Our Garden of Everyday No. 9: Dahlia for creativity and inner strength

DahliasContinuing with the series of “Our Garden of Everyday”, it is almost serendipitous that I’ve chosen the beautiful and exotic Dahlia. I’ve been surprised to see so many varieties in garden centers and gardens around, because this flower is particularly close to my heart. My uncle Felix, a dedicated gardener, loved his Dahlias. When the family moved to the countryside, he came to live with us and the garden became his territory; he planted so many of these flowers! He tended them with such love and care, and soon the house beamed with the strong colors and varieties of yellow, orange, red, magenta, fiery red and white, and all sort of dahlias.

According to wikipedia Dahlia is native of Central America and South America, particularly from Mexico -where it is their national flower-, Colombia and Guatemala. It is a member of the asteraceae,  relative of the sunflower, the daisy and the chrysanthemum. In Mexico is a beloved flower, appreciated not only for her beautiful flowers but also used in the scrumptious cuisine of the Oaxaca region.

In the meaning of flowers (according to the Universe of Symbolism website) :

“Dahlia brings the meaningful blessings and messages of enduring grace. Dahlia is also a symbol of inner strength, creativity and standing strong in your sacred values.”

I painted a group of different varieties of dahlias: some double flowers  orange and pink like a sun; others small and wine red, like an inebriated kiss; others simply dancing in pale peach colours (perhaps also smelling of peach and summer).

I think it is a very timely flower, so powerful and fierce, delicate yet fiery, like our souls.  Just recently, my dear friend Alfredo sent me this poem apropos the doubts that artists and thoughtful people, sometimes have:

From Dante’s Divine Comedy. Canto V

“Perché l´animo tuo tanto s´impiglia,
disse ´l maestro, “che l´andare allenti?
che ti fa ciò che quivi si pispiglia?

Vien dientro a me, e lascia dir le genti,
sta come  torre ferma, che non crolla
già mai la cima per soffiar di venti”

(my sloppy translation in English)

“‘Why do you get upset'”,

said the guide, and you stop walking?

What do you care about what other people say?

Go on your way, and let them talk,

be like a tower that does not fall

the cuspid, albeit the wind is blowing.”

And in spanish!

(¿Por qué tu ánimo así se perturba,
dijo el guía, y  tu andar retienes?
¿Y que te importa  lo que se murmura?

Sigue pues, y que la gente diga;
sé cual torre firme en que no cae
la cúspide aunque el viento sople)

Dante, La Divina Comedia, Canto V

My uncle died of a heart attack when he was out in the garden, a perfect way of departing. We scattered his ashes with his beloved dahlias…


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