How will I ever choose ??!!?? – Dahlia dilemma

16 Jan

Its that time of year again when I realise just how indecisive I am ! Yes its time to order some new dahlias.

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I do just love Dahlias ! They’re relatively easy to grow – I hesitate to say that anything is easy to grow as I find I always seem to have problems with the plants that everyone says are so easy !! But once you’ve learnt the routine they are pretty simple.

In the past I always bought dry tubers that were delivered in early March. These are best potted up into large 10 litre pots, put somewhere out of the way where they will just get on with their stuff. By June you should have fairly substantial plants that can either be planted out into gaps in your beds or simply place the pots in the gaps. They then flower their hearts out till the first frosts.

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These days I mainly grow my dahlias on my allotment for cutting – with a small garden I’m always reluctant to cut blooms – and in my allotment I can also grow colours that I would be reluctant to have in my garden ( such as yellow !). I do find I want different colours in the house than in the garden so that’s where my cutting garden comes into its own – more on that another day.

I have also made the switch to rooted cuttings – these are delivered in early may ready to be potted up immediately and kept frost free for a few more weeks. They grow incredibly quickly and you will have a similar sized plant as one you’d grown from a tuber by June/July and then they go on to flower for the rest of the summer. For me, they have been slightly more reliable then tubers and have developed into bigger better plants.

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Given the slight unreliability of over wintering dahlias ( see previous post) I have decided to order a dozen rooted cuttings every year to maintain my dahlia bed and thereby lies the problem ! Halls of Heddon have simply hundreds of varieties on offer and it is really impossible to narrow it down to a mere 12!

Over the last few years I have grown the following varieties – New Baby;Jescot Julie; Minley Carol; Jowey Mirella; Rip City ; – a great selection of dark purples and oranges and a variety of shapes.

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So this year I feel I need to ring the changes a bit with perhaps some brighter pinks like Thomas Edison; Ambition and American Dawn

Or maybe even some more subtle colours , like the beautiful Blanc y Verde.

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I get lots of inspiration from Sarah Raven’s catalogue which has great photos but its also worth visiting a garden with a good test bed in September to select your favourites – Baddesley Clinton has a great selection, as does Rousham House and of course RHS Wisley.

There’s no easy solution – other than turning my whole allotment over to dahlias so I could grow one of everything !!

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6 Responses to “How will I ever choose ??!!?? – Dahlia dilemma”

  1. Max Jones-Lloyd February 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    I love dahlias too. Intend to grow lots this year for cutting. I used to grow them in our past house and of course I ended up leaving them in the garden, not doing something sensible like dig them up and taking them with me. Interesting you find cuttings better than tubers. You have inspired me to get on and think about the ones I want!..

    • Emma Webber February 23, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

      Thanks Max – enjoy choosing your dahlias !! Let me know what you went for !!

  2. Pauline@cloverhome February 25, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    Hi Emma, just stumbled upon this blogpost. I will be growing dahlia’s for the first time this year! Can’t choose either, I want them all!

    • Emma Webber February 25, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

      Just go for it ! They all go together beautifully !

    • Emma Webber February 25, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

      Check out my other post about dahlias for more photos and possibly more choice !

      • Pauline@cloverhome February 26, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

        Thanks Emma, I had a look, you didn’t do bad at all!

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