DIY: a colorful bouquet of dahlias

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As summer draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to create beautiful floral arrangements between the two seasons. It’s at this time of year, when I can use several different beautiful varieties of flowers – notably dahlias, hydrangeas and Japanese anemones – that I can finally have some fun and make bouquets that will decorate the house, while already showing some beautiful autumnal hues…

I like to use whatever I can find in the garden, and sometimes even pick what I need from the vegetable garden, as in this colorful, country-style dahlia bouquet, where I chose a few stems of dill to add a little lightness and a lovely bright note. The bouquet is indeed quite full of dahlias, but this creates a very « gourmand » and eye-catching visual effect. I also like to create several small bouquets that I scatter around the house, but sometimes I want to create a more imposing arrangement to decorate a room or a round table, for example.

Flowers used for this bouquet

  • Dahlia Penhill Watermelon
  • Dahlia Honka rose
  • Dahlia Café au Lait rosé
  • Dahlia Cactus Holly Hill Spider Woman
  • Dahlia Clair Obscur
  • Dahlia Jaïpur
  • Japanese anemones – pink and white
  • Hydrangeas
  • Ferns
  • Dill
  • Ivy
  • Italian terracotta pots
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For this bouquet, I used a beautiful Italian terracotta pot, which I love and often use as a vase. It comes from a lovely boutique in an outbuilding near Chantilly, where I often visit, called Une Maison en Toscane. Inside, I’ve inserted a plastic container, which I usually use to pour water into, and into which I’ve placed chicken wire to help hold the flowers.


The first step is to place the widest and tallest dahlias, and I follow the principle of the triangle: one in the center, and the other two turned to the side. If you do well with the chicken wire, they’ll stand on their own and serve as a starting point for your composition.

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Keep adding smaller dahlias and in other shades too. I often like to have a gradient effect, and you can use neutral shades and then finish on warmer colors, if you have different varieties in your garden. Try to think ahead before you pick them.


I add stronger colours and make sure to place them according to the different sizes of the stems I’ve cut various heights (I recut them if necessary) for this arrangement. It’s also at this stage that I add other flowers like hydrangeas.

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Once all the flowers have been placed, add « filler » flowers or branches to lighten the composition while drawing the eye to them. Make sure they protrude from the bouquet, either in height or width, for a drooping effect. I use ivy branches, for example, which can achieve this interesting effect. For this bouquet, I had thought of adding a few elderberries, but in the end, it did not look very pretty. On the other hand, the anemones, ferns and dill really add something extra, whether it’s lightness or a bright touch that contrasts with the tones of the larger flowers.


I finish the bouquet with the most fragile dahlias, which also happen to be the most graphic! This is the pink Honka variety, which I grow every year and which is a real little marvel in a garden bed or in a bouquet at home. However, it’s very fragile and I often lose petals when I pick it and place it in my flower basket. So I prefer to pick them up once the bouquet is finished and place them at the end.

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Et voilà !

Don’t forget to often add water to the flowers to make the bouquet last, and enjoy it as much as possible by placing it somewhere in the house where you can appreciate it. And above all, plant dahlias in spring! I’m sometimes told that I’m lucky to be able to make bouquets with such beautiful flowers, but it’s the result of a lot of work, as soon as March arrives, I start planting the tubers in pots (around forty this year – and I’ve lost a few along the way) before replanting them in the ground several weeks later… It takes some care, but it’s worth it!

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