December 3, 2011

November weather

   Passed November was unusually warm. I asked Björn to compare the temperature measurements made by our garden weather station in November 2010 and 2011. The difference is quite impressive. Here are the data for average, minimal and maximal temperatures compared:

Average, °Cmin, °Cmax, °C
November 20100.09-11.39.8
November 20115.49-0.512.3

   Today was +4°C, rainy and very windy, no winter signs yet. Such warm long autumn gives me hope for a mild winter and early spring. It's a lot to look forward in the garden and around...

November 26, 2011

What is still looking good in late November

      No winter signs yet in the garden and some perennials still look fresh. Blue flowers are opening on evergreen periwinkle. For the first time in 3 years I see the flowering of the only Chrysanthemum that I have in my garden. It is a very late variety and in previous years it was freezing before opening flower buds. Can't say that it was worth to wait to see this flowers...

      Coral bells look perfect. Lime Marmalade is the brightest. It's nicely contrasting with Crimson Curls growing next to it. Color of Marmalade turned greener than it was in early summer, but is still glowing. Sashay is not completely recovered after being partially eaten by roe-deer. I hope to see its full potential next year.

Lime Marmalade

Crimson Curls



      Newly planted Garden Phloxes are still green and slowely but, hopefully, surely are establishing in their new bed. Mulch of shredded leaves is protecting them from night frosts.

November 19, 2011

Storing dahlia tubers

   It's late November and I finally finished preparing my dahlia tubers for winter storage. I had tubers from ~140 plants to dig, wash, dry, clean and divide this year. I dug them all back in the middle of October washed all dirt off. Here is the picture showing 1/3 of my tuber harvest right after washing.

   Then tubers were kept in the outside storage until I was ready to divide them. I prefer to divide tubers in autumn. Divided tubers take much less storage space. Removing of stalks and old tubers significantly decreases rotting of divided tubers. And of course dividing of so many tubers takes time which is so precious in the Spring that you don't want to waste it on things that could be done earlier. With this mild autumn weather I was not in a hurry to bring them in the basement so it took about 3 weeks to make them ready for storage. In our outside shelter temperature still stays around 5°C which is perfect for tubers to stay fresh and firm.
   How to divide tubers? First have a look at the tuber and find the place where new tubers are attached to the root crown that surrounds the stalk. On this tuber of 'Colorado Classic' there are 2 stalks visible with multiple tubers attached to each of them.

   The stalks have to be removed. Red line shows where to cut to remove them. Yellow arrows are pointing at the visible buds at the crown of each tuber part. Each part of the divided tuber should contain a visible bud at the root crown. From this bud a whole new plant will develop and produce new root growth.

   With one of the stalks removed there are more buds visible on other tuber parts. Red cross indicating the old mother tuber that has to be discarded.

   Very often old mother tubers are getting rot inside of them. This rot can spread to the rest of the tuber.

   Now the tuber can be cut in pieces with a sharp garden clipper.

   As a result I got 12 tubers, which each will produce a plant of the same size as mother plant.

   Size of tubers in dahlias depends on the variety. Some can be divided in 10-12 pieces some in 2-3 pieces only. Here is ~3/4 of my dahlia tuber harvest divided and waiting to be packed for storage. I store them in a sealed plastic bag with a bit of vermiculite or wooden shavings added to keep tubers dry. Bags are stored in Styrofoam boxes in the cool basement.

October 31, 2011

Last weekend in October

     It's hard to believe but I'm done with planting in the garden for this year. On Sunday I planted last spring bulbs. For the first time I'm trying Iris reticulata, they should be early bloomers together with Chionodoxa forbesii and crocus followed by Anemone blanda and Мuscari armeniacum. Since we built a fence I finally could plant crocus, tulips and hyacinths without worrying for them to be eaten by roe deer. So I planted tulips 'Queen of the Night', I'm curios if they are really as dark as in pictures. My favourite spring bulbs are hyacinths. Yellow 'City of Haarlem', burgundy purple 'Woodstock' and dark violet blue 'Peter Stuyvesant' were planted together, we'll see if they fit each other.

     From Germany we brought some new additions to my small collection of Garden Phlox. Last year I planted my first Phlox paniculata 'Bright Eyes' and it bloomed great. So I decided to get more phloxes. So for next summer I'm looking forward to see blooming of P. paniculata 'Tenor', 'Rainbow', 'Watermelon Punch', 'Tequila Sunrise', 'Strawberry Daiquiri', 'Piña Colada', 'Junior Dream', 'Pünktchen' and 'Uspech'.

