August 11, 2010

Bags of glamour

Whoop, whoop! Dark and luscious dahlias have arrived in the garden - and they are just the right side of flamboyant - glamourous rather than Dame Edna! I have Bishop of Aukland (on the left above), Sam Hopkins (to the right), and Rip City which is a dark pinky purple cactus type.

They are fast-growing, flower like mad til the first frosts and look glorious in the garden and vase. They are velvet-petalled and have smart, deeply-coloured stems and foliage. If only they were fully hardy they would be my top plant.

These dark beauties look amazing with lime green (think nicotania, zinnias, dill etc).  Please check out Sarah Raven's website here for futher inspiration. I love how they look in bouquets,

and they look great in big, full on arrangements or posies like this one next to some tea-light holders in our sittingroom,

I do have one question for more experienced florists than me: do they reliably last in a vase more than 4-5 days and does searing the stems make them last longer? There seems a lot of conflicting infomation out there!


  1. No, no they don't last long at all. Maybe yours will have a bit longer life because they are SO fresh. I have never heard of searing the stems, poppies yes, dahlias???

    But my god what a beautiful rich color and so nicely petaled.

    I will ask around about the branding!


  2. Hello Belinda

    You asked about direct sowing Nicotiana.

    You can after the last frost, but you're unlikely to see blooms until September.

    I start mine off mid March in pots under a cold frame. They take time to get big enough to pot on and I generally plant them out some time in May. Watch for slugs and snails when they're small!

  3. Thank you both for the useful info.x

  4. Gorgeous flowers. Wish I had taken the time to plant some this year. Alas, they are not hardy here, either.