Dahlias: a collection of my notes & photos

From my journal, August 2023:

The Dahlia Dell in full bloom (2023):

From my journal, July 2023:

Pictures from the Dahlia Dell in full bloom (2022), and one of the volunteer gardeners tending to it:

From my journal, July 2023:

Pictures of the gardener in his dahlia garden in Half Moon Bay (July 2020):


I end up in an internet rabbit hole on dahlias, the official flower of San Francisco. The 1926 resolution declaring them the city’s official flower is nothing short of poetic:

WHEREAS, the Dahlia has reached its highest perfection in and about San Francisco, and because Dahlias originated in San Francisco are grown in gardens all over the world; and
WHEREAS, the Dahlia partakes essentially of the character of our beloved city, in birth, breeding and habit, for it was originally Mexican, carried thence to Spain, to France and England in turn, being changed in the process from a simple daisy-like wild flower to a cosmopolitan beauty.
It has come back to San Francisco like the sophisticated world traveler it is, to find its favorite home here, where it thrives in the cool summers and the moist air of our fog-swept, sandy gardens by the sea;
WHEREAS, it is a robust flower, generous and able to thrive in any reasonable soil, so long as it is not too dry, and has the primitive strength of our pioneer ancestors, together with the gayety and color that no other city nor flower can hope to equal, going, like our artists and poets, to carry color and beauty into far climes, but blooming best in our own gardens out of doors in our cool even climates;
WHEREAS, in its versatility, its beauty, its infinite variety of color and form, it is the very symbol of San Francisco life and of the spirit of her people; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Dahlia be and it is here designated the official flower of San Francisco.

Upon reading this, I think to myself that if I ever get asked the question, “If you were a flower, which flower would you be?” I’m going to answer, “the dahlia.” I’m sure I’ll need to leave this city one day, but for now I like to think of myself as that “sophisticated world traveler [who has] found [her] favorite home here, where [I] thrive in the cool summers and the moist air of our fog-swept, sandy gardens by the sea.” I bloom best here. And my prayer is that I be generous, strong, and versatile like the dahlia, and that I carry forward the life, beauty, and spirit of this city for as long as I’m planted here.


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