Every year I try a couple of new-to-me dahlia cultivars, or cultivars I haven’t grown for a while. Some are grown in pots, and some in the ground for cutting. Quite a few warmer tones got onto the list. I did choose a few singles which are more pollinator friendly. Most disappointing last year was ‘Waltzing Matilda’ which never really got going for me, the few late flowers looked a bit nondescript and miserable. Single yellow ‘Bishop of York’ was also a bit shy to flower, obviously not liking its mixed pot residence.
The most reliable performer for length of flowering by far was anemone-flowered ‘Rockstar‘, (Gitts, 2008, US) from Riverside Bulbs. The leaves are quite cut and decorative, different to most ‘normal’ dahlias. Some of the heads once they had finished flowering popped-off the stems by themselves, (but not all). It’s a pity the colour is slightly flat. This grew in a large pot with ‘Josie’.
Anemone-flowered ‘Josie‘ (from Sarah Raven) was later into flower but also performed well once she got going. Notice the different composition of the centre compared to ‘Rockstar’.
Decorative dahlia ‘Crème de Cognac‘ (Hydes Nursery), unfortunately got swamped later-on by a D campanulata, only producing a few flowers before inundation. I may grow this one again somewhere else as I like the bronzy colour with the contrasting dark petal backs, (excuse the nibbling).
Mini Decorative, ‘David Howard‘, (Howard, 1960, UK), has been a favourite for many years. The fruit pastille orange has depth, the dark leaves show off the warm flowers beautifully. First time in a few years I had grown him, fell in love all over again!
I sort of take it back. I had orchid-flowered ‘Verrone’s Obsidian‘, (Verrone, 2011, US), two years ago in a pot, it produced a lot of foliage but few flowers, I was disappointed. Last year I had forgotten I’d left another one in the ground over winter in the UK, and here it is, better performance all-round.