One of the best parts about spring? The scent of flowers in the air! Lately my neighborhood has been sweet and fragrant with blossoming flowers: daffodils and lilies, African daisies and orchids. However, one of my favorite flowers is less abundant here in San Diego. The dahlia, Mexico's national flower and native to Mexico and Guatemala, has dipped in and out of popularity stateside over the last decade. Of course, you can find some at Balboa Park, but for them to grow wild like other flower species here, it would require some helping hands.
Luckily, when I am in the mood for some dahlias, I head over to the Little Italy Mercato. I have a great supplier there, Hidalgo Flowers. They have a great selection and always at an affordable price. Let me warn you, the flower guy may want a hug and kiss in return for your super deal, but it's totally worth it! I'm thinking of using them for the bridal shower I'm planning in July. With so many colors and styles to choose from, these flowers are perfect for any occasion. Now, I just need to narrow down the colors that I want to use and how I plan to display them. So many decisions! But honestly, no matter how you display these flowers, they always look gorgeous. Which color do you like best? I typically go for a lot of color but I am LOVING the light peach/ivory dahlia pictured below. It's so romantic and sweet.
Interested in learning more about Dahlias?
Dahlias are not the easiest of flowers to grow. They need to be staked so that the tall, enormous flowers don't fail. And even shorter versions that don't require staking need beds with great drainage. But for those willing to do the work, the results are beautiful, colorful flowers whose blooms can sometimes reach a foot in diameter - the size of a dinner plate!
Though these flowers are native to Mexico, the European explorers who first documented them sent seeds home and made them incredibly popular in Europe. In more contemporary years, dahlias became very popular at flower shows and often take home large prizes, giving gardeners an incentive to start experimenting with dahlia hybrids. As a result, there are at least a dozen different styles of dahlia to choose from.
If you decide to start growing some of Mexico's finest flower, be sure to read up on them! Dahlias are very fussy and subject to a lot of attacks from elements like mildew and pests such as snails. Pick up some tips and tricks from a few guides and bring some of Mexico to your garden!