27 July 2023

Here Come The Dahlias

Our dahlias are just starting to ramp up which compared to last year, when they were in full swing by now, is a pretty late start to the season. Such is British weather – no year is quite the same.

Growing dahlias is an interesting endeavour, especially when it comes to regrowing the ones you like. Growing them from seed is fun because you never quite know what you’re going to get – although the seeds come from the mother plant, they’ll have all been cross-pollinated by bees so each seed will be unique, the exact variety only revealing itself once the flower blooms (this is why when you buy seeds you’ll just get a ‘mixed’ variety). Some might not be your cup of tea, but in among them may be your new favourite. So how do you grow that one again? Suddenly, not knowing what you’re going to get becomes a bit of an obstacle when you’re trying to regrow a particular variety. In this instance, you grow not from the dahlia seeds found within the dried blooms, but from their tubers (roots). Because these tubers are from mature plants, it’s easier to know what you’re going to get.

Last year we tagged the dahlias we loved, saved the tubers and grew those ones again from those very tubers, which have actually been the first to bloom this year and look very happy and healthy. It’s nice to have an element of control on what we’re growing, not least because it makes it easier to plan colour schemes for bouquets but also because we don’t want to dedicate flower beds and labour to a flower which we don’t like when it blooms. That being said, there’s something really fun about growing your own varieties, something that started off as a completely unique seed, pollinated by a bee with its own unique journey (who knows what secret and exotic life a bee has lead before pollinating that seed) and that couldn’t be done without taking a bit of a chance on a mixed packet of dahlia seeds. And it’s not completely random, although the seeds produce mixed colours, we still buy the types of dahlias we prefer, such as pom poms or double petal dahlias, as these are more robust so last a little longer and work better within our bouquets.

So we do a bit of both – save tubers from dahlias we know we’d like to see again in the field next year and plant some seeds to see what we get. After all, we started growing our own flowers because we’re passionate about bringing our customers unusual, harder to find flowers and you never know which seed that dahlia of all dahlias is going to come from.

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