I grow a dozen or so named Dahlia varieties in the garden and three or four up the allotment. For the last few years I have collected seed from some of them and sowed them in March of the following year. I grow them on and plant them out on my allotment around May. They start to flower only a week or two later than their named brethren. By last year I’d given up as much space as I was prepared to on the allotment so in the autumn I dug all but four out, shredded them and spread them back on the ground as a mulch.
In spring this year I planted out around sixty new seedlings, most of which are now flowering. Some were seedlings of named varieties, some were from an assortment of the earlier seedlings that I thought might produce interesting progeny. All were open pollinated by the bees that they attract in large numbers.
A single yellow with dark leaves has mostly produced single yellow offspring and a red and yellow collarette has produced a number of similar but inferior forms. Other than that they are pretty random.
I love the fact that I have no idea what I’m going to get until they flower. I love the effect they create en masse, all mixed up. The bees love them. It’s a very innocent, childlike pleasure that I think we all need just a bit of as we get older.