DahliasEveryone has a favorite flower, and I admit that mine has a tendency to change with the season. Right now under summer skies, dahlias win my heart. Their luxurious waxy petals and luminous colors add so much to the garden, and they are a perfect choice for cutting as they produce more flowers as blooms are cut. A plant that has been cut will produce more blooms than one that has blooms left on the plants. In addition, they are not a favorite of the deer, which makes them even more important in my garden.

Having been a floral designer most of my life, I am quite used to having profusions of cut flowers everywhere, but there is a special joy to be able to go and cut directly from the garden. There is a specialty flower grower in my town where I can find the most beautiful dahlias. At the end of the summer, they even have a festival to celebrate their gorgeous dahlias. Their beautiful blooms can be found at local farmers markets and specialty florists.

From a floral design point of view, I love dahlias because they are rich in color and strong in form. They come in all sizes, from very petite to as large as a dinner plate, however these over-sized blooms look best in the garden, as they are difficult to arrange. Just a few dahlias mixed with other summer flowers add character to the arrangement. However they also look marvelous arranged by themselves for a classic modern bouquet.

Just a few dahlias mixed with other summer flowers add character to the arrangement. Photo courtesy: Teleflora.

If you are getting married later in the summer or early fall, dahlias are a perfect choice for your bouquets and reception pieces. The color choices are endless. There are 30 species of dahlias and over 20,000 cultivars. They come in pure white, soft pastels, rich mid-tones, deep jewel colors and even a dark purple that is almost black. Their petals can be round and spoon shaped, broad and pointed or slim and feathery. Each has its own personality and character, one so different from another. One of the most memorable weddings I designed was in the fall with dahlias in orange, red and maroon entwined with miles of bittersweet. It was just lovely. Talk to your florist about dahlias.

If dahlias are not familiar to you, take the time to buy a few and enjoy them or plant a small selection in your garden. You will not be disappointed, and you will discover you will develop a love affair with these magnificent flowers yourself. If you are already a fan, try some new varieties and explore further the limitless dazzling dahlia.

What is your favorite flower and why?