Dahlias are one of the most versatile flowers and now they are more popular than ever! Do you want to know everything about these beautiful flowers? Then this new and inspirational book is for you: The Joy of Dahlias. Read on to learn more about this new book, or to just enjoy the colourful dahlias.
It’s no secret I am a big dahlia fan. I have been growing dahlias for a few years now and was fortunate enough to visit the dahlia fields several times. There, in the middle of a flower field, I met Linda and Marlies, the driving forces behind FAM Flower Farm. Together with Katja Staring they wrote a book, filled with interviews, tips and colourful photographs. This inspirational book explores every aspect of the dahlia from its history to its sustainable cultivation. And I am in it! I am so honoured to be featured in the book as a dahlia fan. Sharing the pages with some of the leaders of the seasonal flower movement including Erin Benzakein of Floret and Ariella Chezar, amazing!
People can’t seem to get enough of dahlias at the moment. What has helped the dahlia make so popular is the rise of small-scale, artisanal flower farmers. These so-called farmer florists share their story on social media. The photos of spectacular fields full of dahlias, armloads of beautiful blooms and gorgeous flower arrangements fill our Instagram feeds. This makes people want to leave the city and their job to start a flower farm of their own. For most of us, this will always remain a dream. And that’s probably a good thing ;-). The next best thing is to plant dahlias in your backyard. And once you grow them and have a bit of success, you’re hooked.
There are more than 62,000 of dahlia cultivars, with 100 to 150 more being added every year. Some are as small as table tennis balls and others as big as a dinner plate. The flowers can look like water lilies, or daisies, or perfect globes with petals in mesmerizing symmetry. There’s more variety than ever to choose from!
The book the Joy of Dahlias celebrates the diversity of the dahlia. Featured are more than a hundred varieties grouped by theme; angelic, elegant, expressive, magical, mysterious, and so on. It also includes an alphabetical list of 250 dahlias with their height and flower size. There really is a dahlia for everyone. So if you need some inspiration for your own garden, this is the book for you.
But it also includes interviews with a variety of people involved in the breeding, growing, and arranging of dahlias. Among which some people from my own dahlia society! On our website, you can find a nice story in Dutch about the dahlia book.
I enjoyed learning more about the work of the taxonomist. Taxonomy is the science of naming, describing, and classifying plants. When dahlia breeders want to register a new dahlia, all flowers on the plant have to look the same. Dahlias can be ‘unstable’, meaning a plant can suddenly start to produce flowers in a completely different hue. The new dahlia also has to be different from the varieties that are already on the market. Dahlia breeders come up with a name, but the taxonomist decides under which name a new variety is registered.
Another interesting story in the book is that of dahlia breeder Jozef Weyts from Belgium. He is the man behind the very popular Jowey Winnie and a few other ball dahlias: Jowey Frambo, Jowey Mirella, Jowey Nicky etc. The Jowey before each dahlia name is the combination of the first letters of his first name and the first letters of his last name. Jozef Weyts is a retired math teacher and that’s why he loves the symmetry of dahlias so much. He is a real fan of the ball dahlia, because of the perfect, Fibonacci floral geometry.
FAM Flower Farm sells lots of Jowey dahlias.
The Joy of Dahlias is a beautiful book
The 224-page hardcover book is filled with interviews, tips and colourful photographs. It’s a beautiful book and a must-have for dahlia lovers. The book is available in English, The Joy of Dahlias, and in Dutch, Liefde voor dahlia’s. You can order it through FAM Flower Farm‘s website or buy it at your local bookstore.
And since you can never have to many dahlia books, look out for Erin Benzakeins forthcoming book, Floret Farm’s Discovering Dahlias, to be published in spring 2021.