My sister and I are going to MIFGS this week - the annual flower show in Melbourne - where we buy bulbs, chat, and admire/discuss the show gardens.
This year S is looking at Dahlias: medium height, `self-supporting' ones, like she's seen in my garden; she's over having to stake tall ones and plans to pull hers out.
We both love the dusky leaves of the Mystic series and of, almost ubiquitous, `Bishop of Llandaff' with red flowers over that almost-black foliage: stunning.
I've been watering my potted Dahlias but neglecting those in the dry garden - a mistake, as it turns out.
S said she'd be looking at dahlias at the show and I remembered those that I bought last year: pink `Mystic Dreamer' (see post 17/3/18). I search the silver-and-raspberry-colour garden and find 2 little shoots from what were 2 good-size tubers. Well, I don't need to buy more, but look after what I have.
Dahlias hail from Mexico (it's the national flower) where there's summer rainfall; of course they need watering in summer! I think I've been spoilt by my dwarf, single dahlias (white, below, and yellow) which I can ignore for long periods of time - even leaving some tubers in the ground over winter some years.
But my gorgeous ` Mystic Dreamer', a plant that has very pretty single flowers and is self-supporting, needs cosseting. I'll feed the 2 tubers when we get some good rain, and I'll try to water them well until then. And maybe I should have fertilised them in spring.
In gardening, we keep learning, don't we?
And that's just fine.
Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (www.jillweatherheaddesign.com.au)