Flowers from the garden 31st October 2022

Who would think it was the last day of October? My dahlias didn’t have any flowers during August, September and the first half of October. But they have suddenly decided to put on a display. And what a display. They are all producing glorious stained-glass hues. The colours seem brighter and more glowing than previous years. They are so welcome after such a disappointing summer.

Labels have been scratched up by the hens and misplaced, but I think this is Dahlia Karma Choc, a decorative type with velvety dark red flowers. It got left behind in the garden last autumn, while most of the dahlias were dug up and stored in the potting shed. To be honest, it has done just as well as the others, so I’m going to risk it this winter, and leave them all out. I’ll cover them with a foot of dried beech leaves, a plastic cloche and recycled compost bags. They should stay fairly dry and be protected from frost. And if they don’t survive, I’ll have a rethink in the cut flower garden next summer. I might try something less trouble that doesn’t get nibbled by slugs, need staking and then can’t cope with a drought.

Karma Choc with grey foliage of Senecio viravira, known as Dusty Miller. I’ve taken lots of cuttings of the senecio as it’s not totally hardy. I’d be lost without it as it provides foliage for my jam jar arrangements all year round.

Dahlia David Howard has also decided to flower. These apricot orange blooms are much smaller than usual. Foliage is dark, bronze almost black. Plants were originally bred by nurseryman David Howard who spotted a promising seedling in 1960. It went on to win an RHS AGM, Award of Garden Merit. David founded Howard Nurseries in Wortham, near Diss and had a passion for dahlias and chrysanthemums. By the age of 16, he was supplying plants to Covent Garden while selecting and breeding his own varieties. The nursery thrived with David and a business partner buying first four, then 12 then 24 acres to expand. They gained such a renowned reputation that they supplied plants to the Chelsea Flower Show, and also to the Queen Mother and Prince Charles. David died aged 81 in 2019, and his daughter Christine now runs the nurseries.

This beautiful white dahlia flower reminds me of swan feathers. Sadly, I don’t know the name as this was given to me by a friend, but I’ll take cuttings next spring and increase my numbers because it’s such a lovely cut flower. The heads usually get quite heavy and dangle down, but Georgie Newbery of Common Farm Flowers showed me how to twist the stem around and turn the dahlia flowers into the centre of the bouquet which seems to work. The red stems you can see in the first photo are dogwood, Cornus Westonbirt, which also help support heavy flower heads.

Tucked in amongst the dahlias are a few teeny sunflowers. They never grew more than a few inches across! However, their bright yellow flowers are very welcome now, even in miniature.

This sunflower grown from a mixed packet of seed from Mr Fothergill’s has burnt orange flowers and a chocolate centre. Bees love them, and the seed heads are good for birds.

A beautiful double yellow sunflower with my favourite dark brown centre.

Cosmos also eventually decided to flower. I think this is Candy Stripe from Mr Fothergill’s. Another good flower for bees. And with daytime temperatures still at 18C we still have bumblebees and solitary bees out and about.

Argyranthemums braved the heatwave in summer and produced a few blooms, but now the plants have decided to go for it and plants are smothered in large white daisies. These last for two weeks in a vase, so I’m very grateful to see them in flower.

Cerise red dahlias, possibly Arabian Night, with red salvias which are also having their moment now.

And tucked in the middle is this fimbriated cactus dahlia, possibly Apache, which came from Gee-Tee Bulbs. Foliage is always important to me and in my bouquet today I have one stem each of mint, rosemary and lemon-scented santolina.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these bright jewel-like colours. I must admit, I usually prefer pastel shades. But after the summer we’ve had, any colour is certainly welcome. These flowers are for my Mum, who I haven’t seen for six weeks due to illness, so a joyful reunion, and I am pleased to have something lovely and cheerful to take from my garden.

Is your garden behaving strangely like mine, and deciding it’s summer all over again? Let me know if it’s just me, or if your flowers are blooming again. Have a great gardening week. Karen

Links: Join Cathy In a Vase on Monday:

27 thoughts on “Flowers from the garden 31st October 2022

    • Thank you. Yes, the foliage is a good feature of the plant. So pleased his daughter is able to take over the running of the family nursery. Keeping up tradition. Thanks for reading. Have a great gardening week. Karen


  1. Hi Karen. What a great vaseful of colour! It seems so many people have had dahlias blooming late this year. Love the way you used the cornus stems. My vase this week shows how my garden is also acting strangely and there are some very late (eg cosmos) and some very early flowers (hellebores!) out. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’ll just take a look now… thanks. Isn’t it weird this year. Never known so many plants to be in bloom at the start of November. The temperature dropped today, so I expect that will finish them off, but what an end to the season! Thanks for your kind words and for reading the blog. Have a great week. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful collection of flowers you collected! I’m sure your mother was pleased with the cheerful arrangement. I’m glad the dahlias came through for you after that long wait. Mine were slow to deliver this year as well – and a few failed to do so at all. Although my climate doesn’t require me to dig up the tubers, I use the raised planters in my cutting garden for a cool season “crop” of flowers so I dig and store the tubers anyway so as not to cause them to rot while I attend my emerging cool season blooms. In coastal Southern California, autumn is considered our second spring. (We don’t get frost here, much less snow.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kris. Mum was delighted. I was so pleased to see her.
      How wonderful to have a ‘second spring,’ I wonder if that’s what’s going to happen to us eventually. Certainly the climate is changing. Temperatures exceed the average for every month of this year so far. It must be nice not to have any frost or snow to worry about. I always worry as we are a mile from the village down a country lane and if it snows it can be difficult to get out. Thanks for reading the blog. Have a great gardening week. 💚


