When all the rest of Summer colour is retreating back into the earth (by the way my 6 year old daughter said to me the other day -” Daddy I have been thinking and I know why the earth is brown. It is like paints. When all the colours get mixed up they make brown just like all the things in the garden get mixed together in the ground”) it is Dahlias that make one feel winter couldn’t possibly be on it’s way. This display of Dahlias, grown by one of my clients in a small but packed raised bed, yields cut flowers for months.
Dahlias were cultivated by the Aztecs for their edible tubers and even today they are eaten in Mexico They didn’t come to Europe until the end of the 18th Century when a French botanist Thiery de Menonville, was in Mexico to steal the cochineal insect valued for it’s scarlet dyes, saw it and decided to send some seeds back to Europe.They are found mainly in the mountains and highlands of Mexico which is presumable why they can survive here – though most need to be stored away in a frost free shed over winter)