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Flower's a blooming monster thanks to pond water
RECYCLING the water from her fishpond during the hosepipe ban has helped Fiona Choo’s dahlia to grow to three times the size she was expecting.
The mother-of-three, who runs the Swandown Hotel in Victoria Road, noticed the giant yellow flower in her garden at the weekend and cut it down because it was towering over other plants.
She had thrown old pond water on her bulbs during the summer water shortage and believes it has led to the super-sized bloom, which is 9in in diameter rather than the average 3in.
“I bought the bulbs last year and planted them in the garden but nothing came up. “Earlier this year, I planted roses over the top and I thought there weren’t going to be any dahlias coming out,” she said.
“This Sunday I thought ‘my goodness, what‘s happened?’. It’s a large flower and it was heavy. It was tipping on to the floor.
“Right next to it there is another bloom but it is a lot smaller.”
The hosepipe ban was put in place earlier this year, which stopped gardeners from using fresh water on their plants.
Fiona, of Old Town, who usually gardens about once a week, came up with an inventive way of looking after both her 60 goldfish and her plants.
“I fed the plants with the old fish pond water at the time there was a restriction. “I pumped it out of the pond and into a bucket,” she said.
“The dahlia started growing slowly but I thought it wouldn’t grow that big because the weather is getting a bit cold. “It didn’t look big at the beginning. I didn’t give much notice to it.
“I have shown some of my friends this week and they said it’s amazing. They said they have never seen one so big.”
There are more than 36 species of dahlia, and they can range from 2ins to as much as 1ft.
The plant, which is native to Mexico, Central America and Colombia, is related to the sunflower.
Fiona’s dahlia is about 2ft tall but they can grow as tall as 8ft.
Fiona’s husband, Stephen, said: “It’s massive, it’s bigger than her face. We cut it down because it was too heavy and it was falling over. We’ve got it in a vase at the moment. We have never seen anything like it.”
Fiona and Stephen have run the Swandown Hotel for eight years.