The Dahlia Garden at Anglesey Abbey
A stones throw away from the house, adjacent to the Herbaceous Border, the Dahlia Garden produces an incredible display of colour through a sweeping curved garden.
Designed as a showpiece, Lord Fairhaven created the Dahlia Garden in 1952, ideal to show off to guests after a busy day racing. It's sweeping design means that it is not possible to see the end of the border from either entrance, you just have to explore to see what comes next.
Lord Fairhaven was fond of dahlias, and it's said that the garden was originally arranged in groups of three and planted randomly, however today our gardeners work tirelessly to create a sweeping rainbow effect from one end of the curved garden, to the other.
The border contains approximately seventy varieties of dahlia, with 250 plants needed to fill the garden, all of which are grown by our team of gardeners.
The first Dahlia species arrived in Europe from Central and Southern Europe in the late 17th Century. The International Dahlia Register uses a classification system of 14 distinct groups, based on the overall shape of the flowers and petals, seven of which are grown at Anglesey Abbey.
Our top tips
- Make it easier, grow them in pots
We use pots throughout the year, even when planting out. For us, this method makes lifting the plants in the autumn simple and with minimal disturbance to their delicate roots.
- Lift in November (usually after a frost!)
Our first job is to remove the tops and put them on the Anglesey compost heap. We then take the pots to a frost-free glasshouse.
- Stack and rotate
We overwinter a large number of plants. Pots are stacked laying on their sides, with one on top of another. They’re regularly rotated to make sure the whole stack dries out evenly.
- Keep them fungal free
It’s important to examine each plant to ensure they’re clear of fungal infections. We also trim off the stems as they dry out.
- Protect them for next year's bloom
It's good practice to store lifted tubers in a frost-free area for about three weeks, allowing them to dry out naturally. They do best upside-down, so any water in the stems to drain out. When dry, store in boxes of moist (not wet) compost/vermiculite/coir or similar material to keep them frost free.
- Inspect them regularly during the winter
If you see any mildew or rot, cut it out with a clean, sharp knife and dust the surface with sulphur.