Hello there! I hope you have been enjoying September. Autumn colours are everywhere, leaves are starting to fall and my dahlia garden is coming to an end. Last year, I had blooms well into October. But this year, September has been wet and cold and dahlias don’t like that. Still, I really enjoyed my dahlia garden. I didn’t have as many flowers as other years, but I did have enough dahlias to play with.
That’s the best thing about having a dahlia garden: having lots and lots of flowers to play with. I like to decapitate a few flowers and photograph them (if you follow me on Instagram you may already have seen one of my flatlays). And I like to fill jugs, bottles and vases with flowers for my kitchen table.
I am by no means a florist or floral designer but I do love to create arrangements. In this blog post, I like to share a few I made with dahlias. Again, I am not a professional but I do hope to give you some ideas about flower and foliage combinations. I had fun creating these arrangements, and I hope to encourage you to create your own.
1. Small posy in white and green
Let’s begin with a small, and therefore really easy arrangement. Just a few flowers in a small vase make a sweet little posy.
For this arrangement, I used a small vintage vase. It’s from the 1950’s and was produced by the Sphinx factory in Maastricht. The colour is a beautiful mint green with some brown spots, like blackbird eggs. It looks great with pink flowers (complementary colour) but for this arrangement, I used flowers in a more subtle colour palette. I used two small stems of Hydrangea Annabelle as base flowers. The fading heads of hydrangea will slowly dry in the vase and won’t wilt. They can be used again in other arrangements.
I added dahlias Twyning’s White Chocolate and Platinum Blonde, a Japanese anemone, Achillea millefolium (yarrow) as a filler, and a few branches.
2. Arrangement featuring ‘Labyrinth’
In this arrangement, you can see a few of my new dahlias; Labyrinth, Waltzing Mathilda and Linda’s Baby, along with trusted favourites Burlesca and Cornel.
Dahlia Labyrinth has quickly become a favourite. It is stunningly beautiful with wavy petals in peach and raspberry. At the beginning of the season, stems were very short and the flowers were almost hidden among the leaves of the bushy plants. But flowers don’t always need to have long stems to be useful.
Along with the flowers, I used some branches, a stem of Persicaria and a stem of Heuchera.
Heuchera is a perennial grown primarily for its beautiful foliage. The attractive leaves come in so many colours. I only have one variety in the garden, with dark purple leaves, but I should grow more. The flowers aren’t show stoppers but they do bring an open, airy, quality to the garden ànd to an arrangement.
For this bouquet, I used another one of my vintage vases, a favourite. It was produced by Mosa Maastricht.
3. Creamy Café au Laits
My Café au Lait dahlias really let me down this year. They were the last of my dahlias to flower! I really don’t understand why, last year they weren’t that late. I had few blooms and most of them were very pale. Café au Lait is known to vary in colour from pale pink to the colour of coffee lightened with milk. I like them cream or pink, but definitely not white. Just as I like coffee with milk, but not too much milk.
For this arrangement, I used a bowl that is actually a mortar. I hardly ever use it. It’s a heavy bowl, made of glass. At the bottom of the bowl, I placed a pin frog, a heavy metal base with spiky pins to hold stems in place. When you use a container with a wide opening, a flower frog makes arranging much easier.
I added dahlias Twyning’s White Chocolate, Linda’s Baby and lots of Zundert Mystery Fox at the back of the bowl. A heuchera leaf and again a heuchera flower, some ivy and a stem of Chocolate Cosmos.
The foliage is Eupatorium rugosum Chocolate. It has beautiful bronzy-chocolate leaves. The stems last forever. Once the other ingredients of the vase have wilted you can use them in another arrangement, again and again. Highly recommended for the cutting garden!
4. Pink peach and coral florals
A few months ago I wrote a book review about Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden and I still love to sit down and flip through it for inspiration. The floral designs in the book are absolutely gorgeous but often made with so many types of flowers, they seem impossible to recreate at home.
In my garden, I grow 22 varieties of dahlias. When the dahlia garden is at its peak, I can use as many as I want. But dahlias on their own can be a little stiff. The florists I admire, approach the art of floral design in a natural, loose and truly beautiful way.
When creating garden style arrangements, foliage is just as important as flowers. It’s not just about including some green. Including more than one type of greenery creates a variety of colours and textures. I am still learning to go out into the garden to gather a fluttery filler and lush foliage. To give you an idea, here is a list of the ingredients of this bouquet:
- 1 stem of dahlia Bellelaine
- 6 stems of dahlia Preference
- 6 stems of dahlia Burlesca
- 3 stems of dahlia Linda’s Baby
- 3 stems of Hydrangea Annabelle
- 2 stems of Heuchera
- 1 stem of Lady’s Mantle
- 1 stem of Persicaria
- 1 stem of Astilbe
- 1 branch of ivy
- 1 branch of wisteria
- a fern leaf
I chose dahlias in a limited colour palette, pink, peach, raspberry, with green as a neutral. The hydrangea heads, fresh and white in high summer, are lime green at the moment. A complementary colour to pink.
5. Black Jack, black jug
Black Jack is one of my favourite dahlias and it is doing extremely well this year. The plants are tall and bushy and even though Black Jack doesn’t produce masses of flowers (bigger flowers often means fewer flowers), I have had plenty blooms from it. The flowers are blackish-red and velvety on tall, strong stems that make it an excellent cut flower.
In the vase are two heads of hydrangea Limelight, a very strong hydrangea that fades to pink. I added dahlias Preference, Platinum Blonde and Cafe au Lait. Along with the flowers, I reused the Eupatorium rugosum Chocolate and added some grasses.
Bonus 1. and 2.
If you still haven’t had enough of my arrangements, you might also like these older posts.
Dahlia arrangement featuring Café au Lait is a simple dahlia arrangement featuring the most popular dahlia of the moment, Café au Lait. With step-by-step instructions!
Autumnal Dahlia bouquet – fresh from the garden is a dahlia bouquet with that just-picked-from-the garden look.
Which one is your favourite?