Monday, April 14, 2008

Dahlia tubers arrived

Received my spring order from Old House Gardens today, which included Dahlia atropurpurea (pictured at left, courtesy of OHG's online catalog). According to OHG, D. atropurpurea is a dark purple form of D. pinnata, one of the first three wild dahlias to be exported to Europe from Mexico.

On one of my regular visits to J.C. Raulston Arboretum back in October, I was intrigued by the D. coccinea blooming in the geophyte border of the rooftop garden and photographed them for my records (above). I had never seen a species dahlia, or even heard of them for that matter, but of course hybrids have to come from somewhere! So when I saw OHG's D. atropurpurea, I had to order it. I love the idea of growing dahlias as wildflowers, and I like the single form of the blossom. The species dahlias at the arboretum were going like gangbusters, in spite of extreme drought.

I also received in my order the dahlias Little Beeswings (ca. 1909), Madame Stappers (ca. 1947) and Andries' Orange (ca. 1936). Until today, the only named dahlia I had was Prince Noir (ca. 1954), which would be the dahlia I would grow if I could only choose one. Besides it, I have several heirloom passalongs from two sources: Mrs. Rosa Hicks of Banner Elk, N.C., and the late Mrs. Brownie Johnson of Harrells, N.C., whom I miss dearly.

I found a little more on species dahlias here.

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