One of my favorite parts of transitioning from summer to fall, are the late summer flowers. Dahlias come at a time of year where it still feels firmly like summer but the light has shifted and you know a change is just around the corner. To me, dahlias are pure happiness and I can’t help but smile, every time I see them. Not only do they come in a rainbow of colors, but they also come in a wide variety of sizes.
This month, Natalie will show you the royalty of dahlias. These beauties come directly from local growers in the Bay Area. I am over the moon in love with these beauties.
How to maximize the life of cut dahlia flowers?
Dahlias don’t have long lives but there are a few tricks. The most important thing is that they don’t have a lot of water. Just a few inches of water will do, and if you give them more, they will wilt faster. Dahlias also like hot water. Not boiling but the hottest water that comes out of your tap will help them quite a bit.
Types dahlia flowers we featured. Bowen (small white one) KA Cloud (pink one) Passion Vine KA’s Khaleesi
Where do you purchase your dahlias?
I am very lucky to be in the Bay Area, as dahlias don’t ship well so we only get them from local farms. They don’t do well without water, whereas flowers such as peonies or tulips can be shipped without water for several days or up to a week. Dahlias start to disintegrate quite quickly. We get ours from farms in Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.
I love the fact that you have local growers, like these from Santa Cruz that you’ve made connections with. Is there a reason dahlias grow along the coast? They like the light, up to 14 hours. When the days get shorter, they start to fade. They also like sandy soil that is nutrient rich called “sandy lome” soil. They don’t like the heat even though they like the light.
Do you have a favorite dahlias?
All of them! The little guys and the big fluffy ones. It’s all about the discrete tones in the petals and their unique personalities. In the last year I discovered the “Bowen Dahlias” and the “Sweet Natalie’s”. I’m feeling enthusiastic about all those names, for obvious reasons.
Tell us about the dahlias in golden gate park – when is the best time to visit? Late August to September and some years until October. The Dahlia Dell is even available to reserve for a little party or gathering. I’m inspired to have a little luncheon there sometime.
A huge thank you to Natalie for putting together this stunning dahlia arrangement. To get inspired by past Blooms in Season posts – click here.
Flowers by Natalie Bowen Designs | Images by Caitlin Flemming for Sacramento Street