Dahlia Diaries – the third

This springtime of extremes has swung again and it is chilly this evening. I’m on my allotment out on the fen, shivering.

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But it feels as if I am winning the battle – the weeds, the grass and the nettles are being cleared away and I am planting in their wake. I’ve got all my broad beans and sweetcorn in, a whole bed of kohlrabi (which I am enormously excited about), I’m eating asparagus and rhubarb (not at the same time), and the beds have been prepared for whatever I can find in my seed tin. I also need to replant my peas, which have been decimated by some pesky furry or feathery vermin. Probably furry, because the peas were netted – my hungry visitor must have crawled under.

It is the feathery variety that are keeping me company this evening – the wrens are being especially vocal. They seem to have spurned my shed this year, but they must be somewhere close. I’m looking forward to the little ones leaving the nest – there is nothing quite so comical as a family of wrens learning to fly. No goldfinches this evening, and I still haven’t heard the cuckoo down here this year, but the robins and blackbirds are singing noisily – their song fills the evening air.

And the dahlias? Well, the tubers I planted in early April are all up, as are the ones I planted from seed back at the house. I’ll plant them out on the allotment this weekend. As for last year’s, I thought I had lost them. Lazily, I had left them in the ground, trusting that they would survive the winter, but it was a far harsher winter than we have been used to in recent years. I wasn’t hopeful. Then, on Saturday, I spotted a shoot – tonight three more. They live!

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