I have a confession to make.
There was a time when I really didn’t like dahlias.
I have since seen the errors of my ways, but still tend to be very picky about what I like and what I don’t. However, when faced with the stunning collection in this secret garden, nobody could help but fall desperately in love.
I now believe dahlias to be the perfect flower for lazy gardeners like me. They are relativly low maintaince, but have a very high production rate of the most rediculously luscious blooms…what more could you ask of a plant!?
As long as you continue to dead head them, then they will continue to flower. Their life time is also massive, spanning from June to late November, and they essentially come in every colour and shape you could possibly imagine. There are apparently 15 different groups under the genes dahlia, and 50,000 varieties world wide!
Native to Mexico, where it is now the National Flower, the tubers of the dahlia (which are a type of bulb) were grown as food by the Aztecs. They are thought to be the reason that despite being from a hot climate originally, they can also thrive in our, ever so slightly cooler British weather.
They love any spot that gets the sun, and as long as the soil is well fertilised, and ideally well drained they’re pretty happy.
The golden tip I gain from the chap that grows these stunners was just that, fertilise, fertilise, fertilise.
Plant your tubers in March, or once the first frosts are over, at a depth of 10-15cm.
As dahlias can grow to truly incredible heights they are prone to flopping about a bit, and are easily damaged in high winds, you may therefore need to spend a little extra time while planting them to insert some stakes. I like to use natural sticks rather than bamboo stakes. I just think they look nicer.
End of the story is, you need to get some dahlias in your life!
Which is your favourite?
Images – Louisa Grew