The secret of a lush garden are the vigorous and colourful plants, and that is where our Summer Bulbs come in.
If you never tried to grow dahlias, you definitely should. Lots of our customers already know that a well pruned dahlia gives you numerous of beautiful flowers from August until the first frost. This season we have a large assortment of 174 varieties, each with a unique colour and flower shape. Most of them are excellent for cutting and you can easily fill a vase every week.
Planting and pruning dahlias
When dahlias are well cared for, they will reward you with the most outstanding flower show of the season.
What a dahlia needs is much water, as much sun as possible and good pruning. The basics are water and sun. The more they get the faster they grow. Well, don't exaggerate, they should not be soaked. Use well drained soil and water regularly, especially on hot days.
Let's start with planting a dahlia tuber. When you recieve the tuber, you can see that the old stem is still on the tuber. Dig a hole and place the dahlia just below the surface. The old stem should be below the soil. Make sure the soil is moist and stays moist.
Dahlias are frost sensitive and should be planted in half May. If you plant them earlier or if there is a late night frost, you will need to protect the tuber from frost.
Once the tuber has settled it will start to grow a main stem. Some people just let that main stem grow and wait until it will flower. These people just don't know our secret. For a vigurous and bushy dahlia maintain the following technique: When the main stem reaches 30 cm prune it back to 5 cm. It doesn't feel good, but you'll change your mind later. Once the main stem is pruned back, the dahlia tuber will start to make four or five new stems, which will all grow to the normal height and will all carry numerous flowers.
With this technique you'll have five times more flowers than growing only a single stem.
Watch out for snails. They love young dahlias and eat them to the ground.
During the season you will notice that a branch will usually carry three buds. A main bud and two side buds. Now you have two choices: You can prune the main bud. This way you leave energy for the side buds to develop and you will grow a higher number of flowers. The other choice is to cut the side buds. Now the energy will be reserved for the biggest bud. The main bud will develop into a large flower. You will have fewer flowers, but they will be bigger.
Dahlias are great for cutting and with the above technique you will have lots and lots of flowers. If you leave the flowers on the plant, don't forget to remove the spent flowers. The plant will start to make new buds sooner when the old ones are removed.
Good luck and feel free to ask for advice.
Jacco van Brecht
Crocus sativus - Saffron crocus
Not new, even centuries old, is the Crocus sativus, or the saffron crocus. This autumn flowering crocus produces three yellow stamens and three red pistels or stigmas. These red stigmas are in dried form called "red gold", or saffron.
The most expensive spice in the world has been cultivated since ancient times and does not grow in the wild.
Saffron is widely used as a colorant in Mediterranean cuisine. Think of the yellow rice in the Spanish paella. Oddly enough, the red saffron gives off a yellow colour.
The taste of saffron is very mystical, but you can distinguish the smell honey very well.
Saffron is often used in sauces for fish dishes or in desserts.
Saffron is expensive because the harvest is very labor intensive. The red pistils are harvested by hand, and then dried. The weight loss is huge, to 80%. For one gram of saffron you will need up to one hundred flowers. Fortunately, the amount of saffron that is needed in the kitchen is so little that you will have enough with the harvest of twenty flowers to make a sauce.
The Crocus sativus is grown mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, because there the conditions are perfect. The bulb desires dry (well drained) soil and high temperatures. In the Northern European climate it is the best to plant the bulbs in a pot and put them in a sheltered spot in full sun.
Between the grasslike leaves the beautiful purple flowers will appear soon. Now you can harvest your own saffron.
Dry the pistils well and keep them airtight and dark at room temperature.
Search the Internet for recipes with saffron.
Our saffron crocus is in stock from August. We advise our customers to plant the bulbs as soon as possible. If you order the Crocus sativus, select in the Address menu "delivery at the right planting time".
Lily Flowering Tulips
Single Early Tulips
Single Late Tulips