The National Dahlia Society Show

As with most things, trends come and go with flowers, both in borders and for cutting.  Victim to our capricious nature, the poor old dahlia seems to have been nowhere in the fashion stakes for decades now, it’s time rooted firmly back in the seventies. Absolutely no room for those big, blousy blooms in a modern prairie planting scheme or ‘tasteful’ orchid flower arrangement


There is however one place that is the exception to the rule; the allotment.  Here they reign, on occasion whole plots dedicated to their charms.  And charmed me they have, especially since I’ve started to take more of an interest in improving my camera skills.  They are, I think the Kate Moss of the flower world, fabulously photogenic and shooting them close up allows a different view of the elaborate shapes, colours and petal formation that sometimes escapes the passing glance.



I’ve taken many shots over the course of the summer on our allotment site, whilst visiting gardens and at shows and in the next few months will share some of my favourites varieties here.


If you want to skip ahead though, today sees the start of the National Dahlia Society Annual Show at RHS Wisley. There will be more than a hundred growers and nurseries from around the country competing for prizes with their exhibits.  At the weekend these will be replaced by pot grown varieties from the National Dahlia Society and two walk around displays from the National Dahlia Collection and Pheasant Acre Plants. During this time members of the NDS and the RHS Dahlia Trials Forum will be available for questions and advice.




Many of the dahlia blooms will be sold  on Tuesday and Friday and Sunday afternoon with proceeds going to the National Gardens Scheme.  Varieties from the current RHS Wisley dahlia trial will also be on show, and  you can visit Portsmouth Field and vote for your favourite or perhaps seek out some inspiration for next season’s planting.


All photographs shown here were taken on Bob and Alan’s plots over the course of this summer.


The National Dahlia Society Show is part of the RHS Wisley Flower Show and runs from the second to the seventh of September.

It is open between 9.00am and 6pm Tuesday to Saturday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on Sunday.

Entrance is free for RHS members and one family guest.  For non members the show entrance is included in the normal garden admission price.

All further details here

The National Dahlia Society here.

The National Dahlia Collection here.

Pheasant Acre Plants here.





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20 Responses to “The National Dahlia Society Show”

  1. Elaine September 2, 2014 @ 7:29 pm (#)

    I love dahlias. They come in so many shapes sizes and colours don’t they.  They do have their downside though – I have had a terrible year with them this year – they have literally been eaten to shreds.  I am ashamed of them quite frankly – so it was a special treat to see your lovely pictures.  Hopefully next year I will do better and try to control the slug population a little better – some hope!

    • Victoria Wildman replied: — September 3rd, 2014 @ 5:40 pm

      I have to confess to a little spray to keep the black fly off but once established they seemed untroubled by slugs. I’ve got some real treats coming up that I hope will inspire people to plant for next year.

  2. Sue Garrett September 4, 2014 @ 8:32 am (#)

    I think I’m junked again

    • Victoria Wildman replied: — September 4th, 2014 @ 11:34 am

      No, nothing in the spam.  So sorry I know it’s frustrating.

  3. Sue Garrett September 4, 2014 @ 8:36 am (#)

    It doesn’t appear to like my Ipad but accept from my desktop.  I said that we are into singles at the moment. We’ve grown lots of dahlias on the plot on the past bit overwintering lots is a faff.

    • Victoria Wildman replied: — September 4th, 2014 @ 11:37 am

       was chatting to Bob about this. He leaves most of his in the ground overwinter due to lack of space and I guess they can still fall foul of frost even if in a green house or garage.

  4. Claudia September 4, 2014 @ 1:00 pm (#)

    i love how they look so different while they take their time opening. my mother in law had the most beautiful yellow dahlia in her garden this year. they are so beautiful!

    • Victoria Wildman replied: — September 4th, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

      So true and the centres are fascinating, the variety in the last shot is called explosion which is exactly what it looks like.

  5. Gemma September 4, 2014 @ 3:07 pm (#)

    I love Dahlias but I think they are quite like hydrangeas, both blousy and as you say not that fashionable. But I don’t care, I like them anyway 🙂 Gorgeous photos!

    • Victoria Wildman replied: — September 4th, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

      Well funny you should say that Gemma because I’ve also seen some fabulous hydrangeas lately as well.  Thank you re the photographs.

  6. Amanda September 4, 2014 @ 4:30 pm (#)

    These are utterly gorgeous

    • Victoria Wildman replied: — September 4th, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

      Thank you Amanda. I hope you’ll enjoy the future posts.

  7. Annie @ Manneskjur September 4, 2014 @ 5:51 pm (#)

    They are lovely aren’t they – and your photos totally do them justice! The third shot down reminds me of the old school rhubarb and custard boiled sweets that you used to be able to buy form tall jars in sweet shops.
    So pretty – and I’m gutted that I haven’t made it along to see them all lined up at Wisley!
    Thanks for sharing x

    • Victoria Wildman replied: — September 5th, 2014 @ 9:52 am

      Thank you Annie. I’ve been photographing these particular dahlias all summer in a bid to improve my photography skills.

      I might pop to Wisley on Sunday so will see what’s happening with the dahlias in the trial fields. They should look good until the first frosts so there may be time for a meet up yet.

  8. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) September 5, 2014 @ 9:39 am (#)

    I know a lot of Dahlias (ladies) because their parents probably adore the beauty of this flower! What is not to love! Colors and lovely petals! Such as the ones in your photos! A joy to look at =) #hdygg

    • Victoria Wildman replied: — September 5th, 2014 @ 9:49 am

      Really? I’ve not heard it used as a name, how nice. Thank you for your kind comments about the photographs.

  9. Iona@Redpeffer September 5, 2014 @ 4:43 pm (#)

    I love Dahlia’s and your photo’s are fabulous.

  10. bettyl - NZ September 6, 2014 @ 5:26 am (#)

    I fell in love with dahlias the first year I was here in New Zealand. These are just wonderful to see.

    • Victoria Wildman replied: — September 6th, 2014 @ 6:36 am

      Thank you Betty. So many different varieties and colours to choose from. I think Bob has about forty on his plot.

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