Monday, 3 April 2017

Oh Dear, Candy-Pink Dahlias

When is a bargain not a bargain?
We-ell...I pounced on these dwarf dahlias in a nursery in early to mid-summer, and did something most uncharacteristic.
I bargained. What! Well, the tubers were very dessicated; at least one (in the pack of 3) was dead, and I thought I could resuscitate the others. Most of all - of course - I liked the colour on the packet: deep rose pink; and the variety - `Minikin Rose' - is a pretty single one with outward-facing (not drooping) flowers and was 35cm height: perfect for near the front in my silver-and-raspberry-coloured garden bed. Or Not.

So I plant and water my bargains, and underground the tubers swell with the moisture, then put up stems, leaves, buds, flowers...of bright candy-pink, garish.
Hideous, surely, wherever I put them? Near silver foliage? Nope. Amongst penstemons, half-hidden? Nup. In pots, to brighten up an area...only to scare away the sensitive eye seeking pictures in the garden, I'm sure.

Can you, ethically, give away a plant you hate, but someone else might like? Or, perhaps it's morally wrong to toss away a plant someone might like, wasting it. (I've done this: `You threw out pink lily-of-the-valley?' - wistfully spoken.) Plus, just because I think it's a hideous pink, I do get surprised at the high level of liking, no, love, for pink by some women...which I don't share at all. (I just like pink, purple and blue used harmoniously in the garden, and a small, controlled amount of silver foliage - with lashings of green. Yellow (with blue), in a separate bed, too.)

But tastes vary...
So if you would like this little plant, let me know soon (there are only two)!

And I must remember, I should buy plants - some bulbs, anyhow - in flower, not in packets.
Especially dahlias.

Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (

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