Lady Bird Johnson so wisely said, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope”. The seasonal changes in my garden are a celebration of that kind of optimism. And there are few things I look forward to more than the prolific blast of color ushered in by my many varieties of dahlias. Strong, hearty and diverse, these blooms have always been a favorite of mine. From mid-summer until the first frost, dahlias are easy to grow and can withstand quite a bit (a quality I have come to identify with!). Because some dahlias grow so large (the dinner plate varieties), a single flower in a vase can be as visually striking as any arrangement. They can even mimic a topiary, as seen in the dahlias on my mantle. Regarded in the Victorian era as a symbol of everlasting commitment, dahlias have become a flower we use for celebrations of love and life.

I customarily use multiple flowers in any bouquet, but these plate-sized dahlias are so dazzling that six of them create the ambiance for an entire room.

I commissioned Vladimir Kanevsky, the great porcelain flower artist, to create super sized dahlias out of porcelain for me. He also creates porcelain roses, tulips, lilies of the valley, lilacs, and camellias.

The wonderful thing about dahlias is that they can start blooming as early as July and can last until the first hard frost. These oranges, reds, and yellows make a lovely autumnal table.