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Latest posts by Tomsk

Quick Dahlia question

Posted: 23/01/2014 at 15:35

Last year I planted two dahlia tubers, one of which was snapped and broken and the other which was perfect. In the end, the opposite of what I expected happened - The broken tuber grew into a lovely flowering bush whilst the 'good' one never appeared at all.

I recently turned the soil before planting new bulbs and there was absolutely no trace of the tuber that never grew. I cut back the one that grew to a stalk, currently have it in an old shoe box and am looking for a new spot to plant it, but what happened to the other one? The soil was never disturbed, so nothing dug it up. Did it just rot away into nothing? Why would a perfectly good tuber just disappear like that? Both spots got the same water and light.

Rosemary Bush

Posted: 14/01/2014 at 19:51

Thanks for the replies,

I don't want to get rid of it because it looks nice where it is, especially looking so mature and rustic.

I'm not sure exactly what I'd like to plant around it, but probably shorter bulbs like daffs, tulips and crocuses. Or maybe even a colourful 'carpet' of pansies grown from seeds or something.

I never thought about it snapping in the wind before. The trunk is pretty thick and it's never been bothered by the occasional gales I get. There was the storm a couple of weeks ago and the one in October, both of which blew over big heavy plant pots in other gardens and blew a few things over in mine, but the rosemary bush seemed to be unscathed. Though maybe they usually only live for a few years?

If ever I wanted to pull it up and start again, how would I go about growing a new bush from a cutting of the existing one? I assume I need to pull the root up and cut a piece of that out or something|?

Rosemary Bush

Posted: 07/01/2014 at 14:31

I have an old rosemary bush that looks like a mini tree trunk where it leaves the soil. After years of pruning, it stands about four feet high and the green leaves appear from about one foot up from the soil.

How high up from the ground would it be safe to prune it without killing it or shortening its life? I'd like to clear it from the ground so that I can grow plants below it (that would then get some light) but would it be a good idea to have about 3 feet of plain 'trunk' before the green bush starts? Or would this lead to problems getting nutrients and water from the soil to the leaves?

Flooded Harden

Posted: 07/01/2014 at 12:53

Well I may have posted too soon!

There's been a break in the heavy rain and, under a cloudy sky with a fair few blue patches in it, I had a close look at my soil and the very top of a handful of bulb shoots have appeared!

I wasn't expecting anything for another month or two, so is this normal for daffs and tulips? Before the rain, I intended to scrape 2" of surplus soil off the top that I temporarily scattered when I was doing some digging in December, so the bulbs breaking the surface now must be 8" down because I originally planted them 6" down in late October. So, any estimates by more experienced gardeners of when these may flower? I'm guessing they'll be early blooms?


I daren't scrape off the 2" now because I'll clearly damage early shoots.

Flooded Harden

Posted: 05/01/2014 at 19:26

Sorry to hijack the thread but I planted some daffs, tulips and hyacinths in late October, so are these likely to have been wiped out by the rain or is there still a chance they'll flower by spring?

Fortunately, my garden hasn't been flooded like the photo at the top, but my soil has been well and truly saturated for the last couple of weeks. I'd only recently fluffed-up the top soil after planting a few left-over bulbs so it was very soft (cats and foxes had left paw prints over an inch deep). Then came the constant heavy rain which has completely wiped all the paw prints and compacted the surface, leaving the soil soaking wet.

I only have about 8" of soil and not very good drainage, so the poor bulbs are probably swimming in it down there.


What time of year should I expect the shoots to appear on the surface?

Compost ingredients

Posted: 11/12/2013 at 09:52

I have a small compost bin and produce more food and garden waste each year than I need for compost.

So, as I can afford to be fussy, what should I throw in and what can I put in the bins for the council to take away?

I have a steady stream of vegetable peelings, off-cuts and stale stuff, which I assume is very good for compost? But I also trim back some climbers on a fence and end up with a couple of wheelie bins worth every year. There are also dead shoots from perennial bulbs and seeds, dahlia bushes, rosemary cuttings, etc.

Should I leave the climbers out, in favour of the vegetables and bulb shoots, or is it all as good for the soil?


Also, are tree leaves good for compost? Is it worth gathering up fallen leaves in the autumn/winter to add to my compost bin, or is vegetable matter best?

Pruning dahlias and gladioli

Posted: 12/10/2013 at 23:51

I have a few dahlias and gladioli I planted this spring. They flowered, but now the last of the gladioli has lost its flowers and whilst the dahlia is still producing flowers, you can tell it's starting to wind down, with fewer new heads forming to replace the old ones.

The green stems of the gladioli are still very green and healthy, so should I leave them along or could I cut them down to the base now?

And once the last of the dahlia flowers is gone (when is that likely to be? I didn't expect them to still be flowering in October) should I cut the bush back down to the base?


Also, is it OK to plant dahlias and gladioli bulbs together with daffodil and tulip bulbs? My hope is I can densely pack both bulbs in the same areas so that the gladiolis and dahlias flower in the summer whils the daffs and tulips flower in the spring, without the need to dig up one set of bulbs and re-plant the other twice a year.

A few of my dahlias thhis year

Posted: 14/09/2013 at 17:10

I have a dahlia currently blooming well. It's the first one I've grown and new heads are still forming despite it being September. How long can I expect it to keep flowering, and should I chop off the whole bush down to the main trunk once the last flower's gone? I cut off the heads as soon as the petals fall off, as I read in another thread that this promotes new heads growing.

I think next year I'll grow one in a large pot at the front of my house, as the one that's grown in the soil is a nice overall size.

Are there any easy-to-grow plants similar to a dahlia that flower in the months a dahlia doesn't?

Identify a weed please

Posted: 31/08/2013 at 17:42

Well, after a couple of months, the rose bush has really grown but has seven leaves per stalk and shows no signs of flowering.

Will this flower next year (its second) or should I pull it up and compost it?


Posted: 29/08/2013 at 23:23

Thanks for the reply, Verdun. I went out tonight and the head that flowered a few days ago had all the ends of its petals chewed off, and there was a veevil sat right on it. So, caught red handed I squashed it.

I was also overrun with snails and slugs this year, and they were steadily chewing away at the dahlia when it first appeared. Some of them were massive, especially the slugs. I took to going out every couple of nights and rounding up as many as I could. This worled quite well, and I had less of a problem after a couple of weeks. I also tried a beer trap, and that seemed to have worked very well too. However I think I need to put a beer trap every few feet for it to work properly. One morning I went out after not checking it for a couple of days and there was a thick 'layer' of small slugs floating on the top above the beer. I put them all in the compost bin.

I've cut off the dead heads I've noticed. Do these go in the compost bin, or could they be used to grow new dahlias as easily as buying new tubers? I don't have a greenhouse.

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