Cornell Bronze Dahlia - Wedding Flowers Wednesday
In the image above, cornell bronze dahlias surround blizzard (a white dahlia variety).
What’s so special about it?
The intricate geometry, festive fall coloring, and overall unique look of the cornell bronze dahlia make it the perfect flower to set against a gorgeous backdrop of fall leaves in a scenic New England wedding. This flower performs equally well in the garden as it does in a bouquet, producing an abundance of perfect blooms, with petals rarely marred by pests, on strong, sturdy stems. This is one of the few dahlias that I can neglect to stake and neglect to protect from insects, and still have an incredible harvest.
Color and Appearance
Cornell bronze is a beautiful, burnt orange ball dahlia, similar in color to pumpkin pie, or an oak leaf glowing in the orange light of an autumnal sunset. The blooms are three to four inches in diameter and forward facing. They have an extremely high number of rows of intricately folded petals. These petals unfold until the flower is almost a perfect sphere. The flower is beautiful up close for its tiny details, and from a distance for its geometric form. I love tucking these into bouquets with some larger flowers, such as cafe au lait dahlias, and some smaller blooms, like bachelor buttons. They are the perfect medium size flower to draw your eye into the design.
Two Cornell bronze dahlias form the center of this hairpiece that I made for a September 2021 bride, at Nuzzo's Farm in Branford. Photo by GEM photography.
The height of dahlia season is early September through mid-October. The dahlias are at their most prolific during times of warm, sunny days and nights that are cool, but above freezing. While dahlias in the field often don’t start blooming until late July, through careful management of the plants in my heated greenhouse, I’ve managed to produce dahlia harvests starting in early May. The burnt orange color of cornell bronze is more popular in autumn, so I don’t usually plant an early crop of them, unless a couple requests it. The more advance that you book your wedding with me, the more time it gives me to custom grow the flowers of your dreams.
How to grow cornell bronze dahlias in Connecticut
There is too much information about growing dahlias in Connecticut to cover it all in today’s blog post. Instead, I’ll share a little known tip about dahlia growing that can give you the earliest dahlia blooms on the block, even without a greenhouse! Connecticut has a relatively short growing season, and dahlias can sometimes take a while to get going, especially when we have a cool spring, as we did in spring 2021. To get earlier blooms, dahlia tubers can be potted up and placed on a seedling heat mat under grow lights or in a sunny, south-facing window. 70 degrees is the ideal temperature to set your seedling heat mat to. I like to start mine in 4-inch pots about 6-8 weeks before planting them out. That means I start my field dahlias on the heat mats in late March or early April, and plant them out in mid-May. Expect your first blooms about 6 to 10 weeks after transplanting, depending on the dahlia variety and the weather conditions. Cornell bronze tends to bloom on the early side, as far as dahlias go, although it’s not as early as my very earliest variety, golden scepter. I hope you try this tip, and that it helps you with your dahlias next spring.
Cornell bronze putting on a good show in the flower field at Sterling Organic Farm.