'Bishop's Children' Dahlia
Origin: Cardiff, Wales, UK
Improvement status: Breeding population
Seeds per packet: ~50
Germination tested 12/2023: 87%
Life cycle: Perennial
Dahlias are among the most magical plants in any garden, and this is especially true when grown from seed. That's the only way to comprehend its spell-binding diversity. Native to Mexico — where the indigenous nahuatl name is "cocoxochitl — dahlias actually have a long history of being consumed as food. The tubers, like the flowers, express a great deal of diversity, with some sweet, some sour, some like ginger, and others altogether unique. Since its a tropical plant, the tubers cannot tolerate freezing, so dahlia tubers are brought inside for the winter and usually kept in a cool place (like a basement or garage) while they remain dormant.
While most people grow known dahlia cultivars from the tubers, 'Bishop's Children' is often grown from seed. The population originated with the variety called 'Bishop of Llandaff', named after Joshua Pritchard Hughes, Bishop of Llandaff (Anglican) from 1905 to 1931. It was bred by a nurseryman in Cardiff, Wales, called Fred Treseder. It's said the 'Bishop of Llandaff' variety was selected by the Bishop himself, from Treseder's many seedlings. Other varieties, like 'David Howard', were the result of seedlings from 'Bishop of Llandaff,' so it's not unthinkable that you might grow a spectacular cultivar that survives a century or more from this population (maybe for its beauty, maybe for its culinary value, or maybe for both!).
'Bishop's Children' will almost all have the same dark purple foliage of their parents. Flowers are 3 to 4 inches across and they come both single and double, and solid and variegated. Colors range from pale yellow to bright magenta, with a range of orange, red, gold, pink, purple, and bicolors in the mix. Petals are broad and flat, and stems are long and straight, making them perfect for any sized bouquet.
Our seed comes from our friends at Wild Garden Seeds in Philomath, Oregon. Let us know how 'Bishop's Children' do for you — and send us pics of your favorites!