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When Life Doesn't Go to Plan, and Catching Up With Life Again

Hello friends,

It's now deep autumn, and I last blogged in early April. Our Japanese maple tree is almost devoid of red leaves now.

I had hoped not to miss any blogging, but things got complicated in early April after I had sinus surgery in the middle of March. I had organized a bunch of blog posts to tide me over until I felt well enough to blog again, but I grossly underestimated how much time I would need.

I got a sinus infection after surgery, and after two rounds of antibiotics, I was feeling even more unwell than when I first got the surgery. The sinus infection gave me massive nosebleeds which required two trips in an ambulance to the ED. The first time, they sent me home, the Wednesday before Easter, and the second time the day after, they admitted me into hospital over Easter weekend. I was given IV antibiotics and fluids, and was on observation while they waited for culture lab tests to come through, and because it was Easter weekend, it took a while for them to come back. On Easter Sunday, the tests arrived and the infection I had been fighting for three weeks was resistant to the antibiotics I was taking. After starting new antibiotics, and being given time for them to start working, I was finally sent home.

I'm recovering slowly. The infection is gone thanks to the antibiotics, and I'm finally weaned off one of the medications given to me in hospital which has made me very tired over the last four weeks. While I was recovering from hospital, hubby and I traveled to the Mackenzie Country to have a break, and to also celebrate a big wedding anniversary, but that is a whole other story I wish to share with you.

I'm slowly catching back up with life. The garden is a complete mess, everywhere you look are weeds and plants needing attention. I'm working on getting things back under control, but it'll happen slowly over the coming month as I have the energy to do so. I'm also very behind with work at my small little online shop Hearth and Oak. But I did get heaps of crafting done while I was recuperating, I'll also share those too over the coming weeks.

I've also been working on a couple of exciting projects I hope to share with you soon, the first one being that this blog will hopefully very soon be getting it's own home, hubby depending (he's my IT specialist). The domain has been bought, and the website has designed by me. Very soon, I will transfer all my blog posts from this year to the website, and begin blogging in my very own space.

The coming week is busy with catching up on work, getting my new blog working, and finally getting my Covid 19 booster. I had the bivalent booster booked after my sinus surgery, but I had to cancel the appointment twice while I had the sinus infection. I'm finally looking forward to being more protected from Covid 19, after waiting 15 months since my last booster.

But in the mean time, things are looking interesting mid-week, with a cold southerly storm coming through, I know it's too early in the year to get snow, but I'm always hopeful...

Have a wonderful day


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Gardening - My Anemone and Collarette Dahlias

Hello friends,

Today I thought I'd share with you all the anemone and collarette dahlias dotted around my garden. Now that we're in autumn it's only a matter of time before the first frost of the season hits them, and the flowers and plants die down for the winter season.

My first introduction to dahlias was by my Aunt, who was a big dahlia collector when I was growing up. I remember many happy weekend afternoons following both, her and my grandfather around their back garden as they worked, and admiring my aunt's many dahlias. I thought they were big and beautiful, and wished for some of my own one day.

I started collecting dahlias myself when we were living in Wellington. I came upon a bedraggled dahlia tuber sitting in a bag at a garden store, and took it home in order to rescue it, and gave it a new home. That dahlia was Dahlia Lucky Number.

Dahlia Lucky Number is a big dahlia, measuring over 1.5 m tall and is a prolific flowerer, with hot pink flowers the size of a dinner plate. Because it is a collarette dahlia, with the heart of the flower exposed, it is very popular with both bees and butterflies. In truth, it is one of my favorite dahlias.

It wasn't long before I picked up another dahlia, this time the Keith Hammett bred (he's a New Zealand breeder) Dahlia Mystic Sparkler. Mystic Sparkler is another collarette dahlia, and has beautiful dark foliage which shows off the hot pink and yellow flowers. This dahlia is also attractive to birds and bees as well. This dahlia is compact, and grows well in pots and planters.

When we moved back to Dunedin in October 2019, my dahlias had already arrived ahead of me. The winter of 2019, I had dug up all my dahlias, trimmed them, and couriered them down to my sister in Dunedin, where she put them into her garden for the upcoming summer season. Once we had found a home down there, and after the summer season (and the first Covid 19 lock down), we dug all my dahlia tubers up, and I took them home to plant in the ground.

But meanwhile, in October 2019 after we had moved into our home, I couldn't resist picking up another Keith Hammett dahlia from the garden store, and planting it in my front garden. Dahlia Mystic Enchantment is a dahlia related to Mystic Sparkler. Mystic Enchantment has the same characteristics of Dahlia Mystic Sparkler, except it has florescent orange flowers, and is an anemone dahlia. Bees are also attracted to its flowers, and the plant is a very prolific flowerer.

More recently I've picked up another Keith Hammett Dahlia, this time the collarette dahlia, Protegee. It has the same dark foliage as Mystic Sparkler and Mystic Enchantment, but it's flowers are bright pink in the middle, surrounded by a lighter pink.

And another Keith Hammett Collarette dahlia I've also acquired recently is Dahlia Home Run. It has pretty, bright pink flowers, and adds nicely to my ever growing collection of Keith Hammett dahlias.

And as if I couldn't get enough of Keith Hammett's dahlias, he has a website where you can buy seed packets containing dahlias seeds from his breeding experiments. Each seed will give rise to a dahlia that has never been seen before. You will never know what you will get. I've bought seeds from his Beeline, Beeline II, and Sunflower collections, and sprinkled them around my garden. The photos below show the variation I've gotten so far from my seed sowing.

I have many more Keith Hammett dahlia seeds stored away, so who knows what colours I will get in the years to come as I sow more seed. But these aren't my only dahlias, I also have a number of stunning dinner plate and decorative dahlias also, and I will show you those as well in the coming weeks.

If you are new to dahlias, and are unsure how to look after some of you own, I really recommend the book, Discovering Dahlias, by Erin Benzakein. It contains detailed information on looking after dahlias, and has many great photographic examples on how to do things like dividing dahlias etc.

Autumn, is certainly settling in down here in the deep south, the nights are getting longer and cooler, and trees are starting to change colour. As I am having sinus surgery late next week, the next week in the garden will be very busy for me, getting jobs done before I will be recovering for the next three weeks after that. I have spring bulb orders arriving soon, and I would like to get them in the ground as soon as possible, otherwise hubby will have to do them for me, which should be fun...

Have a wonderful day,


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

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