I make an early start today for what I know will be a long, hard day. I have decided that the Dahlias cannot be put off any longer - they look happy and healthy in the cold frames, but appearances can be deceptive. The plants are rather packed together and could be becoming leggy and they might be healthy because they are rooting into the membrane under the pots. I have to start by removing them from the cold frames and sorting them out into varieties and colours to decide what will be planted where, and there are about 200 of them!... and yes some have rooted into the membrane!
I haven't really worked out colour schemes, and I have quite a few new varieties to include that I have acquired this year - sorting them out is complicated and I have to write a list to help me work everything out. Inevitably there are quite a few that I don't have labelled with correct colour or variety. There are 15 of these, so I decide to put them back in the cold frame to plant out later into the field border. Two new varieties - Honey and Tahiti Sunrise I decide will look good at the back of the house in the cottage garden, so I put them back in the cold frames with a few little specimens that would get lost in the main beds. I decide two of the main beds will feature the Thomas Eddisons (magenta/purple) and Kelvin floodlights (pale yellow) and they will be surrounded by orange and yellow dahlias. The other two beds will feature the bright red and dark foliage of Bishop Llandoff and my new big bloomed Café au Lait (creamy peach) and be surrounded by pink and white dahlias. The remaining 4 small beds will have two featuring Arabian Knights and Dark Spirit (both very dark red) surrounded by yellow and the final two will be my showy pink and white cactus dahlias surrounded by pale pink and white dahlias.
Even reaching this stage takes ages, and I start moving all the dahlias to the 4 big beds that I intend to plant first - more than 100 dahlias. Planting this lot is a long job, I do not finish until 10:00pm and I become ridiculously muddy, because I water each plant with the hose and I'm wearing shorts! Patrick spends all day working on the pumpkin patch fence, but I can tell he is not very happy being on his own, with nobody to help him.