By: Ted Collins
240 pages, Col Photos
This title profiles some 1800 varieties of dahlia. Arranged in alphabetical order, and illustrated throughout with over 500 colour photographs, this is a useful guide for both dahlia enthusiasts and exhibitors. Each entry includes a short description of growth habit; type of bloom and colour; advice on the variety's potential for garden, exhibition or cut flower use; the raiser, country of origin and year of introduction (where known); and source of supply of plants or tubers. Practical advice on methods of propagation and successful cultivation is given, along with a brief history of the dahlia, tips on exhibiting and ideas for garden use. The guide also explains the different forms of dahlias and gives a calendar for their care.
Dahlias have long been overlooked in the gardening world as brash, common, loud, vulgar and garish, a showman's province only. But over the last few years a revolution has been taking place and many varieties such as "Bishop of Llandaff" and "David Howard" are now coveted collector's plants, appearing in gardens up and down the country and across the class spectrum. Easy to grow, relatively pest and disease resistant and a dream to overwinter and propagate, they have received a bad press until now, belying these facts. Thanks to hybridisation, more and more varieties are appearing on the market - dwarf dahlias for pots and containers, more compact growers minimising the need for staking, bronzed foliage and a huge range of flower types from dainty pompoms, sumptuous waterlily, spidery cactus and more. For those who have just discovered the dahlia desire or those already smitten and looking to show, flower arrangers and exhibitionists, this excellent book by one of the country's leading dahlia experts, Ted Collins, will prove an invaluable reference. Not only offering cultivation and propagation advice but show tips and an annual calendar of care, it is first and foremost an identification guide to the vast range of cultivars on offer today. Arranged alphabetically by name, many photographed, it is a guide to the myriad of colours available today. An excellent, long-overdue book on the subject, expertly written and produced. - Lucy Watson
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