A Delectation of Dahlias.

For years I disliked dahlias; I didn’t like the smell and I associated them with the regimental rows of garish colours where earwigs lurked in my grandmother’s garden. I started a few years ago with the fashionable ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ and from there decided dahlias were OK as long as they were deep, velvety red like the almost edible ‘Karma Choc’ so I grew a few from seed trying to get ever darker children. You can buy some lovely, dark red dahlias though so I gave up trying to breed my own.

Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’

My latest dark one is the sultry ‘Dark Desire’.

Dahlia ‘Dark Desire’

The fire engine red ‘Murdoch’ is also a favourite.

Dahlia ‘Murdoch’

Then I fell for the over- the-top charms of the monstrous Dahlia ‘Café au Lait’.

Dahlia ‘Café au Lait’

Last year I acquired its relative ‘Café au Lait Rose’.

Dahlia ‘Café au Lait Rose’

Another flamboyantly, gorgeous dahlia is the ghostly white, fimbriated Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’ which translates as ‘Messenger from the Moon’.

Dahlia ‘Tsuki Yori No Shisha’

I am not particularly keen on cactus dahlias but I do have the semi cactus, ‘Ambition’ because it is such a lovely deep purple.

And I had to have the dinner plate deep purple ‘Thomas.E. Edison’.

Another giant decorative dahlia is the sturdy ‘Labyrinth’ which is a glorious, peachy confection of swirling petals.

Dahlia ‘Labyrinth’

The anemone -flowered ‘Mambo’ is unusual.

Dahlia ‘Mambo’

But I have a weakness for single dahlias and they are the ones the bees prefer. The ‘Honka’ series comes in various colours but they are all single with reflexed petals. This one is ‘Honka Fragile’.

Dahlia ‘Honka Fragile’

Dahlias with dark foliage are always attractive and I have several dark-leaved bishops, but the one I particularly love is ‘Waltzing Mathilda’, the colours are so peachy. Here she is waltzing her way through the dark blue Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’.

So far I haven’t mentioned any colarettes, these are dahlias with flat petals and a collar of florets at the centre. Here is one called ‘Night Butterfly’ and she seems to have strong genes because she has bequeathed her distinctive flowers to many of her seedling in my garden.

Dahlia ”Night Butterfly’

And that is what I really want to show you today. You can see the above dahlias in any catalogue but my babies are unique to my garden. If you start off with a varied selection of dahlias, then growing your own from seed is endlessly fascinating because you never know what you will get. And of course it is addictive. If you sow them early they will bloom the first year and each succeeding year they get better and better. These red, year- old children are taller than me.

They look lovely en masse.

Most of the seedlings are single or semi double. I have the odd anemone- flowered one like this child of ‘Totally Tangerine’

There are lots of ‘Honka ‘ children with slender reflexed petals. The yellow one surprised me because I don’t have any yellow dahlias.

I have loads which have inherited the collar from ‘Night Butterfly’, some tidier than others.

I wish I had time and space to show them all to you but as I probably have about sixty dahlias it is not possible. So just one more and it was a total surprise as it is a cactus-type dahlia and I don’t understand how the bees pulled this one off.

I will finish my paean to dahlias with three vases showing the range of colours of my babies. I am joining in with Cathy’s meme ‘In a Vase on Monday’ and I hope she will forgive this long-winded introduction to my vases. As you can see I am a little obsessed After all what else gives you so much colour for the whole of the summer?

If you go over to Rambling in the Garden you will see what other people have found to put into a vase on this last day of the summer. And thanks to Cathy who, come rain or shine never lets us down.

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29 Responses to A Delectation of Dahlias.

  1. bcparkison says:

    They are very pretty and you seem to have over come your dislike. Now…do you dig them out for winter storage or do they just come back ?I have one or two that did come back but are only a foot tall.

  2. pbmgarden says:

    Beautiful vase of flowers and dahlia walk.

  3. Just lovely, Liz. I had similar Dahlia experiences. Dinnerplate, gaudy at that, Dinnerplates are favored where I am from and I thought they were crass…having seen so many varieties I now have Dahlia lust or envy and have not succeeded in growing one Dahlia in Florida. I think the deep reds and singles from seed are my favorites, but then there is Cafe Au Lait and love the vase!!!

