Dahlias need no introduction. If Peonies are the star of Spring, Dahlias are the star of Summer.
Dahlias are native to Mexico and were cultivated by the Aztecs. They were not introduced to Europe until the late 18th century. They were named after the Swedish botanist Anders Dahl in 1791. They are the national flower of Mexico.
Dahlias come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are round like a pompom, others are fluffy and feathered. They can be as small as an apricot or as large as a dinner plate. They come in the most exquisite colors, from soft pinks, to highlighter yellow, to marsala red--Dahlias are anything but average. In 1824, Dahlias inspired Lord Holland to send this complimentary verse to his wife:
"The dahlia you brought to our isle
Your praises for ever shall speak;
Mid gardens as sweet as your smile,
And in colour as bright as your cheek.”
Kate Greenaway writes Dahlias represent Instability. I think that this characterization is unmerited, but some say it is because the flower did not do well in the European climate and got a reputation for being hard to grow. Having never attempted to grow Dahlias, I have no idea if it’s hard or not, but we sure are grateful to have farmers in our area who grow them. Thanks friends!