Monday, 29 September 2008


A really handy rule to follow, when weeding is: never pull anything up unless you know exactly what it is.  So when I spotted, last spring, a dark little seedling in a place where a mixture of dahlias had grown the year before, I knew it was worth keeping.This infant had but two seed leaves and was less than a centimetre high -  far too vulnerable to slug attack to be left on its own.  So I potted it, nurtured it and coaxed it on until May when the sturdy little plant was ready to go back into the border.   The leaves were chocolate-coloured and I couldn't wait to see what the flower would be like. 

But this little bastard - parentage unknown - wasn't going to be hurried.  June crawled by, one wet day after another.  July was worse, with gales as well as rain.  By August, when I'd staked everything up to its neck, and when the stakes themselves were being blown over, still not a peep out of Baby.  Nothing, nada, rien!  Not a bloody petal!

But September brought the result I was gasping for.   A nice plant had developed with good height - about a metre -  excellently balanced shape with dark, lustrous foliage.  And there, among the brooding leaves - the first bud.  Hurrah!

The excitement of waiting for a new seedling to flower is excruciatingly delicious.  Unlike a commercial breeder, who plants out thousands and selects one or two if he's lucky, I had all my eggs in this one basket. And it was an accident at that.

The first flower opened two weeks ago.  And now it has produced second and third flowers.  A lovely, dusky-but-bright, rosy, mauvy, purply pink.  Possiby too girly for some and too tarty for others.  But it's a single, which is a mega plus for a doubles disliker - and terrific for bees and butterflies - and I absolutely love it!

Has this dahlia commercial value?  Probably not.  Is it pretty - well I think so. 

So, in the unlikely event that you've read this far, thanks for your attention, and for sharing the ineffable joy and delight of seeing my baby blossom.  I'm going to call it 'Pewter Rose.'  Yes.  I quite like that Dahlia 'Pewter Rose.'   As pretty from the back as the front!


  1. I love the dark-leaved dahlias for their great impact even when not in flower and the subtle shade variations on the petals of this one are rather nice.

    Hoping to try some of the species dalias here next year, including imperialis. Have you tried any of those?

  2. A bit cold where I live for Dahlia imperialis. There doesn't seem enough time for it to reach flowering size before winter comes back. But the foliage is pretty fab anyway. I've seen it in the wild, in the Andes. What a monsta!

    I used to grow D. merckii - which is delicate, dainty and easy. The pale lilac flowers keep on coming. But I moved house and it was one of the plants that didn't come with me.

    I'd also like to grow D. coccinea, especially a dark red form I spotted a year or two ago at Powys Castle.

  3. Do I see 'Fascination' as one of the parents perhaps?

  4. You certainly do. 'Fascination' was growing in the same border last year - and what a gaudy old tart she is!

  5. In my book, gaudy old tarts are the best! Especially when they're dark leaved Dahlias :)

  6. I think it is lovely and particularly like the name 'Pewter Rose'.