At the recent RHS flower show Alan Street of Avon Bulbs explained to me a problem they have with their wonderful Dahlia ‘Ragged Robin’.
Spotted as a seedling on the Somerset nursery in the early 1990s, 'Ragged Robin' is a prolific dahlia with bright red single flowers and slender wavy petals. There’s nothing quite like it, and it rapidly became popular in Britain; I was also very impressed when I saw it inthe USA, at Heronswood, the wonderful garden of Dan Hinkley in Washington State.
The problem that Avon Bulbs have is that their stock of this lovely plant has been infected with virus disease. The result is that it flowers far less generously than it should and rooted cuttings often fail to make tubers so it’s become impossible to carry plants over from one season from the next.
So they’d like to know if anyone out there is still growing healthy and prolific stock of ‘Ragged Robin’ – and if so, could they please let Avon Bulbs have some! They can propagate it again and make it available. The alternative is to try to create it again. Avon Bulbs only grew three dahlias at the time the self sown seedling was spotted: ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, D. coccinea and D. sherffii – so the parentage can be guessed at. But if someone still has healthy stock it would be so much simpler.
This is a wonderful nursery and Alan, and his colleague Chris Ireland-Jones, would greatly appreciate your help. Leave a comment here, or email the nursery, if you have any healthy plants or useful information on Dahlia ‘Ragged Robin’.