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Neill Strain Floral Couture

The Delights of Dahlias

Pompoms, Stars, Stellars and Collerettes... During Neill's recent sourcing visit to Holland, he discovers a new world of divine Dahlia varieties, not usually available as cut flowers, to bring back to his Belgravia boutique and concession at Harrods. In this blog post he shares the story behind these delightful flowers.

Pompoms, Stars, Stellars and Collerettes... During Neill's recent sourcing visit to Holland, he discovers a new world of divine Dahlia varieties, not usually available as cut flowers, to bring back to his Belgravia boutique and concession at Harrods. In this blog post he shares the story behind these delightful flowers.

"Hamari Gold" Giant Decorative Dahlia

"Hamari Gold" Giant Decorative Dahlia

Geerlings Dahlias Garden Showroom in Heemstede

Geerlings Dahlias Garden Showroom in Heemstede

Another privilege during this month, during the season, is that I am able to offer some of the most divine blooms of Dahlias direct from the showgarden of Holland's most reputed Dahlia plant and tuber producer. These flowers are not grown for cutting but their beauty is so extraordinary that I really want to share them with my clients and the grower has agreed! There are 5,000 different varieties of Dahlias today, classified into 15 different flower types, only 4 of which are available as cut flowers for florists. At the Belgravia boutique and our concession at Harrods, thanks to Geerlings nursery, we will now be able to enjoy some extraordinary beauties that are rarely seen outside the garden.

"Alpen Pauline" Decorative Dahlia

"Alpen Pauline" Decorative Dahlia

"Kazusa Shiranami" Decorative Dahlia

"Kazusa Shiranami" Decorative Dahlia

"Polka" Waterlily Dahlia

"Polka" Waterlily Dahlia

"Jose-Maria" Waterlily Dahlia

"Jose-Maria" Waterlily Dahlia

Dahlia

Dahlia

"Royal Wedding" Decorative Dahlia

"Royal Wedding" Decorative Dahlia

"Gryson's Yellow Spider" Cactus Dahlia

Waterlilly, Ball, Pompom and Decorative are the classified types of Dahlias that are commonly found as cut flowers for florists as well as a select few of the Cactus type recently introduced by specialised growers. Waterlilies are saucer shaped, quite flat at the back; Ball Dahlias have fully double blooms and are round like a ball varying from 5 to 10 cms wide; Pompoms are miniature Balls; Decoratives include Giant Decoratives over 25 cms wide, Medium Decoratives are 15 to 25 cms and Small Decoratives which are similar to the Waterlilies in size, 10 to 15 cms. Cactus Dahlias with their spiky-shaped petals also vary from Large up to 25 cms, to Small at 10 cms.

"Kilburn Glow" Waterlily Dahlia

"Kilburn Glow" Waterlily Dahlia

"Apricot Desire" Waterlily Dahlia

"Apricot Desire" Waterlily Dahlia

"Berner Oberland" Decorative Dahlia

"Berner Oberland" Decorative Dahlia

"Cafe Au Lait" Medium Decorative Dahlia

"Cafe Au Lait" Medium Decorative Dahlia

"Dutch Carnaval" Medium Decorative Dahlia

"Dutch Carnaval" Medium Decorative Dahlia

"Le Feu Du Soleil" Large Cactus Dahlia

"Le Feu Du Soleil" Large Cactus Dahlia

Waterlilly Dahlias are the only type of Dahlia that continue to grow and open in the vase. This gives them a long vase life and makes them strong as a cut flower. The Ball and Pompom Dahlias are also strong because they are picked once their round shape is fully developed, hence they do not require a lot of energy in the vase to open as do the other Dahlias. Decorative, Cactus and all the other Dahlia types cannot continue to live once picked, hence their vase life is limited to approximately 5 days. Since we receive our flowers direct from the growers within 24 hours of picking, we are able to enjoy the magnificence of these flowers for several days before they die.

"Mick's Peppermint" Decorative Dahlia beginning to open...

