Some of My Best Friends Are Dahlias

Some of My Best Friends Are Dahlias

How can you not love dahlias? My friend’s implication is that dahlias are somehow déclassé. Hmph. I remember when people used to feel that way about hydrangeas, and look what happened to them.

Isn’t this a lovely photo? It was taken by my friend James Landon and sent to me with the disclaimer, “As you know, these are not my favorite flowers, but…” There had to be a “but” for something this pretty. “But,” he continued, “these sure lit a fire this foggy evening in Highlands.” That is Highlands, North Carolina, where my peripatetic, polymath-ic friend has a lovely house and dahlia-free garden. (He nicked these from a friend, in spite of himself.)

Dahlias in Highlands. Photo by James Landon, doctored a bit by me.

But (again), how can you not love dahlias? Landon’s implication is that dahlias are somehow déclassé. Hmph. I remember when people used to feel that way about hydrangeas, and look what happened to them. Landon better get with the program.

I of course have a garden full of dahlias, and they are still blooming their little hearts out here in October. I also planted some at the ranch. They’ll grow just about anywhere.

The summer garden at Bee Cottage
Dahlias in Bee Cottage garden.

So does philanthropist and famous hostess Betsy Bloomingdale grow dahlias. She is always copying me.

No seriously, Mrs. Bloomingdale is famous for her dahlias. There is even a reference to them in Anne Edwards’s wonderful book about the Bloomingdales’ friends the Reagans, who visited them often: “Large bowls of giant dahlias, grown in the estate’s garden, filled the Bloomingdales’ Meditteranean-style house, which had been decorated by Billy Haines.”*

The photo below is not the Bloomingdales’ estate, but my own Bee Cottage in East Hampton. Although they are very similar.

Dahlias in the decor at Bee Cottage.

You know I am teasing about the Bloomingdales and Bee Cottage being similar. My house would fit in their garage.

Dahlias on the table at Bee Cottage.

My friend Carolyne Roehm grows dahlias too, like crazy. See more on her recent post on the subject here.  Déclassé indeed.

Carolyne Roehm's dahlias. Photo by Carolyne Roehm.

Now here’s the kicker. Carolyne and Landon became friends at His Grace’s (my husband for new readers) and my wedding last October. I am sure at the time she did not know Landon’s position on dahlias. He’s going to have some ‘splaining to do.

Carolyne Roehm's dahlias. Photo by Carolyne Roehm.

Meanwhile, on dahlias, I rest my bloomin’ case.

*From The Reagans: Portrait of a Marriage, by Anne Edwards.

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