Delectable dahlias

Pictured above (clockwise, or scroll through) are:

Top row: Penhill Dark Monarch, Burlesca,Totally Tangerine (middle), Isabel, Purple Bottom row: Waltzing Matilda, Blue Bayou (picture credits: Sarah Raven), Purple Dream, American Dawn (with Purple Dream in the background).

Dahlias are quite possibly the most rewarding plant to grow for the novice gardener.  They might need some initial cossetting, but they’re not exactly high-maintenance when you consider that all they’re asking for is a bucket-sized pot of compost in March, to be kept away from frost for a couple of months, and a little drink of water every couple of days.  There’s a bit of pinching out of tips (ouch) and then planting out.  They repay you with bucket-loads of flowers from July to the first frosts.  You have the daily delight of dead-heading and upending the lot into the compost: a new work of art every day.

There is a dahlia (or ten) to suit everyone.  They come in every colour except blue or green.  You can make a rainbow of dahlias if you so desire (add blue consolida and green nicotiana).  You can have whirligigs, lollipops, pompoms, firework explosions, neat little globes of geometric perfection, or huge great tousled bed-hair confections.

I grow dahlias in a raised bed.  That way I can water them all together if they need it, and dead-head at the end of a working day (very therapeutic).  I  upend a bucket of compost over each of them in the autumn, once they have collapsed with the first frost.  I don’t bother with lifting them: the compost acts like a snuggly blanket and they re-sprout in March.

Dahlias make the best cut flowers.  Try single stems each in a bottle or jam jar.  Or mingle them in a jug or bowl.  Add galdioli or nicotiana or consolida for arching spikes.  Give them all away to friends and family, neighbours and delivery people before you go away on holiday: they will keep on flowering as long as you keep on dead-heading.

I fiddle with my collection of dahlias every year.  This year, I’m going for a vintage silk look.  The colours are slightly sun-bleached at the edges, with one colour fading into another.  Shabby chic, if you like.

All of these varieties are from Sarah Raven, but other suppliers are available!





9 Comments Add yours

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, it is so kind of you to leave feedback. X


  1. This is actually a really helpful post. I love dahlias but I’ve always been put off from growing them because I thought you had to lift them out every year and I’m a bit of a lazy gardener but I might try your tip of giving them fresh compost instead and see how they cope. 😊


    1. Ali says:

      Yes, am far too lazy to lift!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bernadette says:

    After I originally commented I appear to have
    clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and
    now whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment.
    Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service?
    Thank you!


    1. Ali says:

      Hi Bernadette, I think there is a button to tick if you want to see all other comments when you comment, and I don’t think I can change this for you. If you go to the bottom of this email, there should be an option to unsubscribe from comments.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s