The Tea Break Gardener

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday 15.09.18

My Gardening Week – Six on Saturday 15.09.18

It’s Dahlia a-go-go in my garden at the moment and these blowsy beauties are providing sought after late summer colour.

I’ve not featured six of one type of plant in previous Six on Saturdays, but with my garden overflowing with dahlias, this is the week.  I’m growing almost twenty types this year, some new tuburs and some which I overwintered in the ground.

Picking six has been harder than picking favourite tracks for Desert Island Discs but here goes…

Dahlia ‘Mambo’

Dahlia Mambo

First time growing this one and it’s unusual but alluring.  This Cuban dance-hall name conjures up exotic nights and flouncy dresses and this dahlia has a form to match.  The overall shape is quite a stiff multi-pointed starburst but the petals congregate closely towards the centre of the flower, creating a circular ruffle.  These central petals are a black-currant squash pink, edged in gold.

I’ve found it doesn’t mix visually with some of the other dahlias planted nearby but I can forgive its individuality – it’s great for flower arranging – the stiff stem and upright flower are very easy to handle.

Dahlia ‘Bacadi’

Dahlia Bacardi

Another Dahlia, another party-themed name.  This one is a prolific flowerer and has a lovely antique pale burgundy colouring and classic shape.

It’s probably just my imagination but there’s something about this one that conjures up images of a well turned out older lady.  It’s understated and traditional.  As the flowers tend to point skywards they appear rather aloof, as if thinking themselves superior to the brasher young up-start dahlias nearby.

As a result the name Bacardi just doesn’t work for me.  It’s more drunken teenager on the town than tea at the Ritz.

Dahlia ‘Blanc Y Verde’

Dahlia Blanc Y Verde

This was an unusual purchase for me as I don’t have much white in my garden and I more am attracted to the brighter end of the colour spectrum.

I bought this thinking I’d put it in the veg patch for cutting but ended up planting it in the new borders either side of my greenhouse, where I thought it wouldn’t jar with the baby pinks and pale yellows of other plants nearby.

Dahlia Blanc Y Verde and Michaelmas daisies in a green bottle vase

This is a very compact plant, not very tall and with bushy leaves.  It’s therefore been swamped by the sunflowers and cosmos I planted alongside.  This has certainly compromised the quality of the flowering and I have overlooked these flowers all summer.

Picked and placed in a vase alongside some white Michaelmas Daisies though, it’s easier to admire this flower.  For people with small gardens and a penchant for pale tones, this is a good choice.

Dahlia ‘Urchin’

Dahlia Urchin

When I potted up my new dahlia tuburs last spring this one was the first to sprout.  I did chuckle as the name suggested to me a cheeky street urchin – eager to find a way in the world.  Certainly the flowers have a raggedy, shredded clothing appearance.

Having now given the matter a little thought, I’m wondering if the name is designed to describe a sea urchin as the petals are so spiky in appearance.

Either way, this is a fun dahlia, with a joyous bright colour and one that mixes well with other dahlias in a flower arrangement.

Dahlia ‘Sam Hopkins’

Dahlia Sam Hopkins

Of course I searched online to find out who Sam Hopkins is or was. He could be a welsh international rugby league player, or a photographer, or a business consultant or someone else entirely.

I suppose the origins of this dahlia’s naming are irrelevant because it’s beauty creates it’s own identity.  It has a very blowsy, large open shape, the flowers being 15cm across.  The petals are luminous pink at the edges with more raspberry centres.

It’s a good example of a dahlia with an incredible texture, difficult to capture on camera.  Velvety is half way there as a textural description but when you stroke the petals, they feel cool and up close they simply glow.

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

I am fairly certain that this Dahlia led the charge in the resurgence of popularity in dahlia growing.  I remember lots of chat about it on Gardeners World in the 1990s, the open face and attractive bronzed foliage were a point of difference between this plant and some of the less tasteful dahlias on the market.

