Grow­ing in bor­ders

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

Dahlias aren’t very good at push­ing up through herba­ceous plants, so the eas­i­est way to grow them is to give them their own bit of space. You could cre­ate a gap at the front of a border for shorter va­ri­eties, such as the orange whirligig ‘Waltz­ing Matilda’. how­ever i pre­fer the sys­tem used at Great Dix­ter in East sus­sex, a gar­den that has al­ways used dahlias to great ef­fect.

The late Christo­pher lloyd cham­pi­oned these flam­boy­ant flow­ers when ev­ery­one else damned them. and Fer­gus Gar­rett’s team con­tinue to do so by leav­ing sub­stan­tial spa­ces in the border. These are filled, first, with spring flow­ers like tulips, wall­flow­ers and forget-me-nots, which are lifted in early June, mak­ing room for cut­ting-raised dahlias. Teamed with sum­mer favourites (the likes of ama­ran­thus, Ver­bena

bonar­ien­sis and, maybe, can­nas) they never fail to im­press.

While it may seem in­dul­gent, there is still scope for a ded­i­cated dahlia border. For in­spi­ra­tion, see The sa­lu­ta­tion Gar­dens in sand­wich, Kent, where head gar­dener steve Ed­ney is a wiz­ard at com­bin­ing and blend­ing colours. i grow mine in a ded­i­cated bed on the al­lot­ment, sim­ply be­cause it’s the only way i can suc­cess­fully raise more than 50 dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties – per­fect for cut­ting to brighten up the house.

Be in­spired by the bor­ders at The Sa­lu­ta­tion in Kent

At Great Dix­ter dahlias bed down with the likes of Ver­bena bonar­ien­sis

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