Six on Saturday – Waiting For Frost (6/10/18)

I was surprised to watch the opening minutes of Gardeners World this week and see an autumnal steam of breath coming from Monty Don telling us he has had the first frost at Long Meadow. I’ve got to the stage in my daughter’s garden that I am tired of summer plants and want to move on now and have a good tidy up, dig up the dahlia tubers, cut down perennials and clear the beds to make room for all those enticing daffodil, tulip and allium bulbs sitting in the shed waiting to be planted.

The garden has different ideas, and stuff is still flowering! Here are my Six on Saturday hosted by The Propagator. Please pay a visit, after reading mine of course, to his blog and take a look at all the other great blog contributions.


The dahlias in the garden have suffered dreadfully from mildew, a problem I never had in my old garden, but then this summer has been unusual. I’m not sure if it is the right thing to do, but those that have finished flowering I have cut down, leaving the tubers in the ground for the next few weeks. After looking and pondering for a long time, the Cafe au Lait dahlia has had a stay of execution because the flowers outweighed the mildew on the leaves. I am by no means an expert on dahlias so any advice would be welcome please.


Although they are supposed to flower spring and summer, this Primula Vialii has decided to carry on flowering, yet the leaves are beginning to look ragged and dying down. I saw that if they are happy where plants, they will spread their seed and more plants will appear next year, I do hope so.


Another plant which has decided to flower again, despite it being October, is the Callistemon or Bottlebrush Plant to you and me. It has certainly settled well into its home at the end of the hot flower bed.


I can’t see this magnificent perennial Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’ ever wanting to stop flowering. Maybe it’s about time I stopped deadheading it! It does, however, produce wonderful colour into the border.


Talking about colour, my Son in Law bought this fabulous Canna in the summer and it lives in a large pot on the patio. Can anyone tell me please how to look after it during the winter months? Do I just place the pot, complete with canna, into the shed?


My final six is a just small section of the end of the garden which is strewn with windfalls from an enormous apple tree. If you are not ducking to avoid being hit on the head as they fall, you are in danger of twisting your ankle by stepping on them. Far too many apples to be collected and made into pies, chutneys, juice and the myriad of other things you can do with apples. I am well aware that a lot of you may throw your hands up in horror at the waste of apples, sorry about that. However, I am hoping they will fertilise the soil well.

22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – Waiting For Frost (6/10/18)

  1. So glad you asked all those questions, because you got some great answers for all of us. I didn’t know that’s why mildew happened. Now I do. Love all the colour that’s still in your daughter’s garden.


  2. I stick my excess windfalls on the compost heap. They rot down happily there. I am also impatient for a bit of a tidy up in the borders, see what’s what. No hurry though, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

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  3. Yeap….I’ve got mildew, a bottlebrush flower and apples too. Soooo many apples. In fact, I’ve spent the afternoon today picking loads and putting out for the neighbours! There’s only so much apple crumb/apple sauce I can eat!


    1. There are just too many apples to cope with. It’s a very old tree in daughter’s garden. It’s quite tall too so stepladders would be needed to pick them before they fall. She and SiL work all hours and are not into domesticity. There are only so many apple pies I can make. I was looking at your post and love❤️❤️ the Olivia rose.

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  4. 2 solutions: let the soil dry, cut the leaves and then store them in their soil (Harriet has well described it) or dig up the rhizomes and store them in the sand as you can do for the dahlias tubers.


      1. I think I’m going to dig up my rhizomes because my pots are getting too small (one has exploded on one side !!)
        Otherwise, I forgot to comment: your callistemon is lovely. I have always wanted to grow one but I imagine that it won’t tolerate winter unless I grow it in pot… how do you do?


        1. This is the first year in daughter’s garden but they had one in their last garden which grew happily throughout the years- it became a bit of a beast. I’ll let you know in the spring if it’s made it through. Plants are funny things – surviving where they not expected and dying when they been planted in the ‘right conditions’ 🤦🏼‍♀️

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  5. Where I live, in the mid-Atlantic region of the US, canna tubers are stored in a place where they won’t freeze. Some people here can get away with leaving them in the ground if they are in a sheltered place next to a building.


  6. If you didn’t watch all of last night’s Gardener’s World, Monty talked about Canna’s later in the show. He digs them up and puts them into the smallest pot he can get them into with old compost “to keep them ticking over”. Not sure when he cuts the stems off though.


  7. Cannas are lovely and exotic looking, but my garden is too windy for them to survive. I think Monty said to cut them down when the leaves died down (after a frost) and then store the tubers in dry compost over winter in a cool dry place like a shed.
    Not my shed. It’s a little damp. 🙂


  8. Hi Ronnie, if you don’t want to use the pot your canna is in for something else during the winter then yes you can take the whole thing in. Don’t let it get badly frozen but a light frost before you take it in shouldn’t hurt. If you take the whole thing in make sure the compost is on the dry side and stop watering it. I prefer to leave the foliage on and let that shrivel up while the plant dries down and goes dormant, then cut it off. If the compost around it is soggy then it is worth taking it out of the pot, removing most of the old compost and and then I overwinter it in loose, drier compost. I often use old compost sacks for overwintering cannas so that my pots are freed up. When spring comes pot the canna into fresh compost (you can split it at that stage if you want to) and start watering gradually. Like many things, the colder they are the drier they should be. Keep it cool but frost free until spring. A cool garage will do.
    The dahlias have probably suffered from drought – mildew takes hold when plants have been dry at the roots. Next year dig plenty of compost/leafmould into the soil they are going into.
    Hope that helps!

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      1. am so sorry Harriet for some awful mind block moment I seem to have given you a completely new name in one of my replies. I’m hoping it was an auto correct that I hadn’t noticed. I do apologise and have corrected it.


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