This battered little Dahlia is the first I’ve grown. They get lost in the garden as they aren’t that big, and a bit away from any sitting area. But they’re worth the walk.
Dalia’s came from the Aztecs. When the Spanish came over they also botanists, who befriended the Aztec gardeners. Francisco Hernandez recounted the myth he was told, “The Earth Goddess Serpent Woman was ordered by the sky gods to impale a flower of Dahlia coccinea on the sharp point of a maguey leaf and to hold both to her heart all night. The next morning she gave birth to Uizilopochti, he was god, fully grown, fully armed, and with a thirst for blood from the flowers’ eight blood-red rays.”
An enterprising French minister smuggled a shipment of Dahlia tubers, accidentally back home and they came to empress Josephine, who had plenty of time for gardening with Napoleon gone conquering Europe most of the time.
She kept the Dahlias to herself, but a Polish count made off with some of the tubers and eventually they made their way to Britain. The Brits went nuts for Dahlias and now they’re back in vogue in the new world again.