This photo is of a new kind of Dahlia, one you don’t see very often, but one which is going to become very popular, I’d guess. There are several names for it – petite; dwarf; patio; container and I’m sure that in due course one of these will become the norm. The Dahlia in the photo is very rare indeed; it is a new variety, only just registered with the RHS at Wisley and has been given the name Lilianna W.
There is a story behind the name, which concerns Matt Wilczynski and his wife Magda. Matt and Magda came to this country from Poland 7 years ago, before Poland joined the EU, when it cost £700 to purchase a visa. They both worked for me at the Newby Bridge Hotel, saving every penny, and working every hour of available overtime, to earn enough money to fulfil their dream of building a house in Poland. In 2008 they had their first baby, a girl, and just before Christmas that year they returned to Poland and started work on building their dream house. During his time here Matt used to help out in the garden at Yewbarrow House. Matt is a natural in the garden and he earned the admiration and affection of Jack Gott, our gardener. So much so, that when Jack bred the new variety of Dahlia, he named it after Matt’s newly born daughter, Lilianna.
Now Matt is back in the garden, helping out for the summer, earning the money he needs to finish off the house. Regrettably, Jack, who is a genius with Dahlias, is so busy with his Dahlia business (JRG Dahlias) that he no longer has the time to work here- so Matt is looking after Lilianna, and all the other Dahlia progeny- on his own.