At this time of the year, dahlias are very much on my mind. I would normally be visiting the dahlia growers and breeders in Holland to make my choices for our next spring catalogue. Now travel is opening up this should again be possible; pictures are no substitute for seeing the living plant.
We have our Dahlia Festival at Pashley Manor starting on the 9th September which, all being well, is still scheduled to go ahead. The gardens opened again on 4th July and I would urge anyone who can to visit, they are undoubtedly one of our most treasured British gardens.
Dahlias are heavy feeders and will benefit from a liquid nitrogen fertiliser feed in mid-summer. Be careful not to overfeed them as this will encourage too much foliage growth at the expense of the flowers. Keep them evenly moist but do not overwater.
The shorter bedding dahlias can pretty much be left to do their own thing, but the taller dahlias will need staking. The canes should be about 30cm shorter than the expected height of the plant and be careful not to damage the tubers. Now is a perfect time to de-bud the tall dahlias. Remove the two outer buds from the three that form at the end of the flowering stem. This gives a much better show; if all the buds are left the flowers tend to be covered up and lost in the plant.
Enjoy your garden,