I think it is impossible not to find a dahlia you love. Although they can be a bit gaudy there is such an enormous range of colour and form that even a gardener with a taste for subtlety could find one they liked. They can be labour intensive though, being frost tender they traditionally are lifted for the winter, overwintered and potted up indoors before being planted out in spring. Sarah Raven – the cut flower expert – thinks it is worth planting them deep and mulching them as they will survive most of our winters . She then replaces the tubers the rare year she loses them – might be a risk worth taking to save on the labour?
Although many dahlias can be hard to work into a planting scheme, almost all look amazing as a cut flower, that is why the idea of growing them in allotment is such a great one. I got the opportunity to visit a dahlia lover’s garden and allotment last weekend and it was a delight.
We went from a (mostly green!) city garden with a lovely old world charm to a riot of colour from the dahlias at the allotment. The dahlias are grown for cutting and are used occasionally by a lucky local florist.
In contrast we are greeted by a sea of colour at the allotment