Years ago, we had a friend who grew dahlias in his garden. Lots and lots of dahlias. When we visited him, he never let us leave without an armful of freshly cut dahlias. When we got home, we arranged them in a large vase and enjoyed them for the better part of a week.
Conditions in my own garden at that time allowed me to grow only the hardiest of plants, the ones that could cling to life in soil consisting of only clay and shells, enduring assaults by salt spray, drought and foraging deer. Dahlias were out of the question.
When we moved, the outlook improved considerably. I planted a variety of dahlia that had failed miserably in my old garden: Tsuki Yori No Shisha. The deeply fringed white petals of Tsuki Yori are a far cry from the meticulously arranged petals of many other dahlias. Its name means “Messenger from the Moon,” the title of an enormously popular Japanese novel which was later made into a movie.
The Tsuki Yori dahlia was hybridized in Japan in 1953 by Kumagai. The novel, Tsuki Yori No Shisha was written by Masao Kume in 1933 and is described as a “melodramatic novel”. The film was made in 1934 and is listed as a “partially lost film”. I have not been able to discover any further description of the book and find myself very curious as to its story line and characters; and especially the “messenger,” who was perhaps a shaggy alien who came to mind when Kumagai saw the shaggy petals of his hybrid dahlia. If any readers of this post have more information, I would greatly appreciated a comment with further details.
Dahlias are the national flower of Mexico and also the official flower of the City of San Francisco. Symbolically, the dahlia denotes elegance and dignity; however, in the Language of Flowers, its meaning is “capriciousness” or “instability,” a better description of Tsuki Yori.
The Tsuki Yori No Shisha dahlia performed very well in my garden this year, blooming for many months. In fact, it is still in bloom now, in late October.