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July saw the return of Brian Madders to the club. His talk was entitled ‘Dahlias and Chrysanthemums’.


Who doesn’t love a dahlia? Well not so long ago dahlias fell out of fashion, and rather than seeing them grown in gardens, they were relegated to the allotments. However, this has changed dramatically and we are now seeing many new varieties appearing, both in gardens and allotments.

Brian is a National Dahlia Judge and has a passion for growing them from seedlings.

They originate from South America and they like to have sun and moisture, but certainly no frost.

Cuttings can be taken and grown on into 1 litre pots. He advised that burying the pot will help them to store better and grow more quickly. Start them off in March/April in Perlite and compost and a little bit of heat.

Don’t give them too much sunshine at this stage and hand mist the cuttings. They can be planted out in May and should produce a tuber and flower in the first year.

Pinch out the tops of doubles about two weeks before singles to develop more flowers and support them either with cane and string or a purpose designed support.

Feed with potash and phosphate and as they flower apply a liquid feed but cease feeding in September.

After the dahlia has been frosted, dig up the tubers and store in a dry place in newspaper.


Again, chrysanthemums used to be seen on everyone’s allotment but they have also fallen out of favour, although I have noticed seeds and plants

re-appearing in catalogues now.

Brian started by talking about spray chrysanthemums. They can be grown either from seed or cuttings. He suggested digging up a plant in November, keeping it cool and dry in the greenhouse, as you don’t want too much growth. Take 3” cuttings and dip them into hormone powder. Then pot up the cuttings individually in free- draining compost which is not too rich. You should see some action in 3-4 weeks. Don’t over water, but keep potting them on into bigger pots ready to be hardened off outside before planting. Pinching out the tops is again advisable to encourage flowering.

Brian was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about both plants so if you haven’t grown either before, why not give it a go? You will be rewarded with some beautiful blooms which will keep coming until the frosts arrive.

We will have our next speaker, Anthony Powell, to talk about ‘Autumn Colour’ on the 27th September. If you think you would like to know more, please come along and join our friendly club at 7.30pm at Upper Clatford village hall.

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