When the year turns towards September, I get a little gleeful, because it's dahlia season. Do you know these lovely flowers? They come in all shapes and sizes, but the most recognizable are the enormously dramatic and oversized dinner plate dahlias, like the ones above. Here are a few reasons why I have these in my kitchen this time of year.
→ See more from the lovely home pictured above: Charleston Home at Inspired by This
Dahlias are a summer flower, grown from a bulb that you plant in the spring (unless you live somewhere quite warm, where they can overwinter in the ground). But they bloom well into the fall, and depending on the variety they can last even past light frost. At my old house I grew a row of dahlias up front where it was sunniest (they need a lot of sun) and it was wonderful to watch them bloom.
Here's my favorite source for interesting and unusual dahlia bulbs:
→ Heirloom Dahlia Bulbs at Old House Gardens
But beyond the pleasures of growing dahlias, they're really wonderful flowers for the table and the kitchen. I firmly believe in having flowers in the kitchen as often as you can — whether they're from the garden, a flowering bush, the florist, or the grocery store. Dahlias last a long time, and they have firm, stiff stems that make them easy to arrange in a vase. They also provide rich color well into the fall after more delicate flowers are gone. To me, dahlias represent the best part of harvest time — wild color, and gorgeous form.
I usually buy dahlias at the farmers market, where a couple of vendors are just starting to have some big, dramatic blooms. But I also have plots for a new dahlia bed of my own once we pull our garden into shape.