Dahlias come in a fascinating variety of shapes and sizes, and the pom-pom types, with their rows of incurved petals, resemble old-fashioned bathing caps. Dahlia ‘Franz Kafka’ lends itself – ironically, given its name – to a relaxed cottage-garden style, floating like balloons above the feathery foliage of Cosmos ‘Sensation’ and its delicate, pink petals.
Use a large container for this display, as this combination of plants reaches 1m in height. Prevent the planting scheme from looking too top heavy with a skirt of cerinthe. Its silvery blue leaves lift the dusky pink and purple flowers beautifully.
You Will Need
- Dahlia 'Franz Kafka' (3)
- Cosmos 'Sonata Carmine' (2)
- Cosmos 'Sensation' (2)
- Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' (3)
- Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
- Old tin bath or bucket
If you’re using a metal container, line the sides with cardboard to prevent it from heating up and drying out the compost.
Half-fill with multi-purpose compost and add gravel for drainage.
Plant up the centre of the container with dahlias and cosmos, and the front and sides with cerinthe.
Backfill with compost, and firm gently to remove air pockets. Water well and place in a sunny location.
Kevin Smith says…
Reclaimed containers are great for creating a rustic look full of cottage-garden charm. Tin baths and buckets are perfect for the job – just be sure to drill drainage holes in the base before planting.