Get ready for spring and summer blooms

Yellow Dahlias
Yellow Dahlias
The podcast's hosts, Alice Levine, Jamie Morton and James Cooper

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There is a transformation at the garden centres and nurseries.

The packets of spring bulbs have all been sold as many of you took my advice and bought the bulbs when they were reduced to half price. As long as they were planted deeply, they will be wonderful.

I was pleased to receive a card from Len and Maria who live at Farlington, telling me the daffodils look wonderful in their garden. Here at Waterlooville we are waiting for that mass of elegance – it won’t be long.

The weather is still very depressing. An hour ago, I went to the allotment and water was pouring along the main road and rushing down the cattle grid at the main gate.

I went into the greenhouse at the allotment and am delighted to say the broad bean seeds in insert cells are just poking through. You may think this insignificant but it made my day. Spring is on the way.

Have a look at the packs of bulbs, rhizomes and tubers at the nursery and you will see wonderful plants in packs with pictures on the fronts of the packs.

Take your glasses and a tape measure in case you still think in feet and inches like Pam and I and have a look at the dahlia tubers.

You need quite a few because they should be planted about three feet apart.

The best idea is to buy one or two each week. We do this but the problem is that when you return the following week all the varieties you loved have gone. The answer is to go Dutch – buy three of the same variety.

The tubers can remain in the decorative packets for several weeks in a frost-free place at home.

Once you have the numbers you need each of the tubers can be started into growth. A seed tray is ideal. A little Universal compost is scattered over the base, the tubers spread out, a label tied on the top of the stem and the tubers covered with compost.

The compost must be moistened and the tray placed in a light place. A windowsill in a spare room is okay as long as the conditions are free of frost.

If you are wondering if the dahlia tubers can be planted outside the answer is no, it’s far too cold and 
wet. If they are planted in seed trays as recommended they will have strong green shoots ready to go in your garden.

In sunny gardens they will be the same height as was written on the label but in shady places they will be taller. But be assured there will be masses of blooms from June until the frosts 
arrive next November.