Oslo Garden

A blog about gardening in Oslo, Norway


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More fool me

When I came to replant my dahlia tubers it became apparent that, unfortunately, they hadn’t survived the winter. They looked fine from the outside but were hollow and dry to the touch. I had, sort of, forgotten about them, stored in a shed, wrapped only in some newspapers. Unsurprisingly they hadn’t endured the freezing temperatures. They’re made for the southern hemisphere, not for the arctic!

So lesson learned…the hard way. Next time I’ll be more careful. I’ll overwinter them by finding somewhere to store them that is cool, dry, dark and, crucially, frost free. 20150827_154731I’m tempted not to buy some new tubers now but instead see what the end of season sales throw up. In the meantime, I’ll continue my quest to grow lots of annual flowers this year such as Zinnia, Cosmos and Antirrhinum, Hopefully that will create a riot of colour and help me forget my little faux pas.

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Wordless Wednesday

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Dahlia ‘Tahoma Moonshot’ in the rain today.


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August’s new discoveries

Oslo enjoyed a bit of an Indian summer in August after an unusually cool and wet one, and it was nice to be greeted to warm weather returning to the city after a trip away. Unfortunately the weather took its toll on some of my garden plants which were looking a bit weary and water deprived. 20150818_122222As I performed emergency watering and general maintenance procedures, I made a few discoveries…

Slugs love peas! My pea plants had been absolutely ravaged and pretty much decimated. I found two of the critters lurking in the pots and was amazed to see how small they were. How much damage even modest sized slugs can make to a crop is incredible!! I had become a bit complacent about my vegetables but I will have to think up more cunning ways to stop the slugs from traversing my pots next year…20150818_121826Sometimes carrots go straight to flower. I hadn’t even ever seen a carrot flower before. And despite it being a rather lovely flower, it unfortunately meant there wasn’t a substantial carrot at the other end of it.

The purple carrot wins the prize for most delicious taste but funniest shape! I pulled up three lovely carrots that more than made up for losing one and coincidentally there was one from each of the three varieties I’d sown: Purple Haze, Atomic Red and Milan. Purple Haze’s incredible colouration, along with its incredible flavour, made it the coolest of the three.

A flying saucer has landed. The summer squash Patty Pan ‘Sunbeam’ with its fluted edges was a lovely surprise hiding beneath the big squash leaves. It had fared much better than the Golden squash courgettes, which unfortunately were shrivelled to only finger size possibly due to lack of water.

Chard and kale are machines. Well not literally, but they are stalwarts and grow fantastically well. The rainbow chard in particular looks good with its vibrant yellow stems.

Climbing beans need more protection. Even in a relatively sheltered position facing south-west the climbing bean plants didn’t produce a large harvest so back to the drawing board for next year. In the meantime, I picked the mature pods and ditched the tired looking plants from one pot and will wait to see what the other batch will produce.

The lilac blue Geranium is still flowering profusely alongside the bright yellow Coreopsis and new colours are coming through from the Dahlias. How lovely it is to see them emerge. But do Dahlias grow into monster plants or what?!  They are enormous! I hadn’t factored on how big they would become. They rather take over the space and as it turns out they also need a lot of support. Had I staked them properly there wouldn’t be so many wayward stems splaying out in all directions. It will make any attempts of flower arranging very interesting indeed…

Finally, some of the annual flowers I sowed late are beginning to take shape and blossom. The lovely velvety deep red petals of the Antirrhinum majus (Løvemunn) are beginning to shine. The Cosmos has produced nice bushy foliage and I’m just waiting to see what colour their flowers will turn out to be….


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Dahlias- the Flower of the Valley

It is widely believed that Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist, had the Dahlia named after him.  Dahlias originate from the uplands and mountains of Mexico and South America. There are many varieties but what they all have in common is their exuberant colour. There are wonderful examples from Gunvor’s allotment garden at Egebergløkka.

Rather than seeds, they are tubers that need to be planted almost completely submerged in soil. This is their high growth period and they’ll want to grow rapidly now. Here are mine, just over a week old with their first shoots already pushing up!

As you can see the pots are overfilled right to the brim. I had to top them up with more soil after I noticed roots growing laterally a few days ago and wanted to protect them being exposed to the sunlight.

Top tips for growing Dahlias:

  • They come as a bunch of tubers all connected by a central stem. Hold them by the stem and plant them so that the bunch is dangling down. Don’t try and squeeze them into a small pot, plant them in a big pot, ideally one that is least a 3 litres (18cm) big.
  • Plant them so you only just see the top of the stem poking above the soil.
  • Water them liberally and put them in a warm and sunny position. Don’t let them dry out.

And that’s it! Wait for the shoots to appear and hopefully you’ll have wonderful flowers come this summer!

Note: You may find Dahlias called Georgine or Georginedilla- these names seem to be used interchangeably with Dahlia in Norway.