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We Had A Late Frost

Hello friends,

The very worst thing that could possibly happen in the vege garden at this time of the year, happened on Friday the 10th of November when we had a super late frost. The day before had been blue skies and sunny, with a cool breeze. Our local weather forecast mentioned nothing about a frost occurring, so I stupidly trusted their judgement.

We woke up on Friday morning, and it was cold. I quickly checked our weather station, and the temperature in our backyard had dropped to -1.1˚C at around 6 am in the morning. I quickly donned my ugg boots and dressing gown, and raced outside.

So much damage had been done. The ground was white and crunchy with frost, and so was the vegetables in my vege garden.

I was so upset. Thank goodness that everything in my glasshouse was well protected, and most of my dahlias were unharmed thanks to me being way behind in weeding those areas of the back garden.

My pumpkins were dead.

And so were my beans.

My potatoes were damaged, but they will bounce back over time.

My corn plants were frost burnt, but are putting on new growth already.

After allowing myself to be grumpy for half a day, I pulled out the now dead pumpkin plants and resowed seeds directly into the ground. I'm about to do the same with the bean seeds. I'm not overly hopeful, but it's better than just giving up I guess.

Have a wonderful day.


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New Plants - A Tea Bush and More Dahlias

Hello friends,

Yes, I've been buying more plants, and I know I don't have anyone to blame but myself.

I've been looking to buy a Camellia sinensis bush, aka the plant Tea comes from, ever since we moved back to Dunedin. I've always wanted to grow, process, and then drink my own tea. Except I've never found the plant for sale at all in my many trips to local garden centers over the past four years. It finally came to the point that I started looking online, and luckily I found that The Plant Store did indeed stock them. So I handed over the expensive shipping fee, and within a week my new tea plant arrived. It's not very big at the moment, but it's now happily sitting in the area of the garden where my fruit trees live. I'm hoping in the coming years that I can indeed enjoy a cup of my own tea.

I also have recently bought two more dahlia plants...and they arrived by courier this week. Yes, I have no where to grow them at the moment, but I will squeeze them in somewhere I'm sure. I totally blame the email from Bulbs Direct which arrived in my inbox last week. They had just restocked their most popular dahlia bulbs, and I managed to get two of the dahlias that I missed out on earlier this year.

The first one is dinner plate dahlia Arthur Hambley:

And the second one is dinner plate dahlia Cafe De Paris, a sport of Cafe Au Lait:

I also wanted the dahlia bulb Cafe Au Lait Royal to add to my collection of Cafe Au Lait dahlias, but it had sold out in the minute between the email arriving, and me getting onto the website. Maybe next year I'll get one...

Have you been plant shopping recently? I'd love to know what plant goodies you've picked up.

Have a wonderful day


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Planting my new GardenPost Dahlias

Hello friends,

My dahlia pre-order finally arrived from GardenPost a couple of weeks ago. I ordered three dahlia varieties from them back at the beginning of June, and I had been impatiently waiting for them to arrive since then.


Lavender Perfection:


After taking them out of their courier box, the instructions on the bags said to plant them straight away.

I dug all their planting holes in various parts of the garden according to my dahlia planting plan I had scribbled on a post it note months ago, and then opened up all of the bags.

All the dahlias came with healthy looking growing shoots at the tip, and there were a number of healthy tubers inside, with no sign of rot or disease. The only thing left to do was to plant them in the ground. The instructions on the bag said to plant them 5 - 10 cm below ground level, so after checking that would be the case for each dahlia planting hole, I carefully covered the dahlias over, taking care to not damage the shoots, and then I labelled each of their positions.

I still have another dahlia pre-order waiting to arrive from Bulbs Direct, but they haven't sent out their pre-orders yet.

I am looking forward to them sprouting, growing, and then flowering over the coming months.

Have a wonderful day


Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon.

Spring Seed Sowing Week 4 2023

Hello friends,

We're up to week 4 of spring seed sowing, and I feel like I'm running behind. The past week has been busy painting and prepping areas of the garden for the coming growing season, but the pressure is also on to continue seed sowing as well.

Vegetable plants sowed this week:

  • Beetroot Cylindra
  • Cucumber Crunchy F1
  • Cucumber Lebanese Medici F1
  • Carrot Amsterdam Sprint
  • Radish Easter Egg
  • Sugar Beet

I also invested in some chicken wire cloches to prevent the sparrows from taking all my precious seed, they watched me hungrily the other day as I direct sowed the first of the root crops.

Herb plants sowed this week:

  • Lemon Balm
  • Orange Balm
  • Olive Herb
  • Basil Gustosa
  • Basil Sweet Genovese

I'm particularly excited about growing the Olive Herb plants, as we definitely don't have the space to grow our own olive trees. A summary from the Kings Seeds website about the plant:

"Woody low growing border plant with green leaves that have an intense olive aroma. Said to add the flavouring of olives to marinades, pasta, a variety of meat and tomato dishes or wherever olives might be used. Combines well with thyme, rosemary, basil and tarragon flavours. The attractive yellow pompom flowers are also edible. Low maintenance plants are fairly hardy, preferring humus rich, well drained soil but will tolerate other conditions and soil types too."

