Dahlia (Dahlia sp.) is a genus of bushy, tuberous plants, native to Mexico and Central America, in the same family as daisies, sunflowers and chrysanthemums. Dahlias were not introduced to the old world until towards the end of the 18th century, first via Madrid, then extending all over the continent with great success; they were named after Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist and student of Carl Linnaeus. In 1963, the dahlia was declared as the National Flower of Mexico. This year, I am growing dahlias for the first time in my Canadian garden. I bought a packet of mixed dwarf cultivars; I started the seed indoors, and transplanted the seedlings once the weather was warm, in early June. A few days ago, as seen in the photo above, I spotted my first flower!