The Virgin Gardener Podcast podcast

Episode 6: Naomi Slade

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Naomi's Twitter. Naomi's Website

Naomi Slade is a freelance journalist with a degree in science and a background in publishing, events and managing rock bands. In this podcast she shares her love of and fascination for the subject of her latest book, Dahlias: Beautiful Varieties for Home and Garden.

Things we talk about in this episode:

Naomi’s background

Her Snowdrop book: Plant lovers guide to snowdrops (Timber Press)

Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery

Naomi’s snowdrop Galanthus 'Naomi Slade'

Her Orchard book: An Orchard Odyssey (Green Books)

Definition of an orchard: 5 Trees with crown edges not more than 20 metres apart

Perennial fruit and food

Dahlia as fashion victim

Divisive dahlias

Rich man’s plants

1851 Exhibition

Christopher Lloyd

Are they worth the effort?

Dahlia genetics

Humans are diploid - 2 sets of chromosomes

dahlias are octoploid - 8 sets of chromosomes

Loads of transposons which spontaneously change what they look like

quick mutations = thousands of cultivars

Yellow and orange dahlias often have irridescence

Dahlia History

Aztec rituals

Cactus dahlias

Dahlia requirements

How to start them off

Slugs and frost

Slugs hide underneath the tuber and come out at night

Pinching out

Planting out



Deadheading has all 60k varieties - the perfect place to geek out

National collection in Penzance


Nobody likes a soggy bottom

Favourite dahlias

Restrained dahlias: ponpons and small balls


Varieties and cultivars we talk about in this episode:

D. Hamari Gold

D. Peresii

D. David Howard

D. Arabian Knight

D. Gentle star

D. Thomas Eddison

D. Hootenanny

D. Eveline

The gallery series - compact and pretty

Happy singles - simple daisy flowers

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    Naomi's Twitter. Naomi's WebsiteNaomi Slade is a freelance journalist with a degree in science and a background in publishing, events and managing rock bands. In this podcast she shares her love of and fascination for the subject of her latest book, Dahlias: Beautiful Varieties for Home and Garden.Things we talk about in this episode:Naomi’s backgroundHer Snowdrop book: Plant lovers guide to snowdrops (Timber Press)Joe Sharman of Monksilver NurseryNaomi’s snowdrop Galanthus 'Naomi Slade'Her Orchard book: An Orchard Odyssey (Green Books)Definition of an orchard: 5 Trees with crown edges not more than 20 metres apartPerennial fruit and foodDahlia as fashion victimDivisive dahliasRich man’s plants1851 ExhibitionChristopher LloydAre they worth the effort?Dahlia geneticsHumans are diploid - 2 sets of chromosomesdahlias are octoploid - 8 sets of chromosomesLoads of transposons which spontaneously change what they look likequick mutations = thousands of cultivarsYellow and orange dahlias often have irridescenceDahlia HistoryAztec ritualsCactus dahliasDahlia requirementsHow to start them offSlugs and frostSlugs hide underneath the tuber and come out at nightPinching outPlanting has all 60k varieties - the perfect place to geek outNational collection in PenzanceOverwinteringNobody likes a soggy bottomFavourite dahliasRestrained dahlias: ponpons and small ballsContainersVarieties and cultivars we talk about in this episode:D. Hamari GoldD. PeresiiD. David HowardD. Arabian KnightD. Gentle starD. Thomas EddisonD. HootenannyD. EvelineThe gallery series - compact and prettyHappy singles - simple daisy flowers
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Colour match with neighbouring plantsKey group within zonals: Bold series - good chunky, strong growing with short stems and lots of flowers which are shatter-proof.Use decorative, uniques and scented for gap-filling too!Attar of roses, Grey Lady Plymouth in a mixed border - Chocolate peppermint and Tomentosum at Wisley - looked amazingContainers:Potting compost magic formula; John Innes no. 2 and multi-purpose compost half and halfRe-pot in spring and you don’t need to feed for a month because of JI You cant over-feed a pellie!Feed every time you waterIf you want to get flowers like you see in the shows then you have to feed them! They’re on steroidsPinching out.Young cuttings - single stem. Once rooted and growing, pinch out top leaf and newest bud. Leaving a couple of live axils below means it will start to branch out. It’s not about height, it’s about body.Keep pinching outFibrex takes cuttings in August through to April. The pinching out happens throughout, until February. 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Smelly pellie jelly! Turn up!Links, Plants and important stuff we mention:Zonal Bold seriesAttar of RosesGrey Lady PlymouthChocolate PeppermingTomentosumTomorite tomato foodSB invigoratorHeather’s top three for beginners:Attar of RosesAshbyAustraleHouseplant favourite: FragransFibrex Pellie Party
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