Is it my imagination or have dahlias come to the fore this year? They seem to have a lot of publicity appearing on garden programs and magazine articles, as well as people with lots of ‘dahlia talk’ on social media. I have always admired the dahlias in the cutting garden at West Dean Gardens, Nr Chichester but only had one small yellow unnamed dahlia in the garden. I certainly have been swept along on the dahlia train this year and spent the enormous figure of £9 on tubers from Wilko – a great provider of bargain garden ‘stuff’. At £1 each I felt I could just about afford to take a loss and would be happy with even half of them grew.
I am delighted, and proud that all nine tubers have thrown out shoots! After avidly reading everything I could find about growing dahlias, I found Sarah Raven’s website and video provided all I needed to know as a complete amateur. The biggest hurdle was (and still is!) protecting the shoots from slugs and snails. Even with copper tape, a penny barrier, an idea from David Domoney, as well as my daughter suggesting supergluing pennies around the rim, plus a few strategically placed organic slug pellets, the pesky molluscs must have abseiled down to have a quick nibble. Some dahlias, as you can see, have grown faster than others, albeit put in pots at the same time.
I am an impulse buyer and rarely, if ever, go with a plan when it comes to buying plants. Rightly or wrongly, the dahlias I bought were chosen by name, and recommendation, such as Arabian Night, which is mentioned a lot. To my surprise, rather than having a riot of unorganised colour, all my dahlias are the same colour range of white through to purple, apart from the pretty golden ‘Sunshine’ which I may grow in a pot.
For my future information and out of interest, I list below the dahlias I have along with photos of what they will look like. Note the voice of positivity. I must stress at this point I have NEVER grown dahlias before so fingers crossed they will all be successful and don’t succumb to slug and snail fodder.
Single Flower Variety
Pom Pom Variety
Shaggy Cactus Variety
This last dahlia is my favourite, not only because of the name, I think it is going to be magnificent. It is already the largest of all the new plants. I have pinched out the tops of the bigger plants and will regularly be referring to the National Dahlia Society and National Dahlia Collection websites as well as Sarah Raven and the gardening folk on Twitter and Instagram for help and advice.
I have some weeks to go before planting out, so will take time plan the layout of the dahlias sensibly. I am forward to have an impressive bed of dahlias to cut and have in the house and give to friends. Watch this space! Meanwhile, please leave advice and tips in the comment section as all help will be gratefully received – thank you.