An Abundance of Dahlias
The last weeks have truly been amazing: I have never seen so many Dahlias look so good in full bloom. Lots of plants have been nuked by the hot weather we have had in The Netherlands over the summer, but not the Dahlias: They enjoy the sun like no other flower does. Dahlias originally come from Mexico, so they make sure to show their appreciation when they get to experience the weather of their motherland. Just this summer, I took over a thousand photographs of Dahlias, and I did not even have to try to make them look good. One plant could have dozens of beautiful flowers this year, the next always as good or even better than the one before. I’ve tried to visit as many Dahlia (trial-)gardens as possible, and when you’re reading this, I hope to be in Raalte for the weekend, where this year, a show will be held by the Dutch Dahlia Association.
The Tulperij Garden
But to be honest, I do have a favourite this season, and it’s the Dahlia garden at De Tulperij in Voorhout, South-Holland. They carry a large assortment of varieties and they are looked after by Anja and Daan Jansze. They have truly made sure that it is a pleasure to walk through. They are very nice, and Daan often makes sure to talk to visitors of his garden. Especially his colleague growers, as they like nothing more than talking about flowers.
Daan and I. As you can see, we have a difficult life.
The best thing to do when having a conversation with Daan is to listen to his extensive stories. There is always something happening in his garden. You probably know the kind of person I’m talking about: it’s like throwing a quarter in a jukebox and it plays as if you gave it two euros. I asked him what had happened to Dahlia Cafe au Lait, the flowers seemed to be gone completely, and he told me that there was a sweet girl who asked to pick flowers and she had a good eye: she knew exactly what to look for and went home with Cafe au Lait. Some people have good taste! She made amazing bouquets, colours, shapes, and size were all taken into account and blended harmoniously. I asked her if she had learned that anywhere, and it turned out that she was a florist for part of the Dutch Royal Family, who all appreciate flowers very much. This last bit of information I already knew, as I have met the King and previous Queen at flower shows over the years and they have always been nothing but interested and enthusiastic. She wanted to bring them Cafe au Lait for a special occasion: there would be a group of important people visiting from Korea, and the Embassy and the Royals had asked for a bouquet featuring Dahlias. They liked Cafe au Lait best when she showed them a few options. Daan told her to take them all: it’s one of those varieties that everyone already knows anyways. If you’ve never seen them in 2023, you can’t convincingly call yourself a Flower Fan, so to the Embassy they went.
There were also deep track marks all over the garden, so I asked Daan if our friend Erik had been by lately, but no, it was even better: there was a photoshoot featuring cows just this week! Very little ones, a kind of cow he was not personally familiar with. Not little in the baby cow sort of way, but in the miniature way, you know, like how there are also miniature horses? So Daan keeps on going with stories like these. Anja also joins us and serves apple pie, toasted bread with caprese salad on it, and a bottomless can of coffee. Naturally, their outside terrace is full of vases of Dahlias and other hip flower arrangements.
Cafe au Lait
Let’s get back to business. I am accusing Daan of talking everyone’s head off, but I can’t say I’m any better myself. Let me show you a few Dahlias that I think you might enjoy this season. These varieties are new next year. They’re not available in store now, but you can put yourself on the list to receive an automatic e-mail when they become available. I can think of the accompanying descriptions right away, so we’ll be done with that task, too.
Peaches is a beautifully shaped Dahlia with a colour that just feels like a hug. Don’t get her confused with her friend Peaches & Cream: that one is much more colourful, with orange and yellow tones. This one, Peaches, has more of a chique look: she looks refined, with a thoughtful colour and an elegant feeling. Truly a Dahlia that deserves a place of honour.
When Tartan is part of a garden, no one will look over this unique and fun variety. All Dahlias try their hardest to steal the show when it comes to colour, shape, and size, and they can all try as much as they want, but when Tartan is there, that’s where people are going to look. The dark red colour is almost black, the white gives the flowers a bit of a chaotic look, and the shape of the flower is always doing exactly what it wants. A bit unorganised, but in the best possible way. She is more of an eye-catcher than most Dahlias, and for flowers of this size, she has a large number of them, too. I will be one of the people planting her in my garden this year.
This Dahlia is top of their class: healthy, a dark, rich colour, lots of flowers. A good addition to a large number of different colour palettes. A flower to be enjoyed by everyone.
I’ve been running in to this Dahlia for years, and I have always known that this is going to be one of those varieties that people just want to have. It’s hot, it’s trendy, sometimes flowers are just like that. Colour, shape, name, height… everything just seems to just be right, you know? This dusty beauty is one of those ones. And the dusty part shouldn’t bother you, either: there’s probably no dust outside the house, anyways.
I will always be secretly in love with Dahlias that have this shape. They look open and welcoming, and the simple yet effective shape of the flower makes for a good addition to any garden. There are always tons of bees to be found around Dahlias like this, too. The flower itself looks happy, so you can’t go wrong with that, either. If you want to help the bees in your neighbourhood out just a little bit more, another tip is to give your neighbours a few of these Dahlias, too. That was all I have about Liquid Desire… cheers!
This colourful lady tends to change her colours. When the flower is young and just starting out, she is fresh and happy as the rising sun. Then, when she gets older, she starts to look more like sunset, attractive colours of pink try to outshine the red, and this evolution is wonderful to witness.
This fantastic Dahlia is proof that both youth and old age have their own version of beauty. A delightful, melancholy Dahlia with large flowers that should be noticed by everyone.
A Dahlia that is not too shy to show her fresh and bright look. This Dahlia has a happy colour and flowers that bloom in great abundance. Another true eye-catcher to add to the list. I can totally understand why Nina chose this one: you can’t overlook this Dahlia.