Update. July 14, 2020
Note: I am red-faced as I make this confession. After fussing below about this dahlia not looking like Cafe Au Lait, I think I simply forgot that I planted another variety alongside the replaced dahlias. I’ll have to check back to see if I can find a label for it. Meanwhile the “imposter” has opened into a lovely form (semi-cactus?) with a white center. I actually love it. Apologies for my confusion.
Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase using cuttings from our gardens. After what seems like a month without rain passing us by, we finally had a fierce, full-blown thunderstorm Friday night. Temporarily refreshed, the garden must brace for extreme heat this week.
I am not a huge fan of pink but with fewer flower choices today I decided to showcase a couple of dinnerplate dahlias in an Ikebana vase.
Last year I ordered 9 Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ tubers. I was disappointed when they bloomed. Not all but most seemed imposters—so unlike the photos of the soft coffee cream blush ones I have admired. The company where I purchased them suggested I might have been sent D. ‘Labyrinth’ by mistake and offered a refund or replacements this spring. I chose to receive replacements.
Now dahlias that overwintered from last year along with some replacements planted this spring are in bloom.
The replacements so far look even more distantly related, although I’ve heard from some of you there can be a range of color variation in the flowers of ‘Cafe Au Lait’ and also there are pink ones such as Café au Lait Rosé and Café au Lait Royal.
This is from the new tubers. Since the photograph was taken this flower has begun opening to a somewhat paler center. I am curious to see how the other replacements turn out.
Ironically this one is from last year. Still not the iconic look I seek, but beautiful and definitely less pinky. It is about 6 inches in diameter. I will keep feeding.
A small hydrangea cluster, pale pink in color, became the third element in today’s design. Would I prefer it be blue, yes, but I haven’t taken on the task of adjusting the soil pH. The hydrangea is perfect for today’s study in pink.
Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)
Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week. Peace. Be well.
A neighbour started Cafe au Lait this year. It also bears no resemblance to the beverage…
Ah, good to know. Hope your neighbor is still happy with their dahlia. I’m moving on next year!
Airy and exquisitely simple. Gives one a feeling of coolness. Very pretty and your dahlias are stunning, even if not what you were expecting.
Thanks Cindy. I see what you mean about coolness–left enough room for a breeze to pass through.
How strange about the variable dahlias – I can’t believe that the ‘lilac’ one is meant to be Cafe au Lait too! There is something odd going on at the growers – although n the UK I have only seen examples that are undoubtedly milky coffee coloured. Sorry that you don’t like pink, but for those of us that do your graceful arrangement is a joy, especially with the foliage you have chosen to accompany it. Thanks for sharing, Susie
Thanks Cathy. I long to see those milky coffee colored ones in person some day. For now I’m just going to enjoy whatever blooms. Hope you have a good week.
It would be lovely to see you if you came to the UK, Susie, although there are no Cafe au Lait here in my garden – I tried them one year but they were too big and blousy for me
CAL is such a gorgeous hybrid. It is interesting that there is such variation. Does it generally get paler as it ages?
Good question Eliza but I am not sure. It’s so hot outside everything it fading before having a chance to age gracefully. The only other CAL I’ve brought in this year wilted early too. It had a very hollow stem and didn’t seem to take up water well. So I’ll have to see how this one does.
Gorgeous, even though I agree with you, they don’t look like Cafe au Lait. And I love the foliage again. Water, water!!
I like that foliage too. Would you believe it’s from a second arrangement I’d made last week (but not shown)? So it’s been upcycled this week. Take care.
Wow, I wonder if the foliage could be dried?
Maybe but today I am seeing some browning on leaves.
I’ve seen so much variability in dahlia colors that I’ve begun to wonder if growing conditions have an impact. I’ve never grown ‘Cafe au Lait’ but the ‘Labyrinth’ I grew was far paler than any of the photos I’d seen of it online. I bought new tubers from a different grower this year (having allowed those that I dug up last year to shrivel during the last stages of our home remodel) and ‘Labyrinth’ is one of those. I’m waiting with some curiosity to see if it looks the same as the last one I previously grew or more like those shared by the grower – or something else altogether.
Kris, I have wondered too about soil and other growing conditions. Hope your new Labyrinth is the iconic version.
Cleverly done and very effective.
Thanks very much, Linda!
I am probably not the only person for whom the greenery was particularly appealing. You chose a great form, and that colour goes perfectly with the blooms.
Hi Noelle. Thank you. I’ve fallen in love with that baptisia. It’s so light, supports rather than overwhelms.
I think the pink version of Cafe au lait is lovely, but then I have never been keen on the paler one. With your hydrangea and deeper pink dahlia you have created a beautiful arrangement again, such a lovely shape!
Cathy, after photographing this arrangement I went back and reworked the placement of the flowers to improve the shape, so thanks for mentioning the shape! Maybe that effort paid off. My hydrangea flower is rather puny (I think a helper pruned it in early spring), but the cluster was fresh and a good foil for the dahlias. Hope you have a good week.
I like pink, dahlias, hydrangeas, and I love the Baptisia. Lovely creation.
These pinks are growing on me a Judy as I catch a glimpse of them once in a while. Thanks.
They are all good. Actually, I have not been too impressed with ‘Cafe au lait’. It is spectacular, but no more so than some of the dahlias we grew in the 1980s. They do not need a pretty name.
Lots of other dahlias out there to try.
Yes! They are incredibly diverse.