We were delighted when our Marlow based customer told us he grew award-winning dahlias in his Alitex greenhouse. The dahlias are grown in one of our most popular, Wood Sage coloured, Mottisfont greenhouses from our National Trust Collection.
On the 1st April our client hand sowed one hundred and five dahlia seeds, he started by germinating each one in his greenhouse before planting them out into his garden and allotment. He hoped that a few would make the grade of new exhibition varieties.
One the 23rd August we visited Marlow to see the garden which is filled with not only dahlias but also fifty-five varieties of hydrangeas. The Saturday before we visited, 20th August, was the Chalfont St Peter Summer Show. Our customers dahlias earned the most points in their class winning him the Senegal Memorial Trophy.
Growing the perfect flower takes time and careful organisation. It can be a tedious process but our dahlia man has it down to a 'T'. He plants at least fifteen of each variety for the upcoming show in order to get a matching set of three blooms in dahlias classes. He then takes six buckets with slots around the edge to keep the flowers held in place and the heads protected. In each bucket there are two spare blooms in case a petal or stem gets damaged. Although this may sound a little extravagant to do each time there is a flower show, it's the perfect way to avoid damage and disappointment.
Our customer's enthusiasm for dahlias radiates as he talks of his own varieties he's been experimenting with, including the "Verney Molly" and "Verney Ruby", both named after his nieces. Perhaps he'll name one after Alitex when he runs out of nieces! Our client had nothing but praise for his greenhouse: "Alitex are wonderful, the staff are amazing. Having my greenhouse has helped enhance my hobby".
Seven helpful tips and facts on dahlias:
- Heat the dahlias 24hrs a day once they have been sown until they are ready to be potted up, they need heat and light for good growth.
- The dahlias will take four weeks to germinate, in the next two weeks they will grow up to two inches.
- From the second week in June you can begin planting them out, after all risk of frost has passed.
- Dahlias need lots of water and protection from slugs and snails.
- Using pot ash in the water and compost helps to enhance the colour of the dahlia and strengthen their stems.
- Our customers favours Tomorite, not only is it a great food for tomatoes, but it helps nurture the growth of the dahlia.
- For help and support on growing dahlias, you can join your local society.