Growing in borders
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