This time of year, Dahlias really come into their own. Here are a selection from my neighbours garden. Jim is in his late eighties, but spends all day in his garden growing vegetables mainly, but also has a bit of a penchant for dahlias.
Pom Pom Dahlia
Some facts about dahlias :
- Dahlias were originally grown as a food crop, as they apparently have edible tubers.
- They are native to Mexico, but now grown all over the world.
- There’s no such thing as a black dahlia. They come in just about every shade under the sun, except true blue and black. “Black” dahlias are actually burgundy. You can see from my picture
- Best time to plant tubers is May.
- There are 42 species and about 20,000 cultivars of dahlia.
- In the mid 19th century a London newspaper offered £1 to the first breeder to produce a blue dahlia. The reward has never been claimed and breeders are still striving for the elusive blue colour. There have been several near blue cultivars.
Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge this week is to show a black & white flower. Being a bit of a “colour- fiend” myself I struggled with this, until I came across this bright yellow dahlia, which worked quite well as a monochrome I hope.
The nights are drawing in, and the cold damp weather is taking a grip on Exmoor. To bring back some of the colour of the brighter months, I have decided on a series of posts celebrating some of the wild and cultivated flowers that bloom here.
The first flower I have chosen is the dahlia. A flower that is out of favour generally, but is beloved by amateur Flower show exhibitors and my next door neighbour in particular. At 87 he lovingly tends these big blousy flowers which bloom without fail in time for the local village show in late summer.
Here are 10 fun facts about dahlias :
- Dahlias originated as a wild flower in the high mountain regions of Mexico and Guatemala. That’s why they naturally work well and bloom happily in cool Autumn breezes.
- The Aztecs utilized the dahlia for medicinal purposes.
- There’s no such thing as a black dahlia. They come in just about every shade under the sun, except true blue and black. “Black” dahlias are actually burgundy.
- A compound known as Atlantic starch, an extract from the dahlia tuber, was once used to treat diabetes.
- The dahlia is Mexico’s national flower and San Francisco’s official flower.
- Dahlias belong to the Asteraceae (Aster) family along with daisies and sunflowers.
- There are more than 30 species and over 20,000 cultivars of dahlias.
- Well-draining, rich and fertile soil that is slightly acidic is a must for growing dahlias. Dahlias cannot abide soggy roots.
- Dahlias range from dwarf plants which are ideal for bedding, to giants such as Dahlia imperialis found growing in the wild from Guatemala to Colombia where it can grow upwards of 6m tall.
- Dahlias attract butterflies to your garden.
This weeks’ Photo challenge is for punchy pops of Orange.
This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is “Symmetry”. Its an obvious choice, but I have always thought that Dahlias are the most symmetrical flowers
Pom Pom Dahlia
Following on from last week’s seasonal challenge. This week Ceen Photography has set the challenge of ” Summer”.
This first image sums up Summer for me, the sound of honey bees and a gorgeous sunflower…
The next is another Summer favourite of mine…butterflies. I think its a Painted Lady, but happy to be corrected 🙂
Finally, a close up of a favourite Summer flower, Dahlias
Check out other summery photos at Cee’s blog
This post is in response to Cee Neuners Photo Challenge on her fabulous blog, Ceenphotography. I love taking photos of flowers , especially as I live in the glorious Exmoor countryside with a next door neighbour who is a keen floral exhibitor and grower.
Here are a couple of examples
Early spring crocuses or is that crocii??
A perfect red dahlia