Ignore the few pink blooms at the top left of this picture and what you are looking at is two rows of Dahlias raised from seed collected from the variety ‘Orange Cushion’. The left hand row are from a 2016 sowing, the others from a sowing in March this year. Almost all of them are flowering freely.
I made no attempt to introduce pollen from other varieties, though I grow several, I simply let nature take its course, then left a few spent flowers to develop seeds instead of deadheading. I collected the seed, cleaned it up and stored it dry over winter, then sowed it in the spring. The seedlings were grown on in 9cm pots then planted when they were robust young plants around 6 inches tall. They have been watered and liquid fed during the recent dry weather at about weekly intervals.
The range of flowers is impressive, from singles to fully double, in scarlet, deep red, yellow, orange, vivid pink and mauve. A few have dark foliage, a couple have quite finely divided foliage. Scarlet semi-doubles dominate. Most are being visited by bumble bees, of which there are good numbers, with even the apparently fully double flowers eventually opening out to a disc centre on which they can forage.
The plant with the darkest foliage has very small yellow flowers and is probably the most deserving of being rogued out; other than that, whilst none is a match for many named forms, all are worth having. At the moment, for flower power and a very good colour, the plant below may be the best of the bunch.
I should give the seed parent a mention. It is an excellent plant producing a great display of medium sized double orange flowers which eventually open fully to reveal a disc. The colour is pure orange; you would not say it inclined toward red or yellow in any degree, though there is yellow at the base of the petals.
Getting the colours to look right on a computer screen is something I find very difficult to do, I am always left feeling I haven’t done them justice. One day I will get it right and realise how.