dahlias and georgianna lane

by Sharon Santoni


cafe au lait dahlia

Last week I had the huge pleasure of welcoming Georgianna Lane and her husband David Phillips to my home in Normandy.   It was a beautiful sunny day, and I laid our table outside with dahlias all the way down the centre, because it was a day to celebrate dahlias.


I think you know by now how much I love this flower.  It is the star of my autumn garden, and because – thank goodness – the more you pick dahlais the more they flower, I have bouquets of the big colourful blooms in my home from August through to the first frosts.

dahlias on table

But my table decoration was not only seasonal, it was also my happy dance for Georgianna whose new book Dahlias was recently released.   This beautiful book is a definitive guide to dahlia varieties, and I’m thrilled to have been gifted a copy.    Of course I found my favorites like Café au Lait, but also discovered some new varieties that I shall be hunting down for the garden next year.



Georgianna and David both work as photographers.  You may remember I mentioned David’s book about Venice a couple of months ago, and they each have outstanding Instagram accounts, with their shared account showing only shots of Paris,  under the name A Parisian Moment.

Georgianna on Instagram

David on Instagram

A Parisian Moment on Instagram

Georgianna’s book about Dahlias


Georgianna Lane dahlias book 5

And finally,  if you are wondering how to grow dahlias  and how to get the best results, then I have to tell you about Erin at Floret Farms.    She has  wonderful on line courses on various aspects of gardening , and offers her readers a very complete and generous guide to growing dahlias for free!   Check it out here.

And really finally we are happy to announce the winners on our Stylish Box Giveaway:

Roxane Lacroix and Laurie McPherson

Congratulations and please get in touch!



David Phillips October 1, 2018 - 3:53 pm

Sharon, you really are one of the most wonderful people I have met!! It was such a pleasure to be invited into your lovely home, meet your family (not to mention superdogs!) and have a lovely meal. Everything you do is a work of art. Thank you very much for your lovely comments here. Looking forward very much to seeing you again!

David Phillips October 1, 2018 - 3:55 pm

PS I realize I used the word “lovely” three times in complete violation of the most fundamental rules of good writing, but I do not regret it!

Mary Britton October 2, 2018 - 10:28 am

The most fundamental rules must certainly be broken in instances such as you’ve described. Let freedom reign and heartfelt expression triumph!

Victoria Savu October 1, 2018 - 4:38 pm

Sharon, so much valuable information on today’s blog. I love Georgianna photography. I have her Pairs in Bloom book and I buy her note cards and cards. My friends are so pleased when I send one of her cards. I will be buying her book Dahlias for many reason, one of them because dahlias are one of my favorite flowers. I can’t wait to have time to read the free information on growing dihalias. I have been growing them for about 5 years and love to have such a lovely flower right up to frost.

Georgianna October 1, 2018 - 7:56 pm

Thank you so much, Victoria!

Victoria Savu October 1, 2018 - 9:43 pm

Georgianna, I just ordered a signed copy of Dahlias. Can hardly wait to get it. Love Victoria

Marie Batson October 1, 2018 - 6:20 pm

Thank you so very much for the free info on growing dahlias. Here in S.E. Washington state I was able to save my tubers over winter in storage for the first time last year and so had multiples to replant in the spring. Even with our super long hot summer I am enjoying the gorgeous blooms to beautify my home and gift to others. I look forward to adding different varieties next year. They almost don’t look real as they are so beautiful and perfect!! The trouble of digging and storing etc. is so worth it.

Victoria Savu October 1, 2018 - 6:44 pm

You are so correct . We are so rewarded for the digging and storing.

