Dahlias delight at Hampton Court

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Apparently about 170,000 people visit the Hampton Court Flower Show and stay for about 5 hours. I must be the exception as I arrived yesterday at 5pm and left as the Show was closing at 7.30pm. If you go after 3pm it is £17 rather than £27 and its also less busy and more relaxed.

The weather was dry but very overcast  –  I took the boat as its such a great way to arrive at this beautiful location.

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There were people everywhere carrying all varities of plants –  most popular this year were dahlias – in all shades with wonderful big blousy flowers.Dahlias are a must for any exotic garden  – they thrive in hot summer but love moist soil so are just perfect for the mixed bag of weather  we are getting this year.There are around 50,000 different flowers – except blue apparently – which meas  you should find something to suit your garden.http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plantprofile_dahlia.shtml

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Dahlias definitely do better with plenty of sunlight but they also need from one to two inches of rain every week.The key to success is a really good rich soil with plenty of organic material, a regular pruning, possibly staking as the plants grow ever taller and the occasional feed.

Dahlias are actually grown from a tuber, a bulb like structure, and are classified as bulb plants. Plant them near the beginning of June and they will provide wonderful colour late into the warm Autumns that we seem to experience every year with the onset of climate change.

One of the most popular being The Bishop of Llandaff, a tall elegant plant with intense dark purple foliage and a generous amount of large peony- flowered, semi-double intense bright red flower heads, each two or three inches across on long, tall stems. This was introduced to the UK in 1927 and was a favourite of the late Chrisopher Lloyd in his legendary garden at Great Dixter in East Sussex.http://www.greatdixter.co.uk/

Below are some photos of The Bishop of Llandaff growing in a delightful London garden

The flowers look simply stunning as the sunlight catches the deep purple foliage and bold flowers.

Many gardeners dig up dahlia tubas for the winter to be re-planted the following year. If your garden is sheltered from frost, try leaving them in and covering them with straw as many will do better this way as long as the ground does not become frozen or water-logged.

Or, if you fancy growing these delectable plants from seed, read the interesting piece about propogating dahlias on the BBC Gardeners World web-site: http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/projects/dahlias-from-seed/index.jsp

This post was written by:

- who has written 866 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and is keen to "manage" the effects of the weather on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and I hope that it will continue to grow, allowing global gardeners to communicate about the effects of climate change on our plants and the future of our gardens.

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