Nurseries Made Dahlias Popular.
Plants enter our gardens usually through the portal of the green industry like seed companies, nurseries, and growers.
That was the case with the dahlia.
Originally from Mexico, the dahlias appeared in Spain in the eighteenth century.
The dahlia reached England in 1803, and America a few years later.
Boston nurseryman Charles Mason Hovey (1810-1887) became an early advocate for the dahlia. In his publication Magazine of Horticulture in 1835 he called the dahlia the “King of Flowers.”
In 1838 he wrote, “They [dahlias] have become one of the greatest and most valuable ornaments of the garden.”
Then he also said, “We believe the time is at hand when our own gardens will produce dahlias equalling the English.”
Hovey won Best in Class I for his twenty-five dissimilar dahlia blooms at the Flower Show sponsored by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society on Saturday, October 1, 1842.
Thus his writing about the plant and also growing it, and, of course, selling it contributed to gardeners planting it in the garden.
Hovey was only one of the early nurserymen to encourage the dahlia.
Today we have a company like American Meadows which still encourages gardeners to grow dahlias.
This image [below] is from the AM company website.Hovey wrote in 1840, “Some seedling dahlias have been raised, which equal the best productions of the English garden.”
American dahlia growers can stand up to the best.
Today there are 57,000 varieties of the dahlia. This flower has come a long way, with no small thanks to the American nursery business.