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Meeting 15.5..2007-


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 this year.

Joan Wilkins

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