I remember the tv ads that said “When J.P. Morgan talks, everyone listens.” When a four generation family of Dahlia growers speaks ah, we listen. Enter one of the latest Dahlia books, “The Joy of Dahlias,” authored by three women, Katja Staring, Linda Van Der Slot and Marlies Weijers.
Linda grew up on a flower farm, she tells us in the book, “Under no circumstances did I want to marry a flower grower,” and then proceeded to marry a tulip and narcissus farmer. (Call it flower power.)
Marlies did not grow up on a flower farm but started dating a Dahlia grower and spent a lot of time on date evenings at flower auction houses. She soon realized there is a lot of work that goes into being a flower farmer, but the flowers won her over too. The flowers won again. Love is mysterious; isn’t it?
Katja’s first experience with Dahlias was when she purchased a few at a supermarket. They were “funny potato-like tubers” she said, but she planted them and was rewarded with beautiful flowers. Katja met Marlies and Linda and the rest is history.
Today is International Women’s Day and it seems appropriate to applaud these three women and their efforts putting together, The Joy of Dahlias, with its lush Dahlia photos and inclusion of other Dahlia growers and Dahlia admirers. It really rounds out the book in a generous way. Many of the people included, and their stories, you will recognize from Instagram if you love Dahlias.
There is some history mentioned that I did not know about Napoleons wife, Josephine, “She was the first to grow Dahlias in the garden of her Summer residence. She introduced the flower to the affluent circles of France.” Wow. Dahlia mania has been around for much longer than I thought and it’s still going strong. This book propels it a little faster! I always think of Josephine in her rose garden but that has changed now.
Mr. Jowey himself, also known as Jef Weyts the Dahlia plant breeder/hybridizer is in the book, too. We all know him from the gorgeous ball Dahlias, Jowey Winnie, Jowey Linda, Jowey Paula and many more Dahlias. He bred not only ball Dahlias but also decorative ones, too.
Jef explains how the Dutch professional growers look at a new Dahlia variety. “Can it give a minimum of twenty cuttings, will it provide sufficient tubers?” I thought to myself when I read this, “Twenty cuttings. I have to up my number game!”
This colorful book is dripping with juicy Dahlia photos and it couldn’t have come at a better time while the field is bare and covered with frost. I will be looking at it too when the dog days of Summer hit because who can resist looking at a field of Dahlias I didn’t labor over. Also I don’t see a weed in sight in their photos! There are two-hundred twenty pages of Dahlia glory published by Terra Publishing.
Even if grow Dahlias already you will find this book enjoyable, filled with good reading, and informative. It’s entertaining and factual.
You can find Linda and Marlies on Instagram at Famflowerfarm.
Happy Dahlia Dreaming and growing.