I met a woman at a party once who said her name was Dahlia but she would rather be called Magnolia. These two flowers have become twinned in my subconscious so, now that the streets are lit up with the candle-like flowers of ...
I met a woman at a party once who said her name was Dahlia but she would rather be called Magnolia. These two flowers have become twinned in my subconscious so, now that the streets are lit up with the candle-like flowers of Magnolias, I am reminded to think ahead to the firework blooms of dahlias.
These are frost tender plants grown from a tuber. It’s a bit early to plant them outside – you should wait until the last risk of frost is over. Trouble is this can delay the whole growth cycle and there will be less time to enjoy them at their best . Sarah Raven has the answer – pot them up in a generous sized container and store them in a frost free spot outside.
This gives the plants a great head start and they will take off when transplanted after the frosts.
Now for the nice bit – which ones to choose? It’s a good idea to start looking around for something that takes your fancy. I find Sarah Ravens website very clear with plenty of wonderful varieties to choose from. https://www.sarahraven.com/flowers/bulbs/dahlias
Here is a brief outline of the basic shapes to look out for:
Cactus and Semi Cactus
As the name suggests – these have a spiky look. Both types have a double flower with petals that roll back on themselves from the tip down to their mid point.
A double flower with flat petals which can be formally arranged (evenly placed) or informal (generally flat petalled but some with a rolled tip and a wavy feel). These are usually pretty tall, around 40 inches on average but can be even taller.
Pompom and Ball
There’s something miraculous about these bright globes of perfection.
You don’t need me to describe them – it’s all in the name.
Anemone and Collarette
Anemone dahlias have an outer circle of large flat petals with a tight centre of tiny florets.
Collarette dahlias are similar with an outer circle of large petals
but they have a looser collection of petals and florets in the centre, often featuring a ‘collar’ of contrasting colour .
Mignon and Single
Last but certainly not least, the lovely simple varieties which have an innocence which is in complete contrast to their show-girl relatives.
They are much-loved by bees and insects too, especially since they are still in bloom when many flowers have closed shop for the autumn.
Love the dark foliage of this one.
That’s it then – have fun choosing – you won’t regret it later on in the summer.