IT FELT like the abandonment of old chums when I gave up my allotments for pastures new.

The sweet chestnut tree which was a mere stripling when I planted it after taking on the overgrown plots was huge and much too big to move.

I will miss the musky aroma of its creamy blooms in springtime.Those of you who know the reek also know I cannot say what it smells like here.

I also left behind some lovely dahlias for the new plot holder, not just as a friendly gesture — it was the wrong time of year to lift them. The ground was tungsten tough.

I know now how my old chum, dahlia fanatic Roger Mazillius, must have felt when he upped stumps for Cornwall. He had amassed a huge collection, buying his favourites and taking basal cuttings as a cheap and easy way of replication. No way could he have taken them all and he would have wept at that.

Dahlias are the tarts of the flower garden, from bold and brash flowerheads so big that they can hardly be supported, to delicate pom-poms with architecturally perfect flowers.

Chrysanths range from clumps of mini-mums of just a few inches high to towering specimens.

In all but the worst winters down here most chrysanths should survive outdoors if covered with an organic mulch — as dahlias will.

It’s a faff if you have to lift chrysanths, but one trick is to plant them in a large pot sunk into the bed which can be lifted as the weather chills.

Both chrysanths and dahlias like free-draining soil in full sun and regular feeding to ensure prolific repeat flowering. Tie stems of both taller cultivars, especially large-flowered ones, to canes in the ground.

Dahlias and chrysanthemums fell out of favour a few years ago, but are making a successful comeback.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Woolmans' Bislet chrysanthemum collection.

Pre-eminent among mail order companies is Woolmans, which is always developing new cultivars. One eye-catcher is the Bislet chrysanth collection of four varieties to add late colour to borders.

Five new and exclusive dahlia collections have also been added to the range to bring a wide palette of colour to borders at a time year when much is looking dull and dour.

The five new dahlia collections are: Cinnamon and Cloves made up of Black Touch, Karma Fiesta and Salmon Runner.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The Dahlia collection Cinnamon and Cloves.

Blackcurrant Cassis Collection (main picture) is Profundo, Sweet Lady and Maroon Fox and Blueberry Mojito has Karma Prospero, Ambition and Pink Runner.

Spiced Plum is Linda’s Baby, Zirconia and Zundert Mystery Fox while Sundowner has Mr Frans, Lakeland Autumn and Safe Shot.

Not cheap, but so cheerful and simplicity itself to propagate.