Why do I love Dahlias?
Different shapes and forms and an explosion of colours, Dahlias are the No 1 for me!
I didn’t always love dahlias but my fascination grew with the need to have a cutting bed for flowers that could be picked for our cabins and yurts to welcome our guests here at Forest Garden Shovelstrode. With profuse flowers from summer to late Autumn, you get a lot of bang for your buck with dahlias! The photograph below was taken the first week of November!
We have a local dahlia grower close by, who I visited a few years back. I walked along every row of his endless collection, recording the ones that caught my eye. My first choice was Café au Lait, a huge cream flower with hints of pink, followed by Gay Princess, shades of pink petals with a whitish interior. Aljo, seen below in the front is coral and pink. The list went on to include Black Jack, Hootenanny (small fluorescent pink petals) and the well known Bishop of Llandaff, black stemmed with small bright red flowers. Top tip, if you have limited space and want to buy Dahlias make sure you have a clear idea of how many you want as its very easy to get carried away!
Dahlias are native to Mexico and South America and are named after an 18th century botanist called Anders Dahl. They were originally catalogued as a vegetable because of their edible tubers which are said to taste like a mix between potatoes and radishes (I can’t confirm this as I have not tried them!). Before the discovery of insulin, the tubers were also used to balance blood sugar and the petals used to treat dry skin, infections, rashes and insect bites. Dahlias come in every colour except blue. Apparently, in the 19th Century, a London newspaper offer £1 to the first person to create a blue dahlia – the reward has never been claimed.
So, if you’re thinking about your garden for next year and are looking for mad colours, crazy shapes and sizes, look at dahlias – I don’t think you will be disappointed.