The Year of the Dahlia.

So, I  realise that 2012 is going to be the year in which lots of things happen. The London Olympics, the end of the world (if you believe the long-dead Mayans) and more importantly than that, my first trip to Rome. Did I mention that I’m going to Rome? I did? Sorry. I’ll stop. For a while, anyway.

2012 is also the year in which I am going to plant more dahlias on the allotment. Lots and lots of dahlias. Which, incidentally, are pronounced like Roald Dahl, rather than ‘day-lia’ because they’re named after a Swedish botanist who also had the name Dahl.

I still pronounce them ‘day-lia’ because that’s how my Grandma says it, and I know better than to argue with her. She is, after all, my dahlia inspiration. Every year, Grandma enters the local show with her flowers and every year she comes away with prizes. Given that she’s a superb knitter too, she’s like the family version of Kirstie Allsopp. This year, although I won’t be entering any shows, I want to be able to go to my allotment and pick great big dramatically bold and beautiful bunches of flowers for my house.

The cutting bed last year.

The lovely dahlias have suffered in the past for being exactly that – a bit too bold and bright, especially those with pompom or spider-like shapes too. Like 1980’s style, they went out of fashion when everyone suddenly decided that minimalism was chic and that bright and blowsy was just a bit common. However, those of us who like a bit of colour never wavered in our love for them. Now, thankfully, they’re back and in a big way.

The main place I look every year at dahlia tubers is the beautiful and inspiring Sarah Raven catalogue. The variety of types, sizes and colours available there is second to none. If this goes anything like my vegetable seed buying from there turns out every year, I am going to struggle to narrow it down to a few varieties and will end up ordering half the catalogue and then spending the rest of the year frantically trying to grow everything. The good thing about the dahlias though, is that they will not end up in seed trays all over the house, like my vegetables…

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10 Responses to “The Year of the Dahlia.”

  1. Oh I wish I hadn’t seen this… I feel a spending spree coming on!

  2. Oh I’m so like you I love dahlias too and grow them every year they are sold bold and beautiful. Will your granny give us any tips to growing ??

  3. We raise ours from seed every year, usually dwarf varieties. Golden Acre Park in Leeds has an amazing dahlia garden.

  4. I love big bold colours too and particularly love Tulips. It’s ever since my mother in law grew some black tulips in her garden. I was so taken aback by the drama of their colour that they crept in as my flower of choice. I do admire anyone that’s able to grow flowers…and keep them alive. My fingers are far from green so I will just live vicariously through you xx

    • Ooh, I love tulips too – parrot tulips in bold colours look incredible. Sarah Raven have an amazing collection of tulip bulbs too, if you ever fancy trying to develop those green fingers 🙂

  5. gosh, how stunning!

    I now have green finger envy!

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