This may seem like an odd time to mention dahlias but it is time to start them in pots and almost time to plant tubers, straight in the ground outside. I am also growing some from seed and they have been pricked out into their cell trays. Among the seedlings are some ‘Honka Babies’ which are seeds saved from the ‘Honka’ dahlias. If you have not grown these before they may be a nice surprise, especially if you tend to think that dahlias are brash and should be kept in church halls for flower shows.
The original, yellow ‘Honka’ was bred in the USA by J Kieffer in 1990 and although it looked strange, with its eight, inrolled ‘petals’ what made me interested in it is the fact that it is fragrant. Now it does not smell of roses or jasmine but it does have a light, pleasant scent and that is a bonus. The flowers are not huge but they are showy without being bulky and the plants branch well and grow to a very useful 1-1.2m high and flower all summer.
Of course, dahlias are known as superb cut flowers but I don’t honestly think these are the best. But they are fine. It was inevitable that the same style of flower would appear in different colours and the other year I grew masses of the original as well as ‘Orange Honka’…
and ‘Red Honka’.
Of course, these can be saved from year to year by digging up and saving the tubers.
Do I need to mention that these attract butterflies?