Above Dahlia Kaiy Helen

A ball type with very neat and compact blooms that look equally good in the garden or cut and displayed in a vase indoors. Dahlia thrive in rich soil and need a sunny position. The globular flowers are produced on stiff stems that with this variety carry the flowers above the foliage To encourage rapid growth the soil must be carefully enriched before planting with the addition of bulky well-rotted compost or manure worked in well with a fork

Bail-type dahlias n England can be traced back to a nursery in Hammersmith, ,_ondon in about 1818. The nursery, owned by Mr T. Lee received tubers from France and included early forms of ball types.

Dahlia Frans

Left Dahlia Earl Marc

A distinctive semi-cactus, not as quilled or tubular as the cactus types The/lowers have flatter petals

Left Dahlia Earl Marc

A distinctive semi-cactus, not as quilled or tubular as the cactus types The/lowers have flatter petals


These half-hardy tuberous plants, though easily damaged by frost, are unsurpassed tor bringing colour to a garden quickly. There are several classilications and many varieties Indeed, each year hundreds ol new varieties are introduced by dahlia specialists while others are no longer marketed When the dahlia was first grown as an exhibition flower in Iheearfy 1800s it consisted solely of ball types. To indicate their value, some new varieties were sold for as much as a guinea. At first no classification was recognized tor ihe ball types, or tor various other types of dahlia that were produced However catalogues were soon issued by traders in dahlias and ihese contained a rough classification In 1904 the British National Dahlia Society in conjunction with the Joint Dahlia Committee published a classified list called the Classification and Description of Dahlias A nemo ne-t lowered [60cm-lm/ 2-3>jiiJ; These have double flowers with flat outer petals and shon, tubular inner ones Flowering is from mid summer to the frosts of autumn.

Ball-type [90cm/3ft): As implied these have ball-shaped flowers with tubular petals displaying blunt ends There are Small Ball types with blooms 10-15cm (4-6in) wide, and Miniature Ball forms with flowers up to 10cm (4in) wide. Cactus and Semi-cactus (90cm-t 5m/3-5ft): These are divided into five groupings—Miniature (blooms up to I0cm/4in wide]: Small (blooms 10-l5cm/4-6in wide): Medium (blooms !5-20cm/6-8in wide); Large (blooms 20-25cm/8-10in wide), and Giant (blooms 25cm/ 10m or more wide) Cactus types have petals rolled back or quilled for more than halt their length Semi-cactus types have similar petals, but quilled or rolled back for less than halt ot their total length.

Dwarf dahlias.ire Ihoughl to have been developed from low-growing forms found in 1750 on the lower slopes of the Sierra del Ajusca mountains in Mexico. The plants were said to be about 38-45cm (t5-18in) high,

Lett Dahtia Scaur Princess

A beautifully-coloured decorative type which brings distinction to any garden or well-decomposed manure added. Is required. Add a sprinkling of bonemeal before setting the tubers 10cm (4in) deep in the soil during mid to late spring. 11 you are planting sprouted tubers, take care that you do not plant them too early, as frost will damage them. The plants will need staking. Nip out ibe growing tips of all shoots to encourage sideshoots to develop. If you want large flowers, remove sideshoots and buds from around the developing flowers Removing dead flowers helps in the development of further blooms. In autumn gently dig up the lubers about a week after the foliage has been blackened by frost. Remove soil from the tubers and store ihem upside down for a few

Lett Dahtia Scaur Princess

A beautifully-coloured decorative type which brings distinction to any garden

Collarette [75cm-1 m/2&4ft): These have blooms with a single outer ring of flat ray florets and a ring of small floreis in the centre, forming a disc Decorative: These have double flowers without central discs. They are formed of broad, flat ray florets This grouping is subdivided into: Miniature (90cm-t -2m/3-4ft): these have flowers up to 10cm (4in) wide. Small £1 ■1 2m/3!i>-4ft)' flowers 10-15cm (4-6in) wide Medium (1-1 '2m/3-4ft]: flowers 15-20cm (6-Sin) wide. Large (1-1 -5m/3^-5ft): flowers 20-25cm (8-1 Oin) wide. Giant (1 -2-1 -5nV4-5ftJ: flowers 25cm (1 Oin) or more wide. Pa eony-f lowered (up to 90cm/3ft): flowers formed of two or more rings of flat ray florets, with a central disc. Pompon :;90cm-1 2m/3-4Hj flowers closely resemble those of Ball types, but are more globular and do not exceed 5cm (2in) wide. The florets curls inwards for their entire length Single-flowered [45-7 5cm/1 2'rftJ: flowers upio 10cm (4in) wide, with a single row of petals arranged round a central disc. Cultivation: Well-drained soil with plenty of moisture-retentive compost