  3. Thanks for all the background information on David Howard – really interesting. Here, my dahlias began well, but then stalled till the drought t was over and are gloriously showy now. Last year they were cut down by frost on November 5th… 🤞 As you say, the senecio foliage looks most effective amongst the blooms. What a lovely bright and cheerful bouquet this was for your Mum – and how nice to be watching GW together. The Golfer is often in the room when I watch it here but rarely looks up!

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    • I like to find out a bit of background about my plants, and it’s lovely to know who bred them, where and when. I’m glad his daughter Christine has continued his tradition and taken over the nursery. Yes, we had frosts early in November as well. Usually by the 5th I’m starting to feel cold and the heating goes on. We haven’t had to switch it on yet so far. Which is just as well as we are oil-fired, being out in the sticks and there’s no gas supply. Mum loved the flowers and said they were better than the Flying Flowers I sent last week as I couldn’t get to see her. Yes, I think watching gardening programmes together adds to the fun, and we always chuckle over the number of plants Monty has in his wheelbarrow, and this week, the size and number of his terracotta pots.


    • Thank you Noelle. That’s very kind of you. I was very pleased with the dahlias suddenly coming into flower. They hardly had any leaves in the summer and I thought they were half dead. Just shows you should never give up on anything in the garden, as it might surprise you and shine at the last minute. Thanks for reading. Have a great week.


  4. You must be delighted to see that your dahlias are finally paying the rent Karen. You have some excellent varieties in your vase. It has been so wet here recently that I pulled out all bar one of my cosmos flowers this afternoon to go into tomorrow’s green bin collection. They have been most floriferous this year. No exactly cracking the flags here but warm enough for us to sit outside for an afternoon cuppa today 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad it’s still nice temperatures where you are. It’s 15C here, so I’ve been up and down the lane with a pram and my little grandson and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the cows, birds, and all the trees turning colour. Luckily he’s only a year old so is still interested in everything I show him! I’m glad your cosmos have done well for you. Mine sort of just sat there and waited until it rained, and then started flowering like mad. I hope next summer is back to normal, as this year has been one of extremes in everything. Have a great week. Karen x


    • Thank you for reading the blog. I’ve got to watch that programme with my Mum. She records them and them we sit and watch them together. Much more fun to ooh and ahh with someone. Thanks for your kind comments, yes, the tips on greenery, and turning the dahlia inwards came from Georgie Newbery, and very useful it has been. I add one flower and then give the bunch a quarter turn and add some foliage and then another quarter turn. By the time I’ve finished, the bouquet should be able to stand up on its own. All the best, have a great week. Karen x


  5. A striking bouquet, Karen! I’m glad that your garden revived and is producing a bonus flush. Sadly, multiple frosts ended my show in early Oct. Even the calendulas, which I count on for a last few, post-frost bouquets, are now succumbing.


    • Thank you. Yes, she was really pleased to see the flowers. They look really cheerful on her windowsill. Lovely to take something from my garden to her house. She’s not able to come to visit so often now, so it gives her a flavour of what I’m growing. Thanks for reading the blog and for your kind message. Have a great day. All the best, karen


    • Every autumn I have the ‘will I won’t i’ dilemma. Maybe I’ll have a last -minute panic and bring some under cover. Will have to wait and see if my nerve holds out! I’ve actually got lots of cuttings that never got planted out as the drought and heatwave arrived. I kept them in little pots under some shade material. They are going in the greenhouse for the winter and will be my genetic insurance policy for dahlias. Have a great gardening week Suella. Karen x


  6. What gorgeous colours, Karen! I always really enjoy your arrangements and reading the descriptions, anecdotes and memories accompanying your photos! It’s definitely been a very strange flowering year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mary. It really has been a year like no other. I hope we don’t have any frosts for a good while yet, as I’m quite enjoying turning the clock back to summer! 😃 xx


  7. Lovely display! Is that Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’? I’ve got one in the border and it’s been flowering non-stop since June, unaffected by the drought, and it’s even produced lots of seedlings in my dusty, sandy soil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, that’s wonderful. I wonder if I have any seedlings. I’m going to run out and check. Yes, I think it is that variety, although sadly the hens have caused havoc with the labels and everything has been scratched up as they like to have dust baths at the base of plants. I do love them though as they make such encouraging little noises and are good company in the garden. Good luck with your seedlings! Thanks for reading and getting in touch. Have a great gardening week, karen.


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