Recently Steve and I visited Withypitts Dahlia Nursery in Crawley. We saw a piece about it on Gardeners World. I was intrigued when I heard about the taking of cuttings and wanted to know more.
It was a long drive for us but it was more than worth it. It was a small nursery well off the main road with a small sign. On the day we went we were the first people to arrive and were so lucky to have plenty of time to talk to the owners.We got some wonderful tips about cutting:-
1. cut dahlias with a very sharp knife, if you use anything with a scissor action, the tubes in the hollow stems are squashed and can`t take up water
2. place the stems in hand hot water
3. change the water every two days
I was particularly interested in the lifting of tubers for winter. We were shown the double polytunnel heated by oil. Down each side were raised benches divided into compartments. In the autumn 8000 dahlia tubers are lifted by three people and stored here.
When they are dried the tubers for cuttings are chosen and then spare tubers are sold.
As we looked across the field of dahlia rows we were told that none of these plants existed in March of this year which I found totally astounding.
Then off we went to see the dazzling display of top quality dahlias. They are grown for the cut flower business
I made a list of 12 that I loved. Here are some of them.
After a flask of tea and something to eat I chose myself 5 beautiful blooms.
We had a great visit. I would definitely go again, perhaps when the spare tubers are for sale.