Growing Dahlias | Eat • Drink • Garden • Santa Barbara, California

Dahlias make me happy. They're such beautiful flowers that come in the superabundance of shapes, colors, and sizes. Their sharp structure is a nice contrast against the soft petals of my garden roses; the mix is ​​so lovely.

In my garden, I always have a section devoted to dahlias. I like to plug in some starter five gallon cans of dahlias to get a jump on the joy while I wait for the ones in the ground to bloom. I continue to add and add and add, typically forgetting what bulbs I already had in the ground. It's like a surprise party every time I go out there and see fresh blooms. This method (or madness, depending on how you look at it) helps me have continued color and flowers in the garden from the beginning of summer until the middle of fall.

stake them with two bamboo sticks. Sometimes they grow, we harness them to the sticks for support so they do not flop over.

Sometimes, I like to incorporate the closed buds into my arrangements for variety of height and shape, and if you do the same just do not expect the bud to open up. Dahlias are not like roses and peonies - they generally will not continue to open if cut arrangements.

Here are a few of my happy blooms- from ground to garden to the table. p>

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