Bor­der dahlias

It’s time to let th­ese gor­geous late blooms do the talk­ing

Garden News (UK) - - About Now -

Dahlias are the late sum­mer sirens of the gar­den. Brassy and self-con­fi­dent, smoul­der­ingly ex­otic or sub­tly de­mure, they en­chant with their kalei­do­scope of colours and range of in­trigu­ing forms. Let those who like show­ing the blooms fo­cus on cre­at­ing per­fec­tion, while you dis­play them in bor­ders in all their glory, grow­ing the in­ter­est­ing types that are just a lit­tle bit out of the or­di­nary.

When grow­ing them in bor­ders plan ahead, leav­ing suf­fi­cient space among ex­ist­ing peren­ni­als and shrubs so they don’t swamp them and can be eas­ily lifted at the end of the year. There are smaller va­ri­eties that are more suited to the edges of bor­ders or pots. They also look good com­bined with late an­nu­als such as cos­mos and zin­nias. Most are easy to please, be­ing vig­or­ous grow­ers they need lit­tle fer­tiliser, just mois­ture and sun. Taller forms will need stak­ing, par­tic­u­larly if the blos­soms are large and eas­ily wa­ter­logged. When blooms are spent, trim them off to en­cour­age more to come and pro­long the daz­zling dis­play.

Af­ter or­der­ing tu­bers by late win­ter, or ob­tain­ing rooted cut­tings, start them off in pots in spring and plant them out af­ter the last frost. In au­tumn, de­pend­ing on where you live, re­move top growth af­ter it has been frosted, then lift the tu­bers and store for win­ter, ready to

start the cy­cle again next year or try another va­ri­ety or two.

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