It was like a scene from a Walt Disney film.
There was my little boy standing in the middle of the patio with a bunny (we had let her out of her hutch earlier) hopping at his feet. Our friendly robin was sitting on the table watching and a dunnock kept sweeping past, flying from the hedge to the beech tree.
Further down the garden I could see a male blackbird pulling an unsuspecting worm out of the ground. The bees were happily buzzing in and out of their purple sleeping bags – foxgloves. All we needed now was for my daughter to skip past in her Snow White costume.
Unfortunately, the harmony was shattered when my little boy dropped his trowel onto the concrete, making a terrible din. All the creatures ran for cover.
Every year my better half finds a new hobby and last year he got rather excited about Dahlias.
I’d be interested to find out if anyone else has a husband who has an obsession with this or any other plant. Or am I alone in my suffering? Many a cold winter evening was spent pouring over Dahlia catalogues and looking on the internet for advice. Every now and then he would look up from the computer and tell me some fact about these beautiful flowers. Such as, the tubers are actually edible and were brought over from Mexico by Andreas Dahl in the 18th century. My husband certainly knows how to show a girl a good time!
He was so enthusiastic about this flower that he ordered at least 20 from a specialist nursery. A new bed was created just for his plants and he weeded and raked the area throughout the winter months.
May came and he eagerly collected the tubers. He then put them in pots in the greenhouse with a layer of soil over them. Once they had sprouted and had some good growth he planted them in his well tended bed and waited. My husband patrolled the area like a soldier with his torch, a bucket and a trowel to capture any unsuspecting slugs and snails. They seemed to love the dahlia leaves and he could collect 15 of the slimy pests in one night.
Then – at the beginning of July – he was overjoyed to find the first flower!
Since then the Dahlia bed has become an explosion of colour! Oranges, purples, reds, pinks and yellows greet us in the morning and I have to say that my husband’s vigilant slug patrol definitely paid off.
He also waters and weeds them regularly and disbuds the side flowers. This encourages one large flower, rather than three smaller ones and make a beautiful bouquet with sweet peas, verbena bonariensis and hydrangea.
They also make a beautiful backdrop to my Walt Disney production!