Dahlias in Fashion

 This dahlia has huge dinner-plate sized flowers.
Floppy White Dahlia

'Dahlias are back in fashion' the weekend newspaper gardening article twitters at me. I am red in the face from the first great autumn rubbish burn-up, and have retired inside, despondent, for a cup of tea.

Fashionable in White?

The topic of garden fashion is not high on my mental agenda. I'm more interested in burning strategies where I could trick my personal energy reserves. Perhaps a burnathon? Family relatives (and even the Moosey house guest) could sponsor me if I kept burning for 24 hours. I could have sausage sizzle breaks, and younger son could and sing campfire folk songs with his guitar to keep me going...

You see, I've always done dahlias. I've never doubted their hidden style. I've got the big floppy whites, which look very cottage garden. Then I've got the reject reds - orangy reds, pinky reds, scarlet reds, yellowy reds, apricotty reds - bloody reds...

 I picked these for the house.
A Collection of Red Dahlias

Fashionable in Red?

I am a totally committed red-dahlia photographer, too. I'm not shy or embarrassed - red dahlias have always suited my large country garden, after all. Images like 'Cerise-Red Dahlia in Potager' litter the pages of my journal each year from mid-summer until the first frosts. 'Red Dahlia with Yellow Middle' is another firm favourite. And no, I don't just photograph the same plant!

Yellow Cactus Dahlias

Fashionable in Yellow?

My dahlias turn up without fanfare (and survive without stakes), producing colour in nearly all my late summer gardens. Occasionally there's an oddball - a yellow cactus flower (where could that have come from?) or a bi-coloured yellow and red. Often my dahlias set seeds which grow into beautifully coloured new Moosey hybrids.

The newspaper article casually mentions the upper-class dahlia called Bishop of Llandaff. Here we go! I've always known this dahlia is fashionable - there was a time when it was the only one allowed in a stylish garden.

 I like dark-foliaged dahlias very much.
A Dahlia with Class - Bishop of Llandaff

I've got one Bishop of Llandaff which is desperately late in flowering, wallowing in the shade of a striped Miscanthus grass. I've even done some amateur breeding from it (in other words, I collected seeds). The results were not quite like the parent, but the greeny-wine coloured foliage was better than nothing!

Back in fashion! I've never been out!