Gillian asked me about reliable suppliers of dahlia tubers as she had bought a tuber from e-bay which was meant to be dark red but it had bloomed yellow.
It is always frustrating when that happens and it is NEVER something nicer than you had been expecting, always something in salmony orange or chrome yellow.
The problem is that all suppliers tend to buy at auction - they are bidding on lots which look more or less the same in their dormant state - so they are only as good as the word of the auctioneer and the growers .
As soon as a variety becomes oversubscribed there is a temptation to pass off other varieties as it - after all the customer won't know until it flowers and by then they may have forgotten where they bought it.
I buy in quantity direct from Holland and the firm that I deal with have so far been superb both in quality and in reliability. They don't speak English that well & I don't speak Dutch so I rely on a Dutch friend if I need to find out any fine details. They only sell wholesale though which is no use if you just want a couple of tubers.
In the past I have bought dahlias from Sarah Raven's Cutting Garden - her prices are high but so is the quality (I suspect we share a supplier!). I believe that her dahlia list will be out soon.
I do sell dahlias here at the van - but at the moment don't officially mail order them, though I would be quite happy to post them out. The varieties I am getting are 3 dark flowered ones - Rip City;Black Cat; and Choc and some fabulous Karma dahlias -bred as cut flowers with long vase life, good strong stems and vibrant colours - in pink and red. They will be available from March.