I don’t know why I consigned these tuburs to the veg patch but they have performed spectacularly up there, smothered in flowers and loved by the bees.  The pillar box red is my favourite thing about this variety and I think next year I will be brave enough to move it somewhere where it can be seen more often.

You can probably tell that Dahlias are my favourite flower – they are varied and colourful and provide so much material for flower arranging.  If you’ve never grown them before, and you’re tempted to try, click here to read how I go about growing dahlias.  I’ve also written about how easy it is to multiply the number you have by taking cuttings.  Click here to read this.


Six on Saturday is a weekly meme – take a look at the comments at the base of host The Propagator to see more ‘sixes’ from other keen gardeners from all over the world.


  1. Tim Hewitt September 15, 2018 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Lovely. What a fulness they bring.

    • Katharine September 16, 2018 at 11:43 am - Reply

      I know. Some of mine are a bit overcrowded but they keep on flowering away regardless. So beautiful.

  2. Fred September 15, 2018 at 10:27 am - Reply

    The first words of your Six reminded me of an old Wham song that you probably know .. It’s because of the “Dahlia a-go-go…”. So, I read all your Six with this song in my head …😂 I love the first Dahlia you presented (Mambo) So original!

    • Katharine September 16, 2018 at 11:42 am - Reply

      It’s never a bad thing having Wham tunes in your head all day long!

  3. Tara September 15, 2018 at 10:47 am - Reply

    O think the reason Bacardi reminds you of an older lady is that it looks exactly like the hats my nana used to wear for special occasions!

    • Katharine September 16, 2018 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Yes – my Granny had a few like that too!

  4. Granny September 15, 2018 at 11:44 am - Reply

    No dahlias for me, this year…… because I didn’t plant any! However, seeing the beautiful ones in your Six-on-Saturday makes me want to grow some next year. Lovely colours.

    • Katharine September 16, 2018 at 11:42 am - Reply

      I so hope you do grow some next year!

  5. Lora Hughes September 15, 2018 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    These are all so gorgeous. Mambo is quite original, but my fav has to be blanc y verde. Your arrangement in the bottle is so lovely, too. Dahlias are so easy to love.

    • Katharine September 16, 2018 at 11:41 am - Reply

      Yes – the Blanc Y Verde is very lovely. So pure.

  6. Jim September 15, 2018 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    It’s so hard to resist getting more and more dahlias once you get started, there’s such an endless range of colours and shapes. I would struggle to pick six favourites, it would imply I liked the others less, which with the odd exception, isn’t true.

    • Katharine September 16, 2018 at 11:40 am - Reply

      I know. I did struggle and I just wandered round the garden and felt guilty about the ones I’d left off!

  7. Angie {Garden Spells} September 15, 2018 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Oh you are speaking my language. My dahlias are going insane and I am loving this time of the year!

    • Katharine September 16, 2018 at 11:40 am - Reply

      A fellow dahliaddict – lovely to hear form you.

  8. Jonathan Jones September 16, 2018 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Sniff. Sob. My dahlias have been pants this year. Absolute pants. Your 6 all look fabulous. I am consumed with jealousy.

    • Katharine October 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      Please don’t be. Next year I feel sure they’ll be better for you…

  9. thequiltinggardener September 17, 2018 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous Six. Blanc y Verde followed by Sam Hopkins for me. I’ve graduated towards dark red Dahlias and need to bring in more variety. These two will definitely go on the list

    • Katharine September 21, 2018 at 7:26 pm - Reply

      Glad to hear it. I went for a few more paler ones this year too.

  10. Ciar September 20, 2018 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Very envious of your stunning dahlias. I haven’t managed any this year but you have inspired me to give them a go next year. I particularly love Bishop of Llandaff.

    • Katharine September 21, 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      You never regret growing Dahlias. Mine have been a bit blown over in these winds but I’ve been out picking those that have toppled and the house is filled with bright colours.

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