For many years our Long Island station has featured a display garden of beautiful dahlia varieties, thanks to our fantastic volunteer gardeners, and our local Long Island Dahlia Society maintains one with over 1,000 plants at the estimable Bayard Cutting Arboretum, a bayside destination worth a visit even when the dahlias are not at their peak. It's hard not to be wowed by the stunning diversity of flower forms and wide range of bright colors in the cool of late summer and fall when dahlias really come into their own. Dahlias have a long history of horticultural and botanical appreciation; according to L. H. Bailey's Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture (1933), 'dahlia' was named by 18th-century Spanish botanist Antonio José Cavanilles for a Swedish pupil of Linnaeus, Prof. Andreas Dahl, who incidentally was also for a time the keeper of Swedish Baron Clas Alströmer's (of the eponymous 'alstromeria') botanical garden. Bailey notes one English dealer in 1841 with over 1,200 varieties; the American Dahlia Society's current On-line Classification Guide lists over 10,000 registered.
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