VAL BOURNE’S GARDEN WILDLIFE
Why grow single and double dahlias? Val explains
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.