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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

National Dahlia Collection: New at Hampton Court '09

Posted by Graham Rice on 13 Jul 2009 at 07:08 AM

New Dahlia from the National Dahlia Collection. Image: ©GardenPhotos.comFollowing the award to the National Dahlia Collection of the award for the best floral display at the Chelsea Flower Show, I headed for their exhibit in the Plant Heritage Marquee at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show last week to check out their new plants.

And there I found another new dahlia, raised by Jon Wheatley who also helped put together the Growing Tastes Allotment Garden which won the award for the Best Show Garden. A man of many talents...

This is a single-flowered variety reaching about 1.5m/4.5ft in height with lovely dark bronze foliage. The flowers open white, with an appealingly ragged look owing to their pointed petals with their wavy edges, then violet magenta streaks develop in the flower. This streaking becomes increasingly colourful as the flowers mature. The result is delightful.

But what's this new dahlia called? Well, as the opening of the Show approached, and passed, Jon Wheatley was still wondering what to call it. It's a cross between ‘Magenta Star' and D. tenuicaulis  and he wanted something that continued the "Star" theme - something astronomical, perhaps. ‘Galaxy' was considered, then I suggested ‘Shooting Star'. After a little thought Jon decided he liked the idea. So it was decided.

Then when I got back to the Press Tent and checked - I found there's already a dahlia called ‘Shooting Star'. So it's back to square one. As soon as a name is finally decided, I'll add a postscript here.

The new dahlia will be available from the National Dahlia Collection as soon as stocks are built up - and it has a name. 

POSTSCRIPT (17 July): This gorgeous new dahlia is now called - 'Meteor'!



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