Top Tips From Gardener Charlie McCormick

Are you getting your GARDEN ready for SUMMER? Before you begin make sure to note Gardener CHARLIE MCCORMICK‘s advice …

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Charlie McCormick’s garden at the Old Parsonage in Dorset will be familiar to gardenistas who follow both him and his partner, interior designer Ben Pentreath on Instagram. Inciting envy, it’s the 300ft dahlia border that comprises some 1,000 plants that McCormick most often posts in glorious close-up (above) and on misty summer mornings (together with Mavis their Labrador). The vivid coloured and versatile plants flower from July to early November; and are best planted in May. They first sparked McCormick’s interest when he came across them at the Mayfield Agricultural & Pastoral Show in New Zealand’s South Island, where he grew up. “Planted in rows, in pots or in a border they are nothing short of fabulous. I cut them two or three times a week for the house and to take to London for my flower-arranging business, and I grow them for other florists too.”

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Charlie’s gardening tips:

1. A sunny spot: Dahlias love the sun and grow in most types of soil with good drainage, or in a pot on a windowsill.

2. Plant now: Plant in May when the risk of frost has passed. Keep moist but not too wet.

3. Space well: Plant one foot apart but closer together if you want a good show. If growing en masse, stake with wooden or metal posts and string.

4. Pest control: Fresh growth will attract snails, slugs and earwigs so use bait or an organic control method.

5. Before flowering: I always feed with liquid seaweed for extra energy. Don’t be afraid to cut as it will encourage more growth.

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This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this don’t miss our next issue, out Thursday June 1.

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