I don’t know whether there is a collective noun for dahlias, but if we can have a ‘charm of goldfinches’, then why not a ‘delight of dahlias’? Once you give your heart to dahlias your late summer and autumn garden is transformed. I have grown dahlias from seed for a few years but in the past I concentrated on trying to get ever darker children of the ‘Bishop of Llandaff.’ This year after caring for 100 seedlings which was an awful chore, I have dahlias in every colour and shape; masses of them. They have been regularly fed, watered and deadheaded and they have been delighting me since July. Every week I fill vases with them and give bunches away. What other flower gives on this scale for so long?
Here are a few vases I did today, I started picking for one vase and then got carried away. The garden is very wet and drippy so I thought I would bring some of it inside. Let’s start with the reds. Several of them show vestiges of the white collar showing that ‘Night Butterfly’ is in their genes.
The bright red one in the centre is an old favourite ‘Murdoch’. These double ones don’t usually have seeds because they are a challenge for the bees. The one with narrow reflexed petals has ‘Honka’ in its make up. I have this shape in a variety of colours.
This next one is gorgeous. The petals aren’t as narrow as the ‘Honka’ ones but I love the way they are reflexed.
This one shows that it has ‘Honka’ in its blood as well as a tiny bit of ‘Night Butterfly’.
There is no ‘Honka’ here but a larger collar showing its’ Night Butterfly’genes
There are plenty of pinks ones too. The central dahlia has the narrow petals of a ‘Honka’ dahlia.
I used some sky-blue Lobelia uliginosa and Verbena bonariensis in this vase. Also Aster ‘Little Carlow’, one of my favourites. The dark purple flowers are Salvia leucantha ‘Purple Velvet’.
The fully double pink dahlia with the white centre is the only fully double seedling . I actually prefer the single ones.
The next vase is mostly orange and peach.
I used a salvia and orange Sphaeralcea incana to go with it. This lovely plant has been blooming for weeks.
The next photo shows Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’ which is clearly the father of several of my seedlings. The one next to it has inherited the colour.
I think this next one is even better than its parent. The flowers are larger.
The pompom dahlia is ‘Cornel Bronze’, again this doesn’t set seed but I am not so keen on the pompoms anyway.
When you deadhead dahlias it is sometimes difficult to see which are buds and which are spent flowers. The ones to cut off are the pointed ones, the buds are round.
Save some for seeds though . It’s easy to pick out the black seeds from the papery cases. Make sure that they are dry before storing. I sow mine in late winter or early spring. It is amazing what big plants you have by the end of the season.
Here are a few more of my babies.
Thanks to Cathy at Ramblinginthegarden for hosting this fun meme.