Dark-leaved dahlias have become increasingly popular recently, and a number of new ones have appeared this year. One of the most striking is 'Twyning's Revel'.
Reaching about 4-5ft/1.2-1.5m tall, with finely divided, almost ferny, dark foliage 'Twyning's Revel' makes a bold impression from early in the season. Then in summer and autumn, right through to the frosts, the plant is covered in vibrant single flowers.
Each flower has about twelve pointed petals, each a lovely shade perhaps best described as coral orange then fading streakily to yellow around the dark-centred orange eye. Occasionally a petal may be slightly malformed, and this was perhaps why this variety was denied an Award of Garden Merit - it came close. The assessment panel judging the Dahlia trial in 2009 noted its masses of flowers held just above the foliage and also remarked that the flowers, stems and foliage created a lovely combination. It was also voted joint favourite amongst visitors to the trial.
In very rich conditions the flowers may be slightly masked by foliage which can become too lush, but the prolific flowering and the unique flower colouring set against that elegant dark foliage make this a really special dahlia.
It was raised in Cornwall by Mark Twyning, who’s developed a range of varieties all with his name as the prefix coupled with a brand of chocolate or dessert. His best known is the white ‘Twyning’s After Eight’, also with dark foliage.
Mark created ‘Twyning’s Revel’ back in 2007 by crossing ‘Magenta Star’, with single magenta flowers and dark foliage, and ‘Karma Fuchisana’, a pink and orange, green-leaved Decorative dahlia from Holland.
You can read more about Mark Twyning and his work with dahlias in the September 2010 edition of The Garden.
Dahlia ‘Twyning’s Revel’ is available from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.