Hello there! How are you? I hope you are enjoying the beautiful autumn colours, or, if you are on the other side of the globe, enjoying spring. In this blog post, I will take you to the CNB dahlia show garden. In my post about planning a dahlia garden, I suggested a visit to a show garden for inspiration. I did, and today I am sharing my photographs. I hope they will inspire you too. But first I will give you on update on my garden chores. Planting bulbs, yeah!
Planting bulbs for spring flowers
I am so looking forward to spring! Does this sound ridiculous? We still have Sinterklaas and the holidays to look forward to. After that, we have to get through the boring months of January and February. But I have been planting bulbs these last weeks, and I can’t wait to see them in bloom.
Last year I already planted allium ‘Purple Sensation’ and narcissus ‘Papillion Blanc’. Both are naturalising bulbs, which means they will bloom year after year and hopefully return in spring in greater numbers. We will see.
This year I planted more daffodils: ‘Bridal Crown’ and ‘White Lion’, both are fragrant. I loved allium ‘Purple Sensation’ in my garden. And because there are so many beautiful alliums to choose from, I also bought more allium. Allium ‘Sphaerocephalon’ and allium ‘Nectaroscordum siculum’ (those Latin names! I don’t even know how to pronounce them).
It’s still a long wait for spring. When I look outside I can see our Japanese maple tree in all its glory. The leaves are a beautiful, bright orange. The oak trees are already losing their leaves and acorns. We are trying to collect all the falling acorns from the lawn and the borders. We should get a pig instead of a cat.
There are still flowers in my dahlia garden. I don’t cut them anymore because they aren’t that pretty at the moment. Some flowers are browning before they are even fully opened and once picked they wilt fast. I will dig up the tubers after the first frost blackens them. There’s no hurry. Last year I dug them up at the end of November.
The dahlia show garden
Even though I was really happy with this year’s dahlia selection, I’m always on the lookout for new colours and different flower forms. I decided I was growing too many orange ball dahlias this year. Next year I want to grow some more pink dahlias. I found two varieties I am excited about when I visited the dahlia show garden at the end of September.
The CNB (Coöperatieve Nederlandse Bloembollencentrale), is an organisation that exists to mediate between suppliers and buyers of bulbs, tubers and perennials. To promote dahlias in general, and that of the newer varieties in particular, 500 different varieties are on show. Some are so new, they don’t even have a name yet. It’s an incredible sight, dazzling dahlias indeed.
Even though the show garden is intended for breeders and suppliers and not for the general public, anyone can visit while the dahlias are in flower. A guide is available with a list of all varieties on show, so you can take notes.
I saw many familiar faces. Dahlia Blue Bayou, dahlia Totally Tangerine, dahlia Platinum Blonde. Alle flowering like crazy on plants looking much healthier than the ones in my own garden. Next year, we should add more manure to our plots.
I especially loved the anemone flowering dahlias. Just look at dahlia Polka. The outer petals are white with purple, the heart is a sunny yellow. Very elegant, they remind me of petticoats. And flowering so abundantly!
The dahlias that really caught my eye were Linda’s Baby and Labyrinth. Linda’s Baby is a very pretty pink ball dahlia. The plants at the show garden were taller than most, with lots of flowers on long stems. They looked wonderful! I think this dahlia will be a great addition to my dahlia garden. The soft pink will go well with my orange ball dahlias but also with dahlia Café au Lait and Preference.
Labyrinth is a decorative dahlia and looks a lot like dahlia Café au Lait just in a different colour. Broad, wavy petals in a fabulous combination of peach and pink. I am sure they will look good together!
Photographing with a telephoto lens
I took my telephoto lens to the dahlia show garden. I don’t know why because I never use it. When I bought my camera, second hand, it came with two lenses, the kit lens and a 75-300 mm lens. About a year ago, my husband gave me a 50 mm lens for my birthday. That is my favourite lens. When I photograph flowers in my studio (a.k.a. kitchen), I use the 50 mm lens.
Because I want to improve my photography, I thought I would give the telephoto lens a try. I believe you are never too old to learn something new. But at first, I was swearing at myself, wondering why I hadn’t just brought the 50 mm lens. I found myself in a field full of beautiful dahlias, without being able to capture the beauty. It was frustrating!
I finally realised I had to leave a greater distance between the camera and the dahlias I was trying to capture. What telephoto lenses do is compressing the distance between subjects. If you are shooting a field of flowers with a telephoto lens the field will seem even fuller than it already is. The lens optically reduces the distance between the flowers.
Since a telephoto lens is longer and heavier than a 50 mm lens, it is easier to get camera shake. I didn’t use a tripod. I will next time because a lot of my photos were out of focus. Even though I had some difficulties photographing the dahlias at the show garden I really enjoyed my visit. I also learned a lot and think I should use the telephoto lens more often.