When I noticed my friend/soul-mate /separated-at-birth fellow garden entrepreneur Deborah Silver of Detroit Garden Works blogged about this amazing dahlia on her amazing blog ‘Dirt Simple’ (check it out !!!),I felt I had been scooped !! I’ve grown it for a few years, and now grow it as a cut flower for one chic florist shop (not my own ex-shop…) in Vancouver. Last fall I saved ONE seed head (dead flower, really) and scrounged 34 seeds from it. The seeds are dried skinny little husks that look impossibly dead. They are darker than the ‘chaff’ , which is pale tan colour and fairly easy to distinguish. I planted the seeds in March in my heated greenhouse, and planted the individual seedlings into 4″ pots. In May I planted them out at our farm in my dahlia patch……very excited to see what children of such a gorgeous and unique Mommy would look like. Now it is July and they are all blooming. CRAZY !!!! Not one looks anything like Mommy ! None are cream or white . They are mostly orange or red. Some are Cactus-types ! A couple are fantastic and I will hang onto them. One is a twisted bronze-purple with orange reverse, one is very dark red mini-cactus on a 6′ plant. Who was Daddy??? I guess this shows that bees are little tramps who visit the neighbour’s dahlias, too. One seedling is a 12″ bush of soft orange and yellow flowers – nothing close to anything in my collection. What this has shown me is how special Cafe au Lait really is. There isn’t another dahlia in this colour range, period. At some point in the past, it, too, was a first-bloom seedling, somewhere. The gardener or hybridiser must have been spellbound by its beauty, and wisely introduced it to the world. We will have the tubers again, next spring - the best $4.00 you will ever spend !
Here are some pictures of the children of Cafe au Lait ! It is hard to believe….but true! It kind of reminds me of my own family!