Wednesday

Farm Of Dahlias

This story is really a labor of love.

Really.

With lots of labor.

And lots of love.

It started many years ago when the parents of our our good friend Mike went about their life on the farm and planted some flowers in their yard.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

Then those flowers produced underground tubers which in turn made more flowers.

And more flowers.

And more.

Year after year if they were planted, they multiplied.

The flower I'm talking about would be.... the Dahlia.

I'm not gonna give you a flower growing lesson, and I'm certainly not the one to tell you all you need to know about dahlias.  You could look up the same information as I can with a quick Google search, so if you need to know more info than I provide, head over to The American Dahlia Society.

In the meantime take in the view.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

The labor of love I'm referring to has to do with what happened after Mike's parents went to the flower field in the sky.

His brothers took up the planting cause.

Impossible for Mike to do since he lives two thousand miles away from the homestead, which happens to be the same home his own father grew up in and raised Mike and his 4 siblings.

And conveniently only a few miles from our place where a wedding was about to happen.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

Sometimes it works out that it's who 'ya know.  And we know Mike.

With Daughter #2's wedding approaching, she wanted to try drying some dahlias.  So in August she met with Mikes brother and they cut some dahlias to see what they looked like dried.

Not so great.  Sort of scary in fact, more like Halloween party decor than wedding.

That idea was scratched, and on about the business of wedding decor we went.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

Fast forward to the end of September when my BFF who we will call Wann - because that's what we call her when she's not around and who happens to be Mike's wife - arrived to help me prepare for the wedding.

I should stop right here and tell you that having her and Mike in town to help made all the difference to me and the Brawn of the operation.  I could not have done it without her.

It's hard for me to let people "do", but I did, she did, and she even took care of keeping my kitchen clean.  She means the world to me even when she doesn't keep me on task and clean my kitchen.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

So back to the dahlias......

Before Mike arrived he let Wann know that his brother Jerry offered up to come cut some dahlias if we wanted too.

We wanted too.  We wanted too very very much!

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

Dahlias come in a rainbow of the most beautiful colors, minus blue however which I didn't have a hankering for anyway.

I could have taken a photo of every dahlia, each one a work of art and so freaking beautiful. There are so many planted at the farm that it is an amazing, breathtaking sight.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

Rows and rows and rows of gorgeous dahlias.  Thousands.

While my daughter clipped different varieties and shapes of white blooms, I headed to the colors of autumn.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

Dahlias are the most perfect flower.  Stunning.

These days it's mostly Mikes brother Jerry who takes care of the labor of love, along with some friends.  If they help they are paid in blooms.  It's like a secret garden, with only occasional trips to the Minneapolis farmers market where they are sold.

The dahlias will bloom till frost, and here in Minnesota you never really know how long before that frost will arrive. 

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

Some of the flowers are well over the size of my hands and some of the plants grow over six feet tall.  There is a whole science about that - how to get tall or short plants and which variety you want to either be short or tall.  If I was going to become a dahlia farmer I'd learn those facts and tell you about it.

But I'm not, so I will just impart my basic wisdom on the subject.

They get dug up in late Fall - the tubers - dahlias are not a bulb.

The new tubers that sprouted off while planted underground are separated to become new plants the next growing season, and everything is stored in the cool dark basement over winter.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

Not all the tubers they have are planted anymore, it is already a HUGE job to undertake, but there are still so many planted we didn't even walk through each of the various planted areas around the farm.

I was greeted by this Holstein in the planted plot closest to a gravel road .....

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

The bovine is made from an old fuel-oil tank, with a milk can for a snout.  Do cows have snouts?  That question is udderly ridiculous.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

It is really hard to pick a favorite dahlia, but the one above could be a contender.

Thousands and thousands of flowers, and I wanted to take each one home.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

I gathered the colors of autumn for a table display and put them in the bucket of flowers daughter #2 was collecting.  

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

When we got the blooms home the Fall colored ones were put in an old tin tea pot and set in the family room for everyone to enjoy, with enough left for a vase at the kitchen table.  

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

The flowers are so pretty that my cell phone was even able to capture their beauty in these two photos that I used of the arrangement for Instagram.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

I read online after the fact that a little bleach and sugar in the water, in addition to changing the water every couple days, will extend the life of the cut dahlia.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

Cutting most of the varieties on the plant then encourages more blooms, and who wouldn't want to look out the car window on a drive by and see more and more of those beautiful blooms!

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

The only cows at this farm now are of the metal variety, but many years ago there were cows to milk and crops to bring in.  You can see yet another area behind the silo that is planted with dahlias.
Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com
 
In spring the tubers will be hauled out from the basement, planted once again and staked.  The dahlia tradition is kept alive, almost like the matriarch and patriarch are still around.

I thought about typing them a message of thanks and about how people are still enjoying their labor of love.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

But like all of the other farm implements, that typewriter obviously isn't in use anymore.

Dahlia Flowers, Bliss-Ranch.com

The stems of the dahlias were re-cut and put in jars that had pebbles on the bottom, and set on the porch waiting to be called to decorating duty.

Simply beautiful.

The dahlias added so much beauty to the wedding table displays, and having them was an unexpected bonus.  We feel pretty fortunate to know where the secret garden is, and to be able to enjoy the beauty of it.

I think Mike's mom and dad would be happy to see others enjoying what they started all those years ago.  My thanks to them and the keepers of the tradition.






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9 comments :

  1. Bliss they are just gorgeous! Congratulations on the wedding of daughter #2. We married off daughter #2 this year as well... shot-gun in hand! LOL Weddings are beautiful and as much fun as we have leading up to it, it is always nice to relax and look back at the beautiful family we've created! Best! <3

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  2. How lovely! I love the story and I know the flowers must have looked incredible at the wedding! So happy for you all! A wedding is such a wonderful time of love and memory-making!

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  3. Those are so gorgeous. I have always wanted to have dahlias, but the digging and re-planting doesn't exactly speak to my inner sloth. Congrats on the wedding and the beautiful arrangements!

    -andi

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  4. This place is so beautiful. The stuff of my photographer dreams! That is wonderful that you had access to it for your daughter's wedding flowers. Just beautiful!

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  5. Hey there lady, you are so right they are perfection. The colors are amazing. The beauty that surrounds you always amazes me.

    Cindy

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  6. Oh gosh... this blog post was pretty spectacular! Gorgeous shots, amazing blooms! And the price was certainly right... how fortunate!

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  7. I would love a wild garden of dahlias! Long time since I have been by. So glad you are blogging away. As always - I'm impressed!

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  8. Oh, oh my. Absolutely gorgeous! The little vases are amazing and love they typewriter. I agree, the founders are smiling I am sure. xo

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BB
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