The End of Days!

No, it is not quite a prophet of doom scenario but it is that time of year in the garden; a time of winding down; of less grass-cutting; of tidying up and adding to the compost heaps and nothing for us marks this more clearly than the decision to lift the dahlia tubers and store them for the winter. Today was the day!

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A bright autumn sky as the colours of autumn creep into the trees. 
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Long shadows from a low sun and the grass scattered with fallen leaves. 
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Quite suddenly, the leaves of the magnolia have fallen

We have come to this day after a difficult summer, one of quite unusual heat and a prolonged period of drought. However, ‘tis an ill wind etc and there is the advantage that the soil is still quite dry and lifting the dahlias this year did not involved working in sticky muddy conditions which are both messy for the gardener and leave the tubers requiring a long drying out period before being stored in dry compost – the used compost from our tomato plants.

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There were still a few flowers on the dahlias but they are beginning to be tatty. This one is ‘Happy Flame’ 
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Dahlia ‘Gloire van Noordwijk’ looking well in the strong sunshine but the blooms are fading. 
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Dahlia ‘Pooh, which performed wonderfully during the summer but it is now time lift and store the tubers for the winter. 
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Ready for action – and then I left the work to Mary! 

So, it was an easier job than is usual, with dry conditions in a pleasant warm and sunny day though, as it was interrupted by a large articulated lorry coming to the end of our narrow cul-de-sac and requiring rescuing, much of the work fell to Mary. I suppose it reflects our gardening in general – I take the photographs and write about it while she does the work!

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Still looking well: Liriope muscari under Liquidamber styraciflua
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And it is the season for nerines – Nerine x bowdenii 

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14 thoughts on “The End of Days!

  1. Hi Paddy, great notes as always. I tried being lazy, leaving Dahlias in the ground last year – not named cvs, just ex B&Q cheapies, with a mulch over them. Despite the long cold winter, they came up grand, and are lighting up the garden still – a form with dark mauve leaves as in the Bishop, and bright bright yellow flowers, really draws the eye down the garden. TTFN. Stephen Butler

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    1. We used leave them in the ground for years but the hard winter of 2010-11 killed so much on us that we have been cautious since and have lifted them.

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  2. Lots of tidying up here. We are up to our ears in leaves but they will make great leaf mold. All the Aeoniums are either in the house or the conservatory. The forecast is for cold from Friday onwards.

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    1. Yes, leaf collecting has started here also and, like you, I think leafmould is a great addition to the garden. It is especially good for adding to the soil when planting snowdrops. They seem to really thrive on it.

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  3. I simply let them on the ground Paddy. I’m afraid I do not have time or strength after long hours of work…Love this post like the all the others! Beautiful dahlias, stunning garden….

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  4. I enjoyed reading about your autumn chores while welcoming early summer here. Blogs have given new life to the essay form which I have always loved, and which can be (is, in your case Paddy) a polished gem. Your nerines are looking spectacular.

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    1. Thank you, Carol. The nerines have had perfect weather conditions this year. They are often spoiled by rains but have escaped this year.

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  5. Gorgeous photos. Yes a pet day. I spent all of it trying to make my veg beds look as though they had done well! I do have leeks and I had dwarf French beans until I strimmer them. Not intentionally- I have nothing against the French!

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    1. I have more or less tidied up the veg patch. There are still lots of carrots with garlic above ground and broad beans in for spring. A good day today, a great autumn this year.

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  6. Love all your Dahlia and the Nerines are super. I’m going to leave my Dahlia in my new raised bed and mulch it well. Too many to try to store now but others are already in the shed. Love your photos. You have a fabulous garden. You can see how much work Mary puts into it ;). And yourself too of course !! Gorgeous.

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  7. I think that, for most years, you get away with leaving the tubers in the ground. We certainly did it for years and years but then lost so much in 2010-11 that we have been cautious since. Your raised bed will mean they are not water-logged and the mulch will give them good protection so they should be fine.

    One advantage of lifting and storing is that they are brought into flower earlier in the year as they are potted up in February and kept in the glasshouse. This advantage is especially noticed with cannas where those overwintered inside come into flower a month or more earlier than those left outdoors and they also get to a bigger size.

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