Botanical name: Dahlia variablis
Common names: Dahlia, Bloody Mary
Family name: Asteraceae
This is one of the first flowers that I attempted to grow from seed about two years ago. I planted 12 seeds in a tray of seed raising mix on the table top in my lounge (much to the displeasure of my lovely wife, I wonder if this was due to the other 6 trays there also?) All 12 popped their leafy heads through the soil within 15 days. Unfortunately once I transplanted them out into the garden, in early spring, only 3 survived. I learnt my first lesson about spring frosts. But wow, what a great flower to start with! The three plants gave an abundance of flowers all through summer!!! Inspired by Geoff Bryants book “Growing gardens for free” the following autumn/ early winter (after the vegetation had died off) I dug up three tubers from under one of the plants and planted each into different areas in my garden. Forgetting that I had done so, this summer two of the new tubers sprouted and BINGO, two new plants for free. I swear these new plants had twice as many flowers as the parent plant!! The bumblebees loved them!
Side note for the Blooming geeks out there:
Dahlia is named after the Swedish botanist, Andres Dahl. It was originally pronounced dah-le-a (as Americans still do I believe) and not day-le-a as heard in NZ.