"Mick's Peppermint" Decorative Dahlia fully open

Neill Strain Dahlia Cryfield Harmony 2IMG_0366.JPG
"Cryfield Harmony" Ball Dahlia

"Cryfield Harmony" Ball Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlia Brown Sugar IMG_0325.JPG
"Brown Sugar" Ball Dahlia

"Brown Sugar" Ball Dahlia

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"Hapet Pom" Pompom Dahlia

"Hapet Pom" Pompom Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlia Cheerio 4IMG_0582.JPG
"Cheerio" Cactus Dahlia

"Cheerio" Cactus Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlia Chat Noir 1IMG_0512.jpg
"Chat Noir" Cactus Dahlia

"Chat Noir" Cactus Dahlia

Jan and Elly Geerlings in the Heemstede Garden Showroom

Jan and Elly Geerlings in the Heemstede Garden Showroom

Neill Strain Dahlia Elly's Pride IMG_0443.jpg

"Elly's Pride" Decorative Dahlia

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"Nenekazi" fimbriated type Dahlia

"Nenekazi" fimbriated type Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlias
"Anne Breckenfelder" Collerette type Dahlia

"Anne Breckenfelder" Collerette type Dahlia

Neill Strain Star Dahlia
Star type Dahlia

Star type Dahlia

Single-flowered Dahlia

Single-flowered Dahlia

Varieties created by Cor were usually named after members of the Geerlings family or his students - mostly female!

Neill Strain Dahlia Geerlings Cupido IMG_0334.jpg

"Geerlings's Cupido" Waterlily type Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlias Jessica 1IMG_0400.jpg
"Jessica" Cactus Dahlia

"Jessica" Cactus Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlia Jose Maria 2IMG_0361.JPG
"Jose-Maria" Waterlily Dahlia

"Jose-Maria" Waterlily Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlia Louise IMG_0406.JPG
"Louise" Decorative Dahlia

"Louise" Decorative Dahlia

Mabel Ann 1IMG_0463.jpg
"Mebel Ann" Decorative Dahlia

"Mebel Ann" Decorative Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlia Cream Beauty
"Cream Beauty" Waterlily Dahlia

"Cream Beauty" Waterlily Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlia Kenora Wow 1IMG_0336.JPG
"Kenora Wow" Decorative Dahlia

"Kenora Wow" Decorative Dahlia

Neill Strain Dahlia Happy Hanny IMG_0320.jpg
"Happy Hanny" Waterlily Dahlia

"Happy Hanny" Waterlily Dahlia

Originating from Mexico, Dahlias were brought to Europe only 300 years ago. With their hollow stems, they bloom in the autumn with head sizes ranging from minute to gigantic. In Holland, many of the famous tulip bulb fields are planted with Dahlia tubers after the tulip bulbs have been removed. This is because Dahlias are one of the few bulb flowers that can be planted in late spring or early summer to bloom in late August and September. Like the tulips, these Dahlias have their flowers cut off as the energy is being preserved to strengthen the tubers which are then sold at nurseries around the world.

"Purple Ice" Dahlias growing in front of the Geerlings Glasshouse

"Purple Ice" Dahlias growing in front of the Geerlings Glasshouse

Neill Strain Dahlia Trooper Dan 1IMG_0440.jpg
"Tropper Dan" Giant Decorative Dahlias at the Geerlings Garden Showroom

"Tropper Dan" Giant Decorative Dahlias at the Geerlings Garden Showroom

Dahlias were popular after World War II, lost favour in the 70s and had a come back about 10 years ago. They are popular with the breeders as they are easily and rapidly cultivated. Whereas a tulip bulb can only produce one additional bulb per year, a Dahlia tuber produces 10-12 new growths for cuttings which result in 10-12 new plants, plus an additional tuber. The short vase life of the cut flowers is being improved every year as the breeders pursue stronger varieties while the season is also being extended to start in the early summer months. Here are some new breeds still in the experimental stage, unnamed, at the Geerlings Garden Showroom.

Geerlings Dahlias for Neill Strain
Dahlias for Neill Strain Zaailing S C Creme Roze 1IMG_0546.JPG
Geerlings Dahlias Neill Strain
New breeds of Dahlia being created at Geerlings

New breeds of Dahlia being created at Geerlings

So we can offer these spectacular flowers to our clients as many months as possible during the year, I source them from March until November cultivated in the glasshouse by Holland's finest Dahlia grower who has perfected the art of growing these blooms indoors.

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Neill x

Locals visiting the Geerlings Dahlia Garden Showroom

Locals visiting the Geerlings Dahlia Garden Showroom