As I type this blog on a winter day with plenty of white on the ground and a nice blue sky, I thought some "blog color" would be in order. With the Holiday Light Show (HLS) in good order (see www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org for information) and the garden put to bed for the winter (aside from our winter pruning), my thoughts turn to ordering for the 2016 season. As I review my notes and images from 2015 travels, I can't believe the number of dahlia selections that I stumbled upon. My trial garden visits to Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan had more dahlias then I had ever seen and my experience over in the UK also confirmed the importance of the dahlia in summer and fall planting schemes. Above is Dahlia 'XXL Veracruz'.
I remember the summer I started at RBG in 1998. There was a large bed of enormous dahlias with the dinner plate size blooms. They were gorgeous although they all had something in common which included significant staking and high maintenance. The trend in dahlias now is more compact height (under 30") with sturdy stems and frequently, dark foliage coloration. The gamut of dahlias is amazing and if you can ever go to a Dahlia Society flower show anywhere, do it! I went to a show at the Chicago Botanic Garden years ago and could not believe the variability in color and size of the dahlias on display. The dahlia aficionados were intense but understandably in love with these excellent blooms. Regardless, all the varieties here (and I photographed literally hundreds of varieties) were under 30" in height and photographed in peak summer.
Dahlia 'Large Temptation Red'
Dahlia 'Hypnotica Lavender'
Dahlia 'XXL Taxco'
Dahlia 'Dalaya Red & White'
Dahlia 'Dalaya Shiva'
Dahlia 'Starsister Orange Stripes'
Dahlia 'Maxi Romero'
Dahlia 'Starsister Red & White'
Dahlia 'Mystic Memories'
Dahlia 'XXL Sunset'
Dahlia 'Delightful Georgia Peach'
Dahlia 'XXL Durango'