Dallying among the dahlias

dahlias in muted shades

Gorgeous dahlias in muted shades

Without doubt, the undisputed queen of the August flower patch is the dahlia, blooming its socks off from July, right through to the first frosts of Autumn. It’s hard to believe, when cutting these beauties that they were first bred to be eaten as tubers, rather than enjoyed in the vase. It’s an interesting taste apparently, somewhere between a carrot and a potato, with a dash of celery thrown in for good measure. Though when first spotted, growing wild on the hillsides of Mexico I’ll bet it was the flowers that drew admiring glances rather than the thought of a quick dahlia stew.

It’s one of the miracles of the flower patch. Plant what looks like an unremarkable muddy bunch of chubby fingers and you’ll be rewarded with dozens of beautiful blooms in myriad shades from  classy, muted pastels to statement-making jewel hues. Some dahlias are as large as dinner plates, whilst others are delicate, neat pompoms. A flower of such infinite variety is a definite winner for the florist and the flower grower.

Classy Cafe au lait

Classy Cafe au Lait

We grew many of ours from seed last year, lifted them, stored over winter and potted them up in the spring before planting them out. This year we took some cuttings too and now they’re romping away in their corner of the garden and we’re cutting almost every day.

Perfect in a sophisticated wedding arrangement



or as a single statement bloom.


We even sent a bucketful over to a nearby National Trust property this week so that visiting children could try their hand at some quirky posy-making.

Pop into Hartley Farm Shop and you might be lucky enough to bag yourself a bunch.

Dahlia time is well and truly with us.

As well as enjoying the dahlias and all the other gorgeous blooms in the garden we’re making a concerted effort to keep you all up-to-date with what’s happening at Not so Secret Garden via this blog and our newsletter.

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