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Dahlias are very exuberant and seduce the eye, so it is better to get playful than to try to control their shape in a static arrangement. Use one color as a base, playing with another on top -- it's almost impossible to go wrong and you'll get a gorgeous piece.
Photography: Marion Brenner2 of 14
Arrangement of Dahlia Varieties
A china vase holds 'Ben Huston,' 'Old Gold,' 'Anries' Orange,' 'Prince Noir,' and 'Jomanda' dahlias creating a beautiful and lush fall arrangement.
Photography: Frederic Lagrange3 of 14
Dark and Dramatic Arrangement
"I love Japanese baskets, and the rich mahogany-reddish shade of this old container looks fabulous with a dusky arrangement of purple hazel leaves, sprays of broom corn, reddish ornamental grass, blackish dahlias, and purple artichokes," says Martha about this fall arrangement.
Photography: Marion Brenner4 of 14
Colorful Dahlia Arrangement
It only takes a few of these burgundy-and-white dahlias, including 'Deuil du Roi Albert,' in a hand-turned porcelain pot to create a beautiful arrangement. A single 'Cafe au Lait' dahlia sits in a smaller dish (right).
Photography: Marion Brenner5 of 14
Flower Bucket Arrangement
An antique flower bucket holds a freshly cut assortment of 'Emory Paul' and 'Andries' Orange' dahlias and Giant zinnias.
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Simple Dahlia Arrangement
For this elegant centerpiece, we snipped a single dahlia bloom and set it in a pressed-glass sugar bowl. When setting a flower upon the rim of a cup or small bowl, be sure to leave an inch or so of stem attached so the bloom can continue to drink.
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Cake Stand Arrangement
A cake stand holds small dishes, a bud vase, and large saltcellars filled with dahlias, sweet peas, and sedum.
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A yellowware kitchen bowl of late-summer dahlias would certainly be lovely enough on its own, but adding a contrasting element -- here, wispy asparagus fronds -- make the hot colors and spiky forms even more striking.
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When it comes to displaying lush, dome-shaped blooms -- dahlias, garden roses, gardenias, camellias, or the peonies shown here -- less is often more. Float a few big blossoms in a generous-sized bowl or single ones in smaller vessels. Cut the stems at a slant, about an inch below the bloom, just before floating in tepid water.
Photography: Christopher Baker10 of 14
A White Pumpkin with White Dahlias
A white pumpkin is transformed into a homemade vase. Select a pumpkin about eight inches in diameter; cut off the top, and scoop out pulp and seeds. Place a small container, such as a highball glass, inside the pumpkin. Trim flowers to fit (we used twelve dahlias, but two dozen carnations would also work), and arrange in the glass.
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Photography: Ellie Miller11 of 14
A floral arrangement becomes positively frightening when covered in creepy cobwebs. To make the webs, cut a 5-inch section from inexpensive or damaged white pantyhose, and pull apart until it becomes wispy and resembles cobwebs. Stretch the material over a cluster of dark blooms (we used crimson roses and dahlias, as well as some fiddlehead ferns). Set on a sideboard or on a dining table as a centerpiece.
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Mum, Dahlia, and Rose Hip Centerpiece
Mums are versatile blooms, as charming in casual arrangements as in considered ones. Pale-yellow 'Ginger' and orange 'Gold Strike' mums are made livelier by crimson dahlias; clusters of ruby-red rose hips gleam like jewels between the flowers. As a centerpiece, the display sets a cheerful tone for a weekend brunch.
Photography: Frederic Lagrange13 of 14
A large Staffordshire tureen, fitted with a giant floral frog, is the perfect vessel for a stunning arrangement of three unusual fall blooms: striped dahlias in orange and white, papery Chinese lanterns stripped of all leaves, and dill gone to yellow flower heads.
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Pumpkin Vase Flower Arrangement
A pumpkin is turned into a perfect vase for fall when filled with seasonal flowers such as dahlias, cockscombs, rose hips, and mini crab apples.