Top five dahlias to try

Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire is well known for its large and beautifully maintained Dahlia Garden, featuring some 75 cultivars. We asked Richard Todd, who was Head Gardener at Anglesey Abbey for many years, to nominate his top five dahlia cultivars.

1. 'Café au Lait'
This is an exquisite giant decorative type with the subtle colour of a frothy cup of good coffee. I like it too because of its strong growth.

2. 'Charlie Two'
A bright yellow medium decorative type with great strong growth. Masses of excellent foliage set off the clear yellow flowers on good still stems.  Very reliable

3. 'Blyton Softer Gleam'

What a name! A beautifully formed ball type that has a perfect mixture of orange and apricot blends. Vigorous and useful in the front of a border.

4. 'Rokewood Opal'
An amazing free-flowering small cactus type that has lavender/mauve flowers. The flowers are small but massed, the downside might be lots of deadheading.

5. 'Pontiac'
A stunning cactus type that looks great in the open bud form and then opens to reveal the narrow petals of a cerise pink/purple flower. I wish it had just a bit more foliage but the flowers are wonderful.

Other RHS Partner Gardens with outstanding dahlia collections include Wollerton Old Hall Garden in Shropshire and Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire.

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