Back to top

I first started growing dahlias when I realised that my garden was desperately in need of some late summer colour.   I was amazed to see how my  first four or five plants continued to pump out bloom after bloom from the end of July to the beginning of November.  So that was it, I was well and truly hooked.

There are  thousands of dahlia varieties available,  so the next  year I decided to grow just dahlias in my vegetable plot and ordered about  70 different ones from the National Dahlia Collection.  At the same time I started a public Instagram account called Justdahlias in the hope of connecting with other dahlia obsessives and now I talk to people all over the world who share the same passion.   That year I was literally drowning in flowers and it was then that I approached local florists to see if anyone wanted to buy my flowers in the hope of funding my obsession.  I packed up my car with buckets of blooms and when one florist gasped as I opened the boot I had an inkling I was onto something.  And so Justdahlias was born.

For late summer colour in the garden, dahlias are hard to beat.  With the right care and attention they will start flowering from the end of July and go right through until the first frost.  There are thousands of dahlia varieties available and scrolling through the websites of the amazing British growers we have such as Halls of Heddon, is a wonderful way of spending an early winter evening.

But be warned, dahlias have a way of getting under your skin  – I started with just 4 or 5 plants and this year I will be planting out  550 plants with roughly 200 varieties.  My dahlia love started with the large dinner plate varieties such as Café au Lait, Je Maintiendrai, and Fleurel and has progressed through the huge array of shapes and sizes and I am now obsessed with the mini pompoms such as Tam Tam, Small World and Vino.  Other  favourites would have to include Caroline Wagermans, Silver Years, Linda’s Baby, Cornel Brons, Verrone’s Obsidian and Rossendale Flamenco. I bought Dr Caroline Rabbit just for the name and I’m pleased to report that she didn’t disappoint especially when planted next to David Digweed (#dahliamatchmaking).

The huge range of shapes, sizes and intensity of colour make dahlias the perfect event flower –  90% of my customers are wedding and event florists.  My passion is for the growing and nurturing side of things but it’s a big thrill for me  to see all the amazing displays that my customers create with my blooms.

Philippa's dried dahlias

In 2019 I also started drying my dahlias and have been overwhelmed with  interest as dried flowers enjoy a resurgence in popularity.

Just dahlias dried flowers on a table in a dark interior reminiscent of an old masters painting.

A still life reminiscent of a Dutch oil painting.

Dried pink dahlias in a hessian bag hang on a wooden door.

Drying has become Philippa's new obsession!

Dried dahlias mix well with other ingredients for winter arrangments.

A winter arrangement.