Book Review: Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias

When I discovered Dahlia’s properly in 2013/14 it was love at first sight – so an entire book on these plants with ‘pow value’ was a must buy. The Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias is one of the latest in Kew Gardens’ new series of books exploring a single genus or family of plants in depth.

I’ve read three of the books so far (see Salvias and Ferns), and this one on Dahlia’s by Andy Vernon is my favourite. From the outset Andy makes it clear he loves Dahlias and this personality shines throughout, his opinion and judgement making the book so strong.

All books I’ve read in the Plant Lover’s Guide series follow a similar format. Starting with an introduction, background on the plant’s place of origin, and tips on growing plants in the right place. Plus info on propagation and overwintering storage in the case of tender Dahlias. It’s very useful and comprehensive.

Plant Lover's Guide to Dahlias
The directory is categorised by colour, with an excellent array of eye candy

What sets the Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias aside from the others in the series I’ve read is the practical nature of the advice given. You want white Dahlias? There’s pages of them. You want mini ones for pots? It’s here. Oh, you want a massive dinner plate sized orange one? It’s here too.

Everything feels very useful and easy to understand.

Summary: Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias

I am really enjoying this series of books and I can’t wait to collect more. They have their issues, in particular the fact they are written for the US, so the hardiness scale is harder for a UK audience. That said, this book on Dahlias is big, brash, bold on colour and very useful. I chose Dahlias this summer from this book. I will definitely use it as a reference regularly.

Score: 4.5/5

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Jack Wallington

I'm an RHS qualified garden designer living in Clapham, London who loves growing plants and designing with them. Follow me on Twitter.

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