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Delightful dahlias

3rd August 2021

For an injection of late-summer colour in the garden, you really can’t beat a dahlia. They come in all shapes and sizes, from pom pom to dinner plate, and are no longer written off as granny’s favourite. We love them…

Dahlia ‘Café au Lait’: exquisite and oh so stylish

They’re the perfect late summer plant, bringing vibrant colour and splendour into the garden at a time when it’s much needed – wonderful for pepping up tired borders. There are so many different varieties to tempt – we love pom poms and the huge, blousy dinner plate showstoppers such as ‘Fairway Spur’ and ‘Islander’. For a subtler look, choose a dahlia like ‘Café au Lait’, which has impressive large flowerheads but in an understated warm cream/pale blush. 

Ask the experts…

We asked The Barn Garden Centre in Oundle for their expert advice on dahlias, and they said: ‘Dahlias give a pop of colour on a grey cloudy Saturday. They give great displays in borders and come in a a rainbow of colours and hues. Deadhead regularly, cutting the stems back to a leaf joint, and you’ll be rewarded with blooms all through summer and into the autumn. If you’re cutting flowers to bring to indoors to display, cut when the flower is in full bloom, as the buds won’t open once cut. 

‘Dahlias love full sun and well-draining soil, but they are not fans of wind and cold. You can stake larger, heavier blooms to keep them looking their best. They are not hardy in winter, so the tubers will need protecting against frost.’

Pom pom dahlias are wonderfully uplifting in the garden
The Boxwood Café

While you’re at The Barn, we recommend The Boxwood Café. Open Monday to Sunday, this lovely eaterie with spacious patio area does breakfast until 11.30am and lunch (paninis, tarts, soup of the day, salads plus specials) from 11.45am. There’s afternoon tea and an enticing range of cakes and scones. The coffee is from Select Coffee Services in Peterborough; the meat is local too, from H Johnson & Sons Butchers in Thrapston. Little ones are well catered for, with an excellently priced children’s menu. Well-behaved dogs on leads are also welcome.

The Barn Garden Centre, Barnwell Road, Oundle, Peterborough PE8 5PB, 01832 273310,

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