Dreaming of Dahlias - Tales from the Cutting Garden
I wanted to share my experiences of this year’s cutting garden and to sing the praises of one particular flower that we grew, the beautiful Dahlia ‘Cafe au Lait’. We planted a large batch of tubers in late May, the first flowers bloomed in July and they are still coming in late October, it has been a joy to grow this majestic flower and so rewarding to start growing our own.
Using flowers and foliages that have been grown and foraged brings such a pleasure. There has been somewhat of a British flower revolution that has taken place over the past decade and is now in full swing with flower farms popping up across the country. The British flower industry is going through an exciting time and it’s now possible to source the most beautiful flowers and foliages, my favourite of all are the heritage scented English roses which are now readily available. It’s part of a great desire to return to nature, to get out into the country and forage from the hedgerows. I have loved growing our own flowers this year, although a challenge at times, I have so enjoyed giving over to nature and seeing what it has to offer.
Of all the flowers we grew I became slightly obsessed with Cafe au Lait. It is the most incredible variety of dahlia for many reasons, not least for its grand size, but I think what really strikes me about them is the varied texture and colour. The colour ranges from a coffee cream to blush apricot to shell pink, and sometimes pure white. All these shades coming throughout the season, making it a wonderfully diverse flower to grow and use.
Here are some photos taken from this year’s crop, showing the very first blooms, the incredible ruffled and multi-petal textures and the different shades. Dahlias need constant attention and like to be dead headed. Dead heading has never been such a joyous affair and even those you snip off are impossible to cast away.
I will most definitely be growing Cafe au Lait next year and I can’t wait to expand the cutting garden, David Austin roses are top of the list!