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Pretty Little Liars – Café au Lait Dahlias


Image 1

found on Pinterest (of course) with a credit to

Behold! The autumnal It Girl of wedding florals: the stunning Café au Lait Dahlia. She’s the one making the Pinterest rounds for every bride looking for that coveted and hard to describe color of BLUSH.  A not white, not cream, kinda sorta pink color bordering on caramel that really does look like coffee with a lot of milk in it. In addition to its remarkable size (ranging from approx. 6″ diameter to the roughly the size of your face) and non-stop billowy texture, this flower provides just the right tea-stained hue for a out door rustic wedding with a vintage vibe. Image 3Image 2 Image 4(photo credits:, and martha stewart weddings)

Or does it…?

See, this is a flower of many colors. While the Bridal Industrial Complex has turned its focus solely on its creamy ability to match the current craze for neutral and blush color schemes, the flower seems determined NOT to match, thank you very much. Sometimes it is pink. IMG_9082Sometimes it is striped. And sometimes it commits the sin of being a color not seen since your Mom’s wedding in the 1980’s:  lavender. IMG_9330You might even damn it all together and call it that most out-dated of all colors: mauve.

It’s a flower with the ability to make tough farm hands cry. Josh Flynn, the General Manager of Wollam Gardens in Jeffersonton VA hangs his head in exhaustion at the mere mention of Cafe au lait; “…all those designers, calling me…’why did you send me purple flowers?!” He just shakes his head and can’t go on.

So growers have learned the hard way to let designers and brides know ahead of time that it may or may not be the honeyed color of a misty morning dawn they saw in a Martha Stewart photo shoot.

Despite the Pinterest wall to wall coverage of tan flowers, this is a flower with a mind of it’s own. The tuber catalogs are very clear: “color variations do occur.” Some suggest the variation has to do with the amount of sun, soil composition or time in the season, but growers like Josh see the reality in the field; “when literally one plant right next to the other is vastly different it makes that very hard to believe.”

I gotta say, I like that in a plant. If that mauve beauty clashes with your bridesmaids peach dress or upsets your wedding planner, so be it. Take your objections up with God. Café au Lait has her own ideas.

IMG_9090And so a toast, to that floral wild card – Café au Lait: long may you change your mind.



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