Friday, September 19, 2014

Summer Garden: Dahlias

dahlias, red dahlia, Dazzling Dreams Blend, Dazzling Dreams Blend dahlia, garden
    As autumn approaches here in the Northwest U.S., I thought it would be fun to have a last hurrah, or a sort of showcase of my very favorite summer flower - the dahlia.  I'm thinking this is my garden's summer swan song as it begins to fade and the signs of autumn creep in, and maybe perhaps the new acquaintances I'm beginning to meet on Instagram will have some inspiration for their summer gardens yet to come. 

One of my main goals in the garden from the beginning about three years ago was to curate flowers which have an Asian aesthetic; those that are known not only for their beauty, but for qualities such as peace, quiet, and calm.  Lilies definitely fit that description, and when our family visited the Portland Japanese Garden a couple of years ago, I saw a few hydrangeas there and decided those would go in my garden as well.  

As for the dahlias, most of the time when I've seen them used in Asian inspired floral design, I usually see those that are completely round and ball or pompom shaped, so I started with that type.  A funny thing happened however - after I started growing them, I began to notice how incredibly popular dahlias are right here in my town.  There is a Lane County Dahlia Society that shows and sells these beauties, and dahlia lovers also sell their bulbs at the Oregon Plant Fair.  Suddenly I found myself fascinated with these lovely flowers in all their infinite variety.  

I don't know the names of all of the dahlias in my garden, but for starters the red one at the top of this post and the orange one below are from a package called 'Dazzling Dreams Blend'.  The package card stock shows three varieties, but so far only these two have grown.

dahlia, orange dahlia, Dazzling Dreams Blend, Dazzling Dreams Blend dahlia, garden
This second orange ball-like one looks very much like the first, however I purchased this bulb at one of the local plant fairs:
 
dahlia, orange dahlia, pompom dahlia, ball dahlia, garden
This next variety, which is known in general as the cactus dahlia, has become my most treasured for its spiny, spiky petals that resemble a sea urchin, of all things!  Notice the various combinations of color: yellow-orange, yellow, orange-yellow, pink-yellow. Delightful!

dahlia, cactus dahlia, orange yellow dahlia, yellow orange dahlia, garden

dahlia, cactus dahlia, yellow dahlia

dahlia, cactus dahlia, orange yellow dahlia, yellow orange dahlia

dahlia, cactus dahlia, orange yellow dahlia, yellow orange dahlia, garden

dahlia, cactus dahlia, yellow dahlia, garden


dahlia, cactus dahlia, pink yellow dahlia, yellow pink dahlia, garden
Also of the cactus-type variety is this 'Dutch Explosion' (shown below), with its shaggy appearance and bright fuchsia color.  I actually planted this bulb about two years ago and it never came up - until this year.

dahlia, Dutch Explosion, Dutch Explosion dahlia, pink white dahlia, white pink dahlia, garden
dahlia, Dutch Explosion, Dutch Explosion dahlia, pink white dahlia, white pink dahlia, garden


Unfortunately I don't know the type or name of this next one, but I can say that I chose it for its lovely orange color:

dahlia, orange dahlia, garden

I don't want to forget these last dahlias, which are an annual variety called a Collerette, because I purchased them at the very beginning of my gardening days, and even though they were labeled as annuals, every year a few still come back:
  
dahlia, Collerette, Collerette dahlia, yellow dahlia, garden
Are you crazy for dahlias?  Share a story with me!
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2 comments

  1. Wow, you do have a very impressive selection, I love the pom pom style ones!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for looking Emma! I consider it an honor!

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