Melanie Arnst October 1, 2018 - 6:58 pm

Thanks so much for the useful links as I need the help. I was so looking forward to my first dahlias ever and the slugs ate them:( So I will have to just enjoy the beautiful photos of them this year:)

Georgianna October 1, 2018 - 7:55 pm

Dear Sharon, Our beautiful visit with you and your family at your enchanting home and garden was a complete joy. My gratitude to you for graciously sharing my Dahlias book and for tying in the theme so perfectly to our luncheon with your magnificent flowers. We loved every minute and will cherish the memory of that late summer afternoon always, with the sun slanting through the trees, the dogs at our feet and such special company. Merci beaucoup! xx

Marianne October 1, 2018 - 9:23 pm

Dear Sharon, thank you for the beautiful dahlias. I have grown a few but not very successfully I must admit. They are gorgeous. I
Downloaded the file with info on growing and caring for them, so a big thank you for that also. So love your blog and pictures.

david terry October 1, 2018 - 11:30 pm

Dear Sharon,
What a lovely posting, and I’ll definitely be ordering your friend’s Dahlia book for Christmas presents. I’m always relieved, around this time of the year, when I encounter a book (these are easily shipped) and immediately think “THAT is the perfect present for half the folks on my list”. This one looks particularly beautiful AND helpful.

Here in the Upper South (USA), dahlias grow perfectly….neither too hot nor too cold nor too dry, etcetera. I know, I know……there are thousands of carefully cultivated and hybridized varieties, but it remains that my favorite dahlias (and the favorites of everyone who visits) are ones that have no name, beyond “OH…..that came from a piece out of my great aunt Sally”s garden, and SHE got it from HER momma. You want some? i’ll dig you up a bit come Fall. Just stick it in the ground and it’ll do just fine if you leave it alone. Don’t go messing and poking around at it come spring”.

In short? No one seems to know the origin or “name” of any of these dahlias, and all of my gardening friends have ones that came from the garden of a friend who knew their great-grandmother back in Virginia or Tennessee. I don’t at all associate dahlias with rich-ladies-with-fine-gardens-and-yardmen (Our term for “gardeners”, here in the south). They’re like Geraniums (which I also love, quite indiscriminately), old fashioned camellias (We have lots of these), and various forms of basically-feral clematis…….I associate them with old ladies, old fashioned flower borders around their porches (Which could always use a new coat of paint), and old times (I grew up in the country). Every old lady, no matter how poor, had a VERY prized dahlia or two…….sometimes growing out of an old tire-filled-with-dirt in the front yard…..but ALWAYS associated with whatever previous old lady had passed a “start” on. I don’t recall their being grown in middle-class, suburban gardens when I was growing up int the 1960/70’s; presumably, they would have been considered too “weedy” or too “high maintenance” (they do need staking).

In any case, I love them and think of them as one of the most democratic flowers I know……and thank you for the obviously evocative posting (takes me right back to visiting old lady relative, out in the country, back in Tennessee….)
David Terry
Quail Roost Farm
Rougemont, NC

Vicky (from Athens) October 3, 2018 - 2:05 am

Thank you, David, I couldn’t have said it better myself!!!!!

Joanne Day October 2, 2018 - 12:15 am

Dear Sharon,
a perfect post for me as we are in Spring here in Australia and I have Dahlia bulbs to re-plant. First I shall watch Erin’s course online. Second I will be ordering Georgianna’s book. Thirdly, I wonder if you know the name of the Dahlia in the last image on your post – the two-tone burgundy and pink – spectacular! I need to find it plus the one on the cover of the book. So beautiful.
Thank you, Sharon. This post is a real treat.
Blue Mountains
Sydney Australia

Dianne Adams October 2, 2018 - 6:27 am

Thanks, Sharon for the wonderful shots of the dahlias, always one of my favorites and also for the link to Georgianna & David’s Paris Moments . What a fabulous means of escape into the lovely neighborhoods and streets of Paris in all seasons. Fantastic!!!

Sheila in SF October 2, 2018 - 4:20 pm

Thank you for the information on dalias. What a beautiful flower…
I am not successful in growing dalias in the Bay Area but enjoy their beauty.


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