Rich With Colour: Dahlias

Pink Dahlia 3065
One of my favourite dahlias, for both its flower shape and its colour.

This year I’ve been trying to extend the flowering season in my garden a little. So I’ve planted echinaceas, heleniums, rudbekias and asters, which helped to keep the garden going through the transition into autumn.

But I’ve been missing out on one of the best flowers for this time of year – the dahlia.

Dahlias-pink and white 3059
These little dahlias are quite cute!

As a newcomer to dahlias, I find the choice of flowers quite bewildering. There are so many different types to get to know…cactus, semi-cactus, ball, pom-poms, anemone-flowered and more.

So far, I’ve decided that I like the peony-flowered and single dahlias the most because they have open centres (great for bees). The collarette dahlias are really interesting to photograph because they have two rings of petals – the large outer petals and a sweet little ring of twirly mini-petals around the central disc. (You can see one in the top-left corner of the photo-mosaic below.)

So far I’ve just planted two dahlias here. One is ‘Siberia’, a white, waterlily-flowered dahlia which you can also see in the mosaic below. The other is a seedling of ‘Bishop’s Children’ which has flowered in a rich bright red. That’s a small start, but next year I’ll be on the lookout for more.

Dahlias-8up-A
Some of the dahlias that I’ve photographed recently.

As usual, one of the biggest factors in my plant choices will be finding flowers that will make good photographs. Dahlias have a huge range of colours and shapes, so choosing will probably take some time.

For photography, I often look for flowers that have one colour with another blushed over them, or a different colour along the edges of petals, because it gives an interesting element to the photograph.

Shapes within the flower are important when photographing it too. Elegant curves, contrast of size and shape and interesting small details are all essential parts of a satisfying flower image.

Dahlia-red-3077
The brightest of reds.

I can foresee a slight snag with my new interest in dahlias. It’s going to be hard to restrict myself to the plants I actually have room for! Well, that will be a problem for next year. This year I must get on and improve the soil in the borders for them. And I’ll start working on my dahlia ‘to buy’ list, while dreaming about the wonderfully rich colours that they will bring to my garden…

Dahlias-pink-3104
A dahlia that I’d love to grow.

20 thoughts on “Rich With Colour: Dahlias

  1. They are fabulous plants aren’t they? I’ve never grown them, our garden, I thought, was too small. But like you I’ve added some later flowering plants, they’ve fitted in well and the garden is looking much better for it. I want as little bare earth as possible anyway! So, next year, I will include at least a couple of dahlias too; choosing which ones is another thing altogether, I like so many of them. We are lucky to be living within easy driving distance of Baddesley Clinton, an NT property which has the most amazing long dahlia border every year. We visit quite frequently so see it from start to finish. The number of varieties planted is wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds really helpful – seeing the dahlias actually growing would give a much better idea of what they’re really like than looking at pictures! πŸ™‚ (Actually, I’ve fallen in love with some of the dahlias I photographed, so now I need to find out what they are!

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  2. Dahlias are right up with the Hibiscus in my mind – I love them! They grow great here where I live and I have had several over the years. The deer also love them unfortunately. I like the purple ones best – my info says they are called Dahlinova Dahlia. Totally love love love them! Hope yours grow as well as mine do.

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      1. They are pretty small plants usually and I believe the rabbits like them too. I have not tried growing them on my back porch which is protected, so I might try that. BTW, you motivated me last week so I just bought a yellow hibiscus which also has some red ones in with it today. Excited to get them potted and see how they do.

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      2. Ooh, I love to incite a bit of plant-buying! πŸ™‚ Hope your hibiscus grow well! I’m very glad we don’t have deer or rabbits coming in here. When I was a kid, Mum’s tulips got eaten by sheep and a cow ate her veggie garden. (Which was there actually very little of to start with.) There were lots of rabbits about too, but the cat dealt with them very efficiently!

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      3. I love hibiscus but they are very messy – you have to clean up the porch after them like a pet. But they are so pretty and I have an enclosed back porch so usually the plants are pretty safe except for a few bugs that get in at time.

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    1. Me too, Ellie – I love gardening but I have a lot to learn. The great thing is that plants can be very good at surviving our learning process! πŸ™‚

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