Probably the best dahlia is 'Bishop of Llandaff', re-launched by our own nursery 'Bridgemere'. The foliage colour of darkest bronze-green is worthy of a place in the garden on its own. When the bright scarlet flowers appear in late summer it takes a real pride of place.
The Royal Horticultural Society was suitably impressed and awarded it the Award of Garden Merit. Its flowering time is from late summer well into the autumn and during this time it is a valued part of a hot coloured bed and can even be used as a cut flower.
Dahlias are best grown in full sun with some support such as bamboo canes or plant supports. They will grow in most soils except waterlogged and prefers neutral to chalky soils.
Dahlias are tender perennials, so in late autumn as the foliage begins to die back, cut stems to 15cm (6") and lift the tubers and store in dry compost or vermiculite in a frost-free place such as a garage then re-plant when the risk of frost has passed.
There are many new varieties of dahlia giving a range of colours from purest white through yellows and oranges to darkest reds. There is a range of types from the typically single flowered dahlia such as 'Moonfire' which produces masses of flowers to the more exotic looking cactus dahlias which produce massive flowers up to 20cm (9") across although fewer in number are stunning to see. There is a large range in heights from dwarf varieties around 30cm (1ft) to the large show dahlias about 120cm (4ft) tall, so any part of the border can have a different dahlia. Select tubers from February to March to give the widest selection of varieties.
The dark foliage of 'Bishop of Llandaff' makes an excellent contrast to golden foliage plants such as Choisya 'Sundance' and Leycesteria 'Golden Lanterns'. The dark accentuates the golden foliage and vice versa. Alternatively it can be mixed with other hot plants such as Rudbeckia 'Goldstern' and Helenium 'Sahins Early Flowerer'.
|Dahlia 'Moonfire'||Dahlia 'Karma Lagoon'||Dahlia 'Clarion'||Dahlia 'Tally Ho'|