It appears that Old Man Winter is planning on sticking around in Wisconsin after yesterday's storm, with snow on the ground and colder temperatures for the foreseeable future. But I don't feel like ending 2015 on a wintry note. I'm hoping for a more joyous and bright 2016, so I'm setting that intention by working with some vibrant color today! I photographed these dahlia beauties during a summer visit to the Dubuque Botanical Gardens.
"To analyze the charms of flowers is like dissecting music; it is one of those things which it is far better to enjoy than to attempt to understand."
― Henry T. Tuckerman
The dahlia flower definitely stands for diversity. It has eight genes, compared to two for most other flowers. For this reason, the dahlia can be called the "Houdini" of the garden, because it takes a myriad of shapes, colors and sizes.
"Much of the stress and emptiness that haunt us can be traced back to our lack of attention to beauty. Internally, the mind becomes coarse and dull if it remains unvisited by images and thoughts that hold the radiance of beauty."
― John O'Donohue
Belonging to the family Asteraceae, dahlia flowers are related to sunflower, chrysanthemum, zinnia, and daisy. Some of its admirers refer to the dahlia as the “queen of the autumn garden” to reflect the height of its blooming season which extends from mid-summer through early frost.
"The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls."
― Pablo Picasso
Dahlia flowers are associated with various meanings that range from messages of enduring grace to signals of warning. They symbolize elegance, inner strength, creativity, change, and dignity. They are also known to represent one who stands strong in his/her sacred values. The symbolic meaning of the dahlia in the Victorian language of flowers has survived. When given as a gift, the dahlia flower expresses sentiments of dignity and elegance. It is also the symbol of a commitment and bond that lasts forever. The dahlia flower is still used today in gardens and flower arrangements to celebrate love and marriage.
"Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand Art more and more."
― Vincent Van Gogh
More interesting Dahlia facts:
They belong to the mountainous areas of Mexico, Central America, and Colombia.
It is believed that the first tubers came into Europe in the 18th century.
These flowers were given their name by Antonio José Cavanilles (Director of the Royal Gardens, Madrid). He actually named the flower after another botanist named Anders Dahl.
Since Dahl is similar in sound to the Swedish word 'dal', which means valley, they are also referred to as valley flowers at times.
The species Dahlia pinnata is the national flower of Mexico.
It is believed that these flowers were used in treating epilepsy by the Aztecs. Moreover, they were used as a food source by the Europeans after the French potato crop underwent destruction in the 1840s.
Before insulin was discovered, it is believed that a naturally occurring form of fruit sugar (called inulin) obtained from dahlia tubers was used to derive a substance known as Atlantic starch or diabetic sugar. This substance was then given to diabetics. This was followed in Europe and America in 1923. Furthermore, it is said that this extracted substance or inulin is used even today in clinical trails or tests related to the functioning of kidneys.
"Now is the time to listen within, tend our inner garden mindfully until new flowers, new blessings can blossom."