Bright Eyes

Picture borrowed from the gallery of Hartmut Rieger

Picture borrowed from the gallery of Hartmut Rieger

Watermelon Punch
Picture borrowed from the gallery of Hartmut Rieger

Tequila Sunrise
Picture borrowed from the gallery of Hartmut Rieger

Strawberry Daiquiri
Picture borrowed from the gallery of Hartmut Rieger

Piña Colada
Picture borrowed from the gallery of Hartmut Rieger

Junior Dream
Picture borrowed from the gallery of Hartmut Rieger

Picture borrowed from the gallery of Hartmut Rieger

Picture borrowed from the gallery of Hartmut Rieger

October 25, 2011

Karl Foerster garden and nursery in Potsdam

   Yesterday we visited an amazing historical private garden founded by Karl Foerster in 1910-1912. He is famous for his work in breeding perennial plants and Garden Phlox in particular. The garden is situated in German town Potsdam right behind the world famous Sanssouci Park.
   It's end of October but the colors in this perennial garden are as bright as you would expect in a middle of summer. The weather was a bit dull and foggy, not the best conditions for taking photos. But colors are shining everywhere anyway.

Upper garden

   This Aconitum carmichaelii is in its blooming peak. Very deep color.

   In the shady part of the garden is growing an impressive mound of my favorite grass Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'.

   Low garden is full of well thought and colorful plant combinations.

Low garden

   Among lush perennials I noted some dahlias. Bishop of Llandaff is known for its dark bronze foliage. It doesn't need staking since the bush is not growing very tall. These characteristics make Bishop series of dahlias attractive for landscape designers.

Bishop of Llandaff

   Next to the garden is situated the nursery and a plant shop - a dream of any perennial enthusiast. The choice of plants is huge and prices are mostly just 50% of those in Swedish plant shops. Of course, I found some additions for my small Garden Phlox collection - bushy low-growing Junior Dream and bright orange-red Pünktchen. Choice of hostas was very interesting, a lot of well grown multiple shoot plants. I picked a nice plant of miniature Shiny Penny.

Plant shop

Field with hostas

October 14, 2011

Dahlia season 2011: part VII, last dahlias for the season

   Tonight SMHI is predicting first real freezing. So I guess I'll find frozen dahlia garden tomorrow morning. Anyway it's time to dig them up. Here come some last dahlia flower pictures for this year.
   Pooh is the only collarette variety in my collection. It was created by Swan Island Dahlias in US (1998). This dahlia I got from Lilian at the meeting of Svenska Dahliasällskapet members. When it started to bloom I was impressed by size of the inflorescence ~10 cm.


   Hillcrest Suffusion (Jackson, UK) is a nice decorative ball of warm peachy-pink color, freely flowering.

Hillcrest Suffusion

   The latest to flower was Black Jack (Haslhofer, Austria, 2003). It's definitely worth to wait. It's the darkest dahlia I've seen, almost black. It has dark leaves as well. Very special blooms.

Black Jack

October 9, 2011

Preparations for winter started


   Warm and rainy September is over and October is cooling the garden. No frost so far and dahlias are still vividly blooming. Fuchsias were flowering amazingly during past few weeks. They were happy for cooler temperatures and flowers were opening huge, especially Bella Rosella. On the title photo taken today morning the flowers are as large as a big apple.

   Anyway it's time to prepare fuchsias to winter storage and I'm glad that I did it today. All leaves and green stem parts were pruned. Now they are ready to go to the basement and wait there until next spring.

September 26, 2011

Dahlia season 2011: part VI

   September is almost over but dahlias are flowering discontinuously. Most of my dahlias opened their blooms and not so many pictures left not posted here. The first variety of this post is seedling by Peter Haslhofer Hapet 2008-621. Very bright orange-yellow semicactus.

Hapet 2008-621

   Here comes the second Swedish variety that looks nice in my garden - Birka Hallon by Mary Ohlson. It has very nice raspberry color that it was named for.

Birka Hallon

   Kenora Macop-B (Leroux, USA). This variety was a slug magnet in June. The main stem of the plant was cut down to 20 cm long leafless stick twice. I guess it was the same slug that liked this particular variety and left others nearby alone. Despite that the plant finally managed to grow taller than 180 cm and is blooming with very dark velvety laciniated flowers.

Kenora Macop-B

   Boja's Farm coming from Holland, I bought its tuber in Kista Mässan. This plant appeared to be a slow grower, I'm suspecting some kind of disease on it. But when it finally opened its first bloom a few days ago it appeared to be a nice variety.

Boja's Farm

   The last 3 dahlias of today's post are varieties coming from Ken Greenway, Accent Dahlias, USA. These are a true show varieties. Strong long peduncles, deep inflorescence of a perfect shape, long vase life. On the title image is AC Rooster - my first stellar dahlia. This shape is very special and I definitely would like to have more stellar varieties in my collection.

AC Rooster

   AC Cougar is a tall plant blooming very abundantly.

AC Cougar

   AC Ben has huge flower head that stays fresh on a plant for 2 weeks.

AC Ben