It’s a weird thing, trying to time a garden to look spiffing just for one day. I’m starting to feel like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, muttering “off with their heads” every time I find a flower bud that has deigned to show its face early.

I’ve taken to daily patrols of the flower border in front of the stables, armed with a pair of secateurs, to snip off any open blooms. It feels like sabotage. But deadheading is hardly a chore when the spin off is an endless supply of free fresh flowers to fill up the vases.

All my dahlias, especially the delicious ‘Raspberry Ripple’ (pictured above), with its burgundy-splashed petals,  are going great guns. I’m a little nervous that they’ve peaked too soon. Here’s hoping the half bag of Nitrophoska Blue I dumped at their feet today will keep them in good spirits for another six weeks.