Dahlias are superb for fil ing large blank areas n mixed borders, where they create spectacular coiourtul dtspiays during late summer and intoearly autumn until frosts damage them. They are soon blackened by frost

Let! Dahlia Vicky Jackson

A decorative cactus, producing masses of flowers from mid-summer onwards until the frosts of late autumn

Let! Dahlia Vicky Jackson

A decorative cactus, producing masses of flowers from mid-summer onwards until the frosts of late autumn

Right Dahlia Willo s Violet

A beautiful pompon type, with deep violet flowers and a height ofabout tm[3%ft) It is excellent as an exhibition dahlia.

Dahlia Willo Violet

weeks 10 dry them out Then place them in boxes of peat in a dry, frosf-prooi position until the following year Propagation: The easiest way for the home gardener to do this is to divide the tubers in spring Dahlias In floral art: As well as creating colour in the garden the flowers of dahlias are ideal lor decorating the home The art of presenting dahlias for room decoraiion is not difficult and part of the skill in using them relies on the choice of colours. Blue flowers, whatever their tone, need to be carefully used as the colour tends to fade in artificial light Purples and mauves. however can be used subtly, especially where they echo the same tones n the room However when used with white-flowered dahlias, which both lighten and dramatize the arrangement, the effect can be quite different. In contrast, other colours such as yellow and orange are much warmer and radiate a sirong feeling of cheerfulness Those (lowers rich in scarlet however can create the effect ol warmth in rooms facing east and north and not subjected to strong summer sunshine. Rooms facing north or east generally benefil from warm colours, such as orange, scarlet, yellow and amber, whereas cool colours such as pale mauve, lilac-pink, purple shades and lavender are better in south and west-tacing rooms it strong-coloured blooms are used they can be given even greater impact by mixing them with pastel-coloured flowers

Collarette type dahlias jnginated in tne municipal gardens of the Pare de la Tete d Or at Lyons France during the last years ol ihe last century Specimens of these plants arrived in Britain in 1901

Echinacea purpurea

Purple Cone Flower [UK and USA] A welt-known hardy herbaceous perennial, formerly called Ftudbeckia purpurea. Its upright stems bear purple-crimson daisy-like flowers, 10cm (4in) wide, at their tops from mid to late summer The lance-shaped. dark green leaves are slightly toothed and rough to the touch. Several superb varieties are

Left Echinacea purpurea

This stately herbaceous perennial is iustifiably famous for its richly coloured flowers, from mid-summer to autumn The dene-like orange centres to the flowers are a particularly attractive feature.

Echinacea purpurea s a dominant flower, with the erect stems often holding the flowers high above neighbouring plants, like Islands of colour Surrounding plants should have subdued colours

planting out in the garden. But the division of established clumps in spring or autumn is a much easier and quicker method.

available, including Robert Bloorn (carmine-purple), 'The King' (cr'mson-purple) and White Lustre [white petalled with deep orange centres].

Height: 90cm-1-2m [3-4tt] Spread: 6Q-75cm (2-2Vjft] Cultivation: Well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position are essential for success. Set the plants in position in spring, and in autumn cut their stems down to soii-ievel Propagation: Although it can be increased from seeds sown in spring at 13°C [55°F], division of established clumps during spring or autumn is a much easier method. Use only the young parts from around the outside of the clump for replanting in the border.

Above: Echinops ritro

This hardy herbaceous perennial is highly chehshed by flower arrangers. The globular flower heads appear during mid-summer and last a long lime after curling

Left Echium plantagineum Monarch Dwarf Hybrids

A hardy dwarf mixture, up to 30cm [iftj high these hybrids produce flowers m many pastel tints. When grown in a sunny position, they seldom fait to attract bees

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Organic Gardeners Composting

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