flowered, anemone-flowered, collerette, waterlily, formal decorative, ball, pompon, cactus, semi-cactus, miscellaneous, fimbriated, star, double orchid and peony.
These groups come in various sizes and colors, each offering unique qualities for floral arrangements. It’s worth delving into the specifics of each group to find the ones that appeal to you. Personally, I’m drawn to ball, formal decorative, and anemone dahlias. However, I tend to steer clear of large dinner plate dahlias, with the exception of the famous Café au Lait, as I find them challenging to incorporate into arrangements and bouquets.
Here are some of my favourite varieties:
Growing dahlias is a breeze if you follow a few rules:
I could write endlessly about dahlias, but Erin Benzakein from Floret has already covered it splendidly. I highly recommend their book on dahlias, covering everything from colors and shapes to dividing and storing tubers, even creating your own dahlia variety.
If you need more flower content until next month...
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If you want to level up your gardening game, then subscribe to Mary Jane's newsletter, which is packed with practical tips and ideas.