Dahlias: from the Aztecs to Brooklyn


IMG_4802By Anastasiya Novikova, KCC Farm Student Aide

When I recently began working at the farm, the first thing that came to sight were all of the Dahlias in the hoop house. They were all in full bloom on an early September day. My admiration came from the colors. They were beautifully sprouting yellows, purples, whites and pinks. I also analyzed how the petals create a very interesting shape. I knew from that day on that I wanted to maintain and keep them growing to the best of my abilities. A couple of months passed at work and I grew a deeper appreciation for these flowers when it came to arranging bouquets with our Farm Manager, Cris. I was so happy to learn a new skill and decorate our vegetable distribution for students with our carefully sorted flower bunches. The best part was after our mini farmers market, I got to choose my favorite vase with Dahlias the size of my face.

IMG_4801As I explored the world of flowers further, I learned more about my favorite one, The Dahlia. My curiosity has led me to finding out that this perennial (grows back season to season) is very symbolic to Mexico. Believe it or not the tuberous roots were consumed by indigenous people. It also served for purposes like treating epilepsy and creating water pipes for the Aztecs.   Jump forward to America today, many can be spotted in gardens and urban farms across the country.

The Dahlia’s beauty is undeniable. Not only is it fascinating to watch it blossom, but it is also useful in many ways. For me, it has given me insight on how nature is something we should all preserve. ¬†From ancient Mexico to modern America, stories can be shared from the past and present when we speak about the Dahlia.

This December we are digging up dahlias that will be in bloom next season.

This December we are digging up dahlia tubers that will be in bloom next season.