This months lecture on dahlias was by Mr L Waldren, an extremely
knowledgeable gentleman who has been known to grow up to 450
plants so that his choicest blooms could win prizes at national
events like Cheltenham.
Dahlias were first discovered, as poor weedy posies with small
flowers and weak stems in Mexico, by a Swiss man called Dahl.
He brought them back to Europe where the French tried them
as food because of the high sugar content of the tubers. They
did not catch on, so they then became animal fodder. No go.
But Mr Waldren has made an unprepossessing little wine, that
did not catch on either, However around 1800 Europeans became
interested in the flowers and these have been improved upon
and bred for the various shapes and sizes that are now available.
Strangely, for a plant that loves sun, humus and moisture,
the dahlia can be grown without water, once planted out and
straw mulched, with the addition of nitro chalk as fertiliser,
a very good thing in these water conscious times. Our kind
lecturer then donated assorted tubers and cuttings to club
members - so we expect an enhanced section in the Autumn Show