Pyjama Patrol and daring to dig

For days on end I have been out very early in the morning and peered down at very unpromising flower pots. Day after day nothing seems to appear. I was getting a bit concerned. We have had a very cold spring and I have been worried that I had planted out my dahlia tubers far too early. The cold and frosty winter ‘did-for’ last year’s tubers. Even though they still had their summer soil keeping them cosy and were wrapped in newspaper, their hibernation in the garage was disastrous. Not one tuber survived. Unwrapping my precious collection was like a very soggy version of a rotten potato Christmas.

So I started my collection again – some very reasonable sale bargains. My ‘Cafe au Lait’ tuber was a must at any price. All were placed in a pot of soil to ‘start them off’. But I have gambled with weather and with no cold frame or greenhouse, resolved to just place them near to the house on the patio.


So there we are daily pyjama patrol checking on the promise of floral glamour for the summer. Finally tiny, tiny little lime green shoots appeared on the surface…hurrah. Then like nothing I have ever seen. The shoots grow almost visibly. Another debate appears on the horizon. When do I turf the tulips out of their pots to make space for their summer cousins; the sweet peas, the cosmos and the dahlias. This weekend has seen the great change over. The whole process takes much longer than I think.

I allow myself to indulge in pure hobby inefficiency. It you were watching – you would witness how random and cluttered the whole process appears. I revitalised old compost with some new peat-free (OBVS) and dig deep into the pots to find hidden bulbs. Hours fly by and I almost forget about meals. Finally everyone is in their new home. Yes I have too many sweet pea plants. Surely they are the courgette of the flower world. Yes, in their new home the sweet peas are sulking. They always seem very unhappy to be moved in to larger, pots of beautiful yummy compost. Proper mardy.

The pot collection has grown… I don’t know how… really I don’t. But I do know that growing in pots has given me confidence with plants I would never had the courage to raise. I would never have put the tulips in the borders had I not seen the success in the pots.

I have added hollyhocks and and delphiniums to my collection this year. It is a daring thing to do. I love their cottage garden prettiness so much, that I can’t bear it when they get eaten. It is heart breaking, But we will see. If dahlias have taught me anything it is…who dares wins.


The image are some dahlias and cosmos from last year. I always forget how big they get and so I have put in the ugly supports in already – it will save me snapping stems unintentionally. I have top dressed the pots with Strulch. I love it (no ad/or gift here) I genuinely love it for my beds and copied my local nursery who have used it for top-dressing.

1 thought on “Pyjama Patrol and daring to dig”

  1. Loved your pyjama patrol this morning especially when I reached the dahlia. I bought new tuber last year, 3 were Cafe au Lait. They reached a height of over 4 feet and some early flowers were 10ins diameter. A frost of -15 decimated them ( it was unexpected so no chance to dig and store). Last week as I began the tidy up happiness they are sprouting a few green leaves. Tall canes at the ready.

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