VAL BOURNE’S GAR­DEN WILDLIFE

Why grow sin­gle and dou­ble dahlias? Val ex­plains

Amateur Gardening - - This Week In Gardening -

al­lot­ment are dug up, hope­fully with the right la­bel.

I have lots of favourite dahlias and th­ese in­clude the rich-pur­ple ‘Thomas A. Edi­son, the mauve-in­fused white ‘Eve­line’, the black-red ‘Sam Hop­kins’ and the soft-or­ange ‘David Howard’. Th­ese are all dou­bles, with flow­ers that last much longer.

How­ever, th­ese are not bee-friendly be­cause they don’t have a pollen or nec­tar sup­ply. It’s the sin­gle dahlias and the col­larettes that please the pol­li­na­tors, so I have a mix of sin­gles and dou­bles. If the frosts al­low, my dahlias can go on un­til early No­vem­ber and th­ese days some pol­li­na­tors are still on the wing. My favourite sin­gle dahlias in­clude a dark­leaved New Zea­land-bred dahlia called ‘Ma­genta Star’. This was the va­ri­ety we used as a bench­mark on the dahlia tri­als that used to be held at RHS Gar­den Wis­ley in Sur­rey. ‘Ma­genta Star’ is hard to find be­cause it doesn’t make good tu­bers. You could grow any of the Bish­ops, in­clud­ing the mag­nif­i­cent ‘Bishop of Llandaff ’, which is a pe­ony-flow­ered post-of­fice red. There are also se­ries of sin­gle dahlias, in­clud­ing Happy Sin­gle.

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