September 22, 2008


My dahlias this year were selected by color. Oh….so nice!

There are 3 reasons why I am growing Dahlias this year.
First, there is Martha Stewart, that one episode where she visits the Dahlia nursery Swan Island Dahlias, second, there is Martha's Vineyard, where every September I am amazed and inspired by front cottage gardens full of colorful dahlias. Third - I love Dahlia shows, especially when I was growing up ( there isn't a dahlia society near me now, which is shocking as I live near Boston.).

Dahlias arrive just when one wants lots of fresh flowers - at the end of summer, and because it is the end of summer, dahlias need to work harder - since there is lots of competition from the garden. Squash, corn, fall foliage and mums. They are extraordinary, especially if grown well. Lush, lots of fertilizer and water, and staked well.

Red, burgundy, violet and sage-- Sometimes it's surprising what one can find in the garden.

One night last February, again in Japan, I was in my room in Tokyo, I had a 3:00 am conference call with work, so I could not sleep, I decided to shop on-line of course! I rolled through my bookmarks and noticed the Swan Island Web Site, which I had forgotten about. Please visit the Swan Island site ( it works very nicely, showing thumbnails of each Dahlia so before you order, you can see the entire palette), and then next sling ,order a few. Yet one needs to be careful. For I had a idea that I would order a total of 6, but I ended up ordering 60! These Dahlias were color coordinated - mainly purples, violets, magenta, coral and reds.

Next time you impulse-purchase a poly-bagged Dahlia at the home center, promise me that you will think about the color palette - and then buy a lot! The more plants, the better. It doesn't matter what color you choose, if you limit yourself to one or two colors, in various tints and forms, the results will be amazing.

Dahlias, when grown by color, let's say a spectrum of like-tones and tints, can provide you with lots of uses. This year, I kept my selection within two color palettes. One limited to purples, violets and pinks, and a second limited to orange and reds. I am so please with the results.


  1. what a wonderful Dahlias color combination! love the first photograph colors :)

  2. There is quite a buzz about dahlias this year. http://cannasandbananas.blogspot.com/ posted about some this week. One was bigger than her head. (BTW, my M.I.L. gave me a huge box of old Martha Stewart mags and I've been going through all of the old issues. Pretty fun!)

  3. Hi there,
    Loved your blog. Fascinated with your respect and passion for these plants. Mine matches slightly. Am very, very interested in learning how you managed to find out (from Japan) how to grow their giant chrysanthemums! I've been searching and searching, ever since about 1992 when I went there, and have never found anything close except what you wrote. Can you help me out?
    My name is Dene, and my e mail address is hocken@ctc.net . Many thanks, and happy gardening!!!


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