The Potting Bench Diaries – 3rd May 2023

This week I’ve turned my attention to the contents of our greenhouse – mainly because its essentially time to start planting things out! In Birmingham (where I live!), our last frost date has more than likely passed and it’s time to think ahead to our summer garden. I’ll still be enjoying the tulips for a good while yet but as they start to fade and gaps start to appear, I’ll think about planting out bits and pieces to get things going and keep the borders looking full.

It might seem mad, but I keep track of all the bulbs and plants in our garden and where I’ve put them. This allows me to know what I’ve got planned for each season and what I’m doing with the space when things have gone over.

This is most useful at times like now when each and every pot needs to earn its keep. As soon as a pot of bulbs goes over then I already know what is due to take its place and this hopefully prolongs the seasons of interest and makes the garden feel fuller for longer.

Its not an exact science and there are inevitably some gaps at times but having a greenhouse full of plants ready to swap in really helps!

Speaking of full greenhouses – lets have a little look what’s going on in the greenhouse at the moment.

Out of 20 dahlias, about 3/4 of them are sprouting and a few are getting quite big! I started these off in pots almost two months ago in the house and they’ve been in the greenhouse for around a month. They’ve done well and there have only been two times where I’ve needed to cover them with horticultural fleece to protect them from frost. There are a couple that I’m slightly worried about that are showing zero signs of life so I’ll give them a week or two more and will likely replace the tubers.

All is not lost though because after looking closer at the few that I thought weren’t growing, it turns out that they are – just very slowly. If you’ve got any you’re worried about then I’d recommend scraping back a small amount of compost around the crown and you might be surprised.

There is still plenty of time with dahlias, I just wanted to get these started nice and early but there are still weeks left to do them. You can either do what I did and start them in pots or wait until your last frost has definitely passed and plant them straight out.

Between the dahlias this year I’m going to have a range of grasses and cosmos with some other things that I’ll show you another time. But, the cosmos are what really excite me in all of this! Last year we had just two varieties I think but this year its gone up to six – four that I’ve grown from seed and two that I’ve got as plugs from Sarah Raven during a sale.

The varieties this year are Apricotta, Seashell, Double Click Bon Bon, Purity (from BeardyGardener’s Giving Garden), Rubenza and Xanthos. Quite a lot to manage to squeeze into our tiny space but I’ve got my fingers crossed!

And in podcast news, this week’s conversation is a real treat as I’m in conversation with gardener, writer and author – Andrew Timothy O’Brien.

Andrew is a real force to be reckoned with and he has a way with words that, I think, cannot be rilvaled. We talk all about his new book ‘To Stand And Stare’ and lots more.

Click here to listen now!

See you again next week

Disclaimer: This post is part of a paid partnership with Farmer Gracy. Links are to tulips I have bought myself but the post is paid content, which still reflects my actual garden experience. Link are not affiliate links. I use Farmer Gracy both as a consumer myself.

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