In the midst of our huge gut and renovation process, I found a bit of pretty in dahlias. I was constantly trying to find little ways to make our house feel like a home. Little things such as hanging a wreath on the door of the undone porch with no ceiling and placing potted mums at the corner of the house, where porch steps might be. I had recently discovered dahlias and decided I wanted to grow café au laits along the length of our 100 ft barn. I remember doing the math on spacing and what would look best versus what I wanted to spend on them. At the time, spending $8-10 per tuber felt like a huge investment just for flowers along the barn of the house we have yet to move into. I decided on sixteen. Little did I know, those sixteen dahlias would change my life.
I had never grown anything in my life. I had one snake plant named Fred that I managed to keep alive over the years despite neglect. I planted my café au laits a month late, did no research and almost [definitely] weeded a few as they emerged out of the ground. We left for beautiful Zion National Park the last week of August to get married and I still only had buds forming. I don’t think I even asked anyone to water them while we were gone. When we returned late evening September 2, 2019, I made my husband run out to the barn with me, flashlight in hand, to see if I had any blooms. And I did. The most gorgeous, perfect dahlias I’d ever seen.
I’ve been asked so many times what started my flower farming journey, and dahlias were it. On top of growing a few of my own, I fell in love with my bridal bouquet that had a combination of flowers and stems I’d never seen before. When I then started researching cut flower farms and came across fields of dahlias, I looked out at our six acres and thought- imagine if this was full of dahlias. A dahlia wonderland of my very own. I dove into every book I could find and created a list of seeds, tubers, and supplies to order. I was working full time as an RN and distracted by the thought of flowers.
What started as dahlia dahlia dahlia turned into all the flowers. I was discovering varieties of flowers I had never seen in our local markets, florists and grocery stores. I bought a white board and planned my beds. There would be nine beds behind our three majestic maple trees. I wanted an archway in the center to add a bit of beautiful to the straight beds. I imagined a secret garden with little seating areas in hidden places. Twinkle lights draped overhead. Friends and a bottle of rosé amongst the flowers. A respite from a hard days work. I was looking through flower-colored glasses and I never wanted to take them off.