Flower plants sowed this week:

  • Dahlia Beeline II Keith Hammett
  • Dahlia Keith Hammett NZ Gardener 2023 Seed Swap
  • Dahlia Sunflower Keith Hammett
  • Lavender Hidcote

I sent in a self addressed envelope to NZ Gardener in order to get some Keith Hammett dahlia seeds for this year's dahlia grow along, it's always great to see what sort of dahlias pop up, they're dahlia seeds collected from his breeding program. Each seed will be unique, and not ever seen before.

I hope your seed sowing is going well, this week is spring!

Have a wonderful day


Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon.

My Decorative and Dinner Plate Dahlias

Hello Friends,

Today I wanted to share with you the rest of my beloved dahlias. As you already know from a previous blog post, I have an obsession with anemone and collarette dahlias—but I also totally adore the big boys of the dahlia world, the decorative and dinner plate dahlias too. These dahlias are the ones you'll pay big money for, and you will also have to compete with thousands of other dahlia lovers in New Zealand to buy tubers before stocks run out.

Cafe Au Lait is the most popular of all dahlias, for both home and commercial growers alike. They are the dahlia that everyone wants in their wedding bouquets. They are probably the most expensive dahlia tuber to buy, and also the hardest one to come across. It took me three years before I could buy a Cafe Au Lait tuber, and the year I finally got it, I actually ended up with two after ordering from two different suppliers.

The big players in the dahlia tuber world are Bulbs Direct, NZ Bulbs, and also Garden Post. They are online suppliers for all the plant bulbs and tubers you could ever want, and their orders are pre-orders for the up coming season. In mid to late winter if you are signed up for their newsletters, an email will arrive telling you that dahlia tubers are available for pre-order. If you're after a Cafe Au Lait Dahlia, don't hesitate, just go immediately to the website and order straight away. Popular dahlias can sell out within minutes of the email arriving in your inbox. For the first three years of trying, this is how I missed out in getting a Cafe Au Lait dahlia of my very own.

Their flowers are as big as your hand, and the flowers can vary from a delicate cream, all the way to an almost purpleish hue. I've been growing them now for a number of years, and I've discovered they aren't the easiest dahlias to grow. They aren't the strongest growers, and they require more water than other dahlias.

The next dinner plate dahlia I own is Cafe Au Lait Twist. It was released in New Zealand in 2022, and I was lucky to get one in the first season. Cafe Au Lait Twist is a sport of Cafe Au Lait, but it has curvy petals, with beautiful pink splashes through the Cafe Au Lait coffee colour. Cafe Au Lait Twist is overall a very pretty dahlia, and I actually prefer it to Cafe Au Lait.

The third dahlia in the Cafe Au Lait family that I own, is Cafe Au Lait Rosė. This dahlia was also released for the first time in New Zealand in 2022. The flowers are absolutely beautiful, a bright, but also a delicate, rose pink. The shade is darker as the flower opens, but turns into a lighter ombrė shade as the flower gets older. In all truth, Cafe Au Lait Rosė is my new favorite dahlia. I love to go out in the garden and just look at it. The plant is strong and sturdy, and definitely worth buying.

The next dinner plate dahlia I own is Dahlia Penhil Watermelon. The curved petal flowers are absolutely huge, and much bigger than your hand. The flower is a mix of peach, lavender and the tiniest hint of yellow. Because of the very large size of the flowers, the flower stalks I've found aren't strong enough to hold the flower heads upright. Dahlia Penhil Watermelon, is still a very pretty plant though.

My next dinner plate dahlia I own is Penhil Dark Monarch. Another huge dahlia, it's thin, but gently curved petals are a beautiful smoky plum colour with hints of yellow. It's another one of my favorite dahlias.

My next dahlia is a cactus dahlia called Orfeo. Although the berry red colour is quite stunning, the plant itself isn't strong enough to hold up its own flowers. It has to be staked upright, or else it falls on the ground.

And my last big dahlia in my garden is Dahlia Pink Magic. I also bought this dahlia in 2022. I love the delicate pink stripes on the cream base colour. It's probably one of my most demure dahlias in terms of colouring. Because it was a long hot summer in the garden because of drought like La Nina conditions, I didn't get many flowers, but hopefully I'll get more next year.

So that's all the big dahlias that I currently have in my garden. I don't have the space to add anymore dahlias into my garden, but you never know, if another beautiful and perfect dahlia comes along, I may have to squeeze it into one of my garden beds.

Have a wonderful day,


Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon.

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