Blue Mountains News

Exquisite Display of Dahlias in Full Bloom at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah

Source: Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands
Posted: 29 Mar 2019
Dahlia Winkie Volcano Photography by Greg Bourke
Dahlias are considered one of the most spectacular garden flowers because of their unbelievable variety and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah has a dazzling collection in full bloom until the end of April.

These beauties have been in our cool-climate Garden since the early 80s and are showcased in our Formal Garden.

A range of colour

The range of colours and flower types developed from just a few species is astounding and for size, few blooms in the garden can compete. Our first year saw the addition of about 60 cultivars with mixed success. They were planted too late in the season but they grew well and visitors loved them. We displayed cut blooms in the visitor centre which visitors voted on. This along with reviews by staff guided our second year planting.

Bold blooms bring joy

Dahlias are tuber forming so in late autumn when the plants die back, they can be lifted and stored, replanted or even eaten, treated like a potato although I’m yet to try one. Following our first season, we lifted and stored our Dahlias to enable us to plant out a winter crop but storing the tubers was a little hit and miss with fungus taking its toll.

In our second winter, we left the tubers in the ground. While winters at the Garden are cold, the soil does not freeze so tubers do not desiccate. This decision turned out to be a good one as the plants emerged early (late September) and grew strong. On top of this we planted out six beds of the lower Formal Garden with a mix of short growing bedding Dahlias. Both sections have performed well and the mix of mass colour and big, bold blooms is a real hit with everyone who sees them.

8 flora facts about dazzling Dahlias

  1. There are 42 species of Dahlia, but countless numbers of hybrids. New species continue to be described and discovered every year.
  2. Dahlias are actually native to Mexico and are their national flower.
  3. The root tubers were grown as a food crop and eaten by the Aztecs.
  4. The Aztecs also used the plant to treat epilepsy and the long hollow stems for water pipes.
  5. Before insulin was discovered, diabetics used ‘Atlantic starch’ extracted from dahlia tubers.
  6. They are part of the Asteraceae plant family and are related to sunflowers and daisies.
  7. Botanists originally thought it was a vegetable because of its edible tubers!
  8. Dahlias were Queen Victoria and Marie Antoinette’s favourite flower.

Why not see the beauties for yourself and take a day trip to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah.

Dahlia Nugget
Dahlia Marwark
Dahlia Rhubarb
Dahlia French Watermelon
 
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