When I wrote about my summer bouquets back in July, I promised you to create another summer bouquet after our summer holiday, this time using the dahlias I have been growing in my dahlia garden. Today is the first day of Autumn, so it’s obviously too late to make a summer bouquet. Luckily, my dahlias are still blooming and in this post I am sharing a very autumnal dahlia bouquet. It’s made from flowers, berries and foliage fresh from the garden.
Usually, when I get home from the allotment with a bucket full of dahlias, I just throw them in a vase. This time, I wanted to try something different and make a proper floral arrangement. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s cheap, do try this at home!
For this dahlia bouquet, I have only used flowers from my dahlia garden. The foliage: small branches, the fern leaf and the berries, are from my garden at home and from the nearby forest. It won’t get fresher than this. It is a simple dahlia bouquet, but I am very pleased with the result. Plus it didn’t cost me a cent!
If you don’t have a cutting garden, why not visit a pick-your-own farm. There is something very romantic about walking around a colourful flower field, filling your basket with your favourite flowers. I am spoilt for choice at my local flower market, but I think you will find other varieties at a flower farm. I haven’t seen any Café au Lait dahlias at the market or in flower shops anywhere, nor the dahlias in today’s bouquet.
Pick-your-own gardens are still open, just google pick-your-own, or ‘pluktuin’. Depending on the weather, they will be open until October.
The season calls for warm colours, bright yellows, warm oranges, dark reds and of course, berries. After picking all open, or nearly open, flowers at the allotment I decided to use dahlias Cornel, Sunny Boy and a bright yellow cactus dahlia.
Cornel is a ball dahlia that was hybridised by Cor Geerlings, a Dutch dahlia grower. Today, Geerlings dahlias is operated by his son and daughter in law. The name Cornel is derived from the first names of Cor and his wife Nel. Cornel is a very popular dahlia, grown by many flower farms, including my favourite, Floret Flowers in the USA. Dahlia Cornel was awarded the Stanley Johnson medal by the American Dahlia Society in 2001.
Cornel is one of my favourite dahlias, I will certainly be growing it again next year. It has firm blooms on long, straight stems and makes an excellent cut flower.
Dahlia Sunny Boy is a very pretty dahlia with firm, pompom shaped yellow flowerheads. It has a red centre and red accents on the tips of the petals. They make great long-lasting cut flowers. Pompon dahlias have fully double flowers similar to ball dahlias but are smaller.
The bright yellow dahlia is a cactus dahlia. I don’t know its name, it was a gift.
How to arrange a dahlia bouquet
- Prepare your flowers. Cut the stems on an angle for better water absorption. Strip the leaves off the dahlias. Since I am adding other greens to the bouquet, there is no need to keep the foliage on the dahlias. I did leave on a few of the unopened buds to make the bouquet a little wild.
- Prepare your greens. Collect small branches and leaves from you garden. I used berried ivy, elderberries, a fern leaf and some stems of an evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves, turning red in autumn. I’m not sure of the name, it might be leucothoe or photinia. Take your greens and remove all the leaves from the bottom of the stems, no leaves should be below the water line in the vase. I removed all foliage of the elderberries.
- Fill a vase with water and add a few drops of chlorine to keep the water free of bacteria.
- Insert the larger greens in the vase at an angle so they reach outwards. The fern leaf gives height to the arrangement. I like the look of an asymmetrical design, so I used only one fern leaf.
- Add your largest flowers, these are called focal flowers. I used 3 stems of the bright yellow cactus dahlia. I love the way the dark red leaves of the foliage highlight the yellow of the cactus dahlia.
- Add smaller flowers. Fill the vase with smaller dahlias, I used 3 stems of dahlia Sunny Boy and 6 of dahlia Cornel.
- Tuck in the elderberries so the vase seems to be overflowing with berries.
- Fill in the gaps with berried ivy. The ivy is looking extra fresh and shiny at the moment.
- Put on your kitchen table or window sill and enjoy your dahlia bouquet!