Should Bishops have children? Should gardeners nurture these children? I would say so!
Question What has dark red leaves and flowers like a trouper until the first frost?
Answer One of the Bishop’s family of Dahlias.
- Bishop of Llandaff is one of the earlier varieties flowering as a semi-double in pillarbox red.
- Bishop of Cardiff flowers as a single with yellow petals with a red center.
- Bishop of Auckland flowers red with many yellow stamen in the center. Bishop of Canterbury is similar but the flowers err towards magenta. Bishop of Lancaster seems very similar to me.
- Bishop of Oxford is a strong plant flowering orange.
- Bishop of York is a bit smaller but has nice single buttercup yellow flowers.
- Bishop of Leicester has pale mauve flowers. The contrast with the leaf colour highlights the pale flowers.
- Bishop of Dover is virtually white in flower.
- Bishop of Cambridge is just another Dahlia trying to jump on the ecclesiastical band wagon.
Dahlias in the Bishop series have the darkest leaves and produce an abundance of flowers through to the first frost. All are single of semi-double flowering but the colour scheme varies as many were grown from seed. Bishops Children are open centered dahlias.
Bishop of Llandaff the old favourite that found new favour after a Chelsea show (AGM 1928). They have dark bronze-green foliage and vibrant red semi-double blooms.
Bishop of York is a bright yellow with a single layer of petals.
Bishop of Leicester is a pale pink with yellow collarette in the open centre.
Bishop of Canterbury is a cerise or dark pink colour.
You can grow a range of dark leaved Dahlias from seeds in a packet named Bishops Children fromThompson Morgan for £2.99. Or annual Dahlias with dark foliage Dahlia variabilis Redskin for £2.69.
You can also buy a collection of these Dahlias from the Daily Telegraph
Collective Noun for Bishops
- Dahlia Bishops could be grown in ‘Hosts’, ‘Convocations’ or a ‘Garden Bench’ of Bishops.
- Dahlias like a bit of space to themselves to grow to full potential. Bishops are slightly frailer than the modern dinner plate and decorative varieties of Dahlia
- For more tips on cultivation read about Single and Collerette Dahlias
Seed Cultivation Instructions
A fiery mix of such striking colour, yet with the innocent flower faces of Bishop’s Children. Mid-height, and blends extremely well into borders. However, be warned that a colour eruption may occur! Spectacular in bedding and containers, and as a cut flower.
Sow February to April. Germinate at 68-86F on the surface of a good free draining, damp seed compost. Apply a layer of compost or vermiculite, ¼in deep. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a polythene bag until after germination which usually takes 7-21 days. Do not exclude light at any stage, as this helps germination.
Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into trays or 3in pots. Grow on in cooler, well lit conditions for 10-15 days before planting out 12-18 inches apart after all risk of frost. Will grow to a height of 24-30 inches.
Prefers a moist, well drained soil in full sun. Tubers may be lifted and overwintered frost free for use the following year.
Bishops Childen is a seed collection of annual Dahlias that have similar features. Dark leaves single or semi double flowers and in this case a low growing habit.
‘A fiery mix of such striking colour, yet with the innocent flower faces of Bishop’s Children. Mid-height, and blends extremely well into borders. However, be warned that a colour eruption may occur! Spectacular in bedding and containers, and as a cut flower.Height: 60-75cm (24-30 inches). Planting distance 12-18 inches.’
Thompson & Morgan