The Potting Bench Diaries

The Potting Bench Diaries – 9th November 2022

This week… I wont be mentioning bulbs…I don’t think…! However, I will be talking about some other tuberous plants – dahlias. Although we’ve started to get frosts here, they’ve only been very mild and haven’t yet started to knock the dahlias about just yet. Usually you’d wait until the frosts have blackened your dahlias as a sign to either dig them up or cut back and mulch, but the impatient side of me cant wait so I’ve gone ahead and dug them up.

I’m absolutely terrible and labelling (and remembering where things are) so I choose to dig mine up to store for next year. Rather than trying to work round the tubers, ours come out and I’ll use the space to plant a generous about of bulbs for spring – see I knew I couldn’t resist mentioned bulbs eventually. Our borders aren’t huge but its surprising how many bulbs you can cram into such small spaces.

The dahlias have done so well this year and I’m undecided whether I’ll grow these ones again or not, so I’ve dug them up anyway. I’ve been blown away by just how big the tubers gotten since being in the ground – in particular Caribbean Fantasy. I always remember Sarah Raven saying that they resemble a big string of salami and she’s definitely not wrong. Now that this job is done it really does feel like its deep into autumn and that winter is pretty much here.

Just because it may be autumn (or winter), that’s not to say that there isn’t still plenty of colour to be found in the garden. Skimmia has to be one of the best plants for this time of year, with their fantastic red or white berries. This one was already in the garden when we moved in and its kind of in the wrong place but it seems to be happy anyway. I keep meaning to dig it up and move it but haven’t got round to it just yet, 6 years later…

Another absolute classic (and a favourite of mine) for colour right now is Cyclamen. Perfect in pots of any size or shape and they can even be used to top your pots of bulbs, rather than just leaving the pots bare. Not only are they great in pots, if you plant them under trees or in a shady border, they’ll happily spread and naturalise – giving you a real abundance of colour in winter! A couple of ideas there for you to try this winter anyway!

The latest podcast is live and this time I was joined for a really honest conversation…


…with gardener and fellow salvia lover, Jimi Blake of Huntingbrook Gardens, near Dublin in Ireland. Jimi has become synonymous with his stunning gardens which have attracted visitors from all over the world for over 20 years.

This is an episode that I’ve been dying to share with you all from the moment we recorded it as me Jimi really get into how plants have lead us both on a journey of self discovery.

I really hope that this week’s episode has kept you company while you’ve been out in the garden or on your commute

See you again next week

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