    • Chloris says:

      I used to loathe Dinner Plate dahlias and then I fell in love with ‘Cafė au Lait’. I’m still not keen on pompoms although I have one or two. I agree the singles are the prettiest.

  4. Cathy says:

    Glorious dahlias, Choris, every one of them…all 60+!!! One of my neighbours was telling me how much he has enjoyed seeing mine, a measly dozen or so. They are wonderful en masse and It must be so exciting to have all those babies and never know what to expect. I shall probably add one or two more next year and I am eying up Dark Desire after seeing yours. There is some pretty foliage in your first vase, I note, as well as some persicaria, and I am glad you found time to share the vases with us and drag yourself away from your dahlias

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Cathy. The foliage in the first vase is Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ and the seedheads of red lettuce. Have you thought of growing some dahlias from your own seeds? It is such fun and you could sell the excess at your garden opening if it happens next year.

      • Cathy says:

        I did try to collect seed one year, at your suggestion Chloris, but without success. I would indeed be intrigued to try again but to be honest I don’t have the space to grow many more dahlias than I do…

  5. krispeterson100 says:

    I love all your reds, Chloris – I went a little crazy for blooms in that color this year myself, with ‘Loverboy’ (the only red I’d previously grown), ‘Mr Optimist’ and ‘Rip City’ (which only early today opened its first blooms). I’m always mightily impressed when you mention your seed-grown dahlias. That’s something I haven’t even tried to do (yet), although I believe you provided me some tips for collecting the seed last year. This year, just getting my tubers into the ground was something of a challenge but maybe I can manage to collect some seed when this season comes to an end, which I hope won’t be until sometime in November given my late start.

    • Chloris says:

      Oh yes, I have Rip City, it is a wonderful colour. I am surprised that you can grow dahlias as mine need copious watering in dry spells. Do give growing from seed a try, it is such fun.

  6. snowbird says:

    Oh, just delightful, so many babies looking so original and unique. A Delectation of Dahlias was such a brilliant title, almost something the dark side, lol, would want. If someone put a gun to my head and asked me to choose just one…..Honka Fragile it shall be.!xxx

  7. Annette says:

    A truly amazing collection, Liz, and I can see why you’re smitten by them. I find the single ones very charming too and would like to try some species but they’re not that easy to find. Some years mine develop mildew due to the hot and dry summers. My D. imperialis is looking good so far and I hope it’ll flower before the first frost. Happy autumn days to you both 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Annette, The first of my imperialis cross dahlias from New Zealand is in bloom which is very exciting. I’m taking lots of cuttings in case they don’t survive outside. I have had a bit of a midew problem on some of my dahlias this year as it has been hot and dry here too.

  8. My Dad never grew them in his garden and now I’m in a hot, wet climate and can’t grow them. I really do enjoy all of yours.

  9. Anna says:

    Oh what a delectable array of dahlias Chloris and your children are the best. I love dahlias on the whole but find it hard to take to the really large flowered ones. Honka ‘Fragile’ is top of my list to try next year. I imagine that you will be sowing more seed soon 😄 Your vases are delightful.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Anna, I must admit the single dahlias are my favourites and last year’s plants are very tall and imposing. I really shouldn’t sow any more seeds because I have so many, but I can send you some if you would like to try.

  10. Cathy says:

    My goodness! Considering you only discovered you like them a few years ago your collection has grown extensively. 😃 They are lovely, but I have so many earwigs here I wouldn’t even try!

  11. Veronica says:

    What a gorgeous array of wonderful colours and shapes . Your flowers ever cease to amaze me .

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Veronica, my dahlias have been fantastic for weeks this year. I hope next year the world will be back to normal and you can come and see them for yourself.

  12. tonytomeo says:

    Disliked dahlias?! I would say that is odd, but I actually like most of the modern cultivars less than the old classics, and there are a few that I really am none too keen on. The classics are still the best.

  13. Delectable indeed. I think ‘Murdoch’ is my favorite, though I have always loved ‘Bishop of Llandaff’.

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