marigold and nicotiana in Somerset


Spring seedlings

The cold weather is finally warming up a little, but the nights are still cold, too cold for my tomatoes to be happy in my coldframes just yet. If I had an unheated greenhouse I might risk it with a covering of horticultural fleece. We are not allowed glass structures on our allotments, and it should be noted that polytunnels are not very frost proof but serve only to raise the temperature during the day, not doing a great job of maintaining it at night.  Many nurseries have polytunnels full of bedding in April, but with frost-stat heaters at night. Read more

orange dahlia David Howard


Dahlias for Cut Flowers

My name is Katherine and I am an addict. It is harmless and doesn’t hurt anyone. I am addicted to dahlias and currently all my windowsills are full of trays of my favourites just starting to sprout.

I’ve been clean for 12 years since I grew 40 dahlias in a field and had no end of fun selling them outside my house opposite Donyatt church. I also grew zinnias, cleome, Euphorbia oblongata and golden rod to bulk out the bunches.

I resisted temptation for long enough and had a fix online. JRG Dahlias is my favourite dealer. It is so easy just to keep pressing buttons on internet orders but I have promised myself this habit won’t get out of hand this time. There are hundreds of varieties available. The information is seldom more than a picture and an indication of height. You have to grow rather a lot of them to find which ones are best for cutting. Read more