Dahlias and other summer bulbs

Its time to order summer bulbs (and corms and tubers) so put your order in before the best sell out. The world has gone so dahlia crazy the amount of varieties now available is mind boggling and I find if I’m not careful I order too many of the same type, same colour and just too many full stop. So if you’re not planning on starting a flower farm but would like to plant a variety of dahlias this spring that will be useful for cutting and look good together here’s a list of favourites that I have either grown or are recommended by Floret and The Land Gardeners.

Dahlias

Dinner plate:

  • Cafe Au Lait
  • Otto's Thrill
  • Elma E
  • Islander

Pompom:

  • Daisy Duke
  • Beatrice
  • Intrigue

Smaller Pompom:

  • Jomanda
  • Jowey Linda
  • Burlesca
  • Robin Hood

Collarette

  • Apple Blossom
  • Teesbrooke Audrey

If you’re planting them in the kitchen garden for cutting then just one tuber of each in as many varieties as you have space for produces plenty of flowers to cut for the house and give to friends. If you’re adding them to borders to cut a few but really for their late summer colour then a smaller selection with more tubers of each would provide better rhythm and harmony.

For a really easy cut flower bed, plant an evergreen hedge (yew, box or rosemary) around the space available, plant up with tulips bulbs in the autumn and them once these are cut and plant up with dahlia tubers in late spring.

sarahraven.com gives plenty of advice on how to grow dahlias. Slugs love us so I prefer her method of planting them up in 3 ltr flower pots in March/ April, keeping them in a bright frost free spot until the frosts are over by which time they will have formed bushy plants and can be planted into their final position. I put a stake beside each plant at the same time to tie them in as they grow. They should start flowering from July.

Suppliers farmergracey.com/ hallsofheddon.com/ national-dahlias-collection.co.uk/roseccottageplants.co.uk

Other summer flowering bulbs

At the same time I will also be ordering:
  • Abyssinian gladiolus (Gladiolus murielae) for their green leaf, late summer unusual white flower and scent
  • Gladiolus ‘The Bride’ and Gladiolus byzantinus sub species. byzantina  I treat both as annuals and use them to edge chard and spinach beds
  • Lily Honeymoon is a tree lily and I’ve never grown these before but the soft yellow colour and the fact that it reaches 2 meters in height is too intriguing. I’m going to plant a couple in our veg garden where it will get the water and feeding that it needs and use it as a cut flower.
  • Anemone ‘Galilee Pastel Mix’ is a new from farmergracy.com and I’m going to pop them in around the edge of one of the raised beds in our veg garden.

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