Burst and Bloom

Growing dahlias is a serious business.

To suggest that Mason Moomaw likes dahlias is an understatement. 

The bushy, tubeous plant that originiated in the mountains of Mexico makes up the vast majority of flowers on the half-acre plot of farmland in Powhatan County that the Richmonder is cultivating.

“There are hundreds of varieties and the colors tend to change with the season—they are more muted in the heat and more vibrant when it starts cooling down. That appeals to me,” says Moomaw. 

The 26-year old is a part-time horticulturist. He works for a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, but says his passion for flowers comes from spending childhood summers working on his parents’ flower farm in Lynchburg with his five siblings. 

“It’s in my blood, and I wanted to go back to it,” he says.

Moomaw started Burst and Bloom earlier this year, planting 40 varieties of the notoriously labor-intensive flower on Easter weekend. “The Virginia heat is the hardest thing,” he explains, noting that a watering system connected to the nearby James River ensures that his flowers stay hydrated. The flowers can bloom from July until frost, reaching their peak in late October. 

“Just like everything else local, the flower scene is undergoing a bit of a resurgence,” says the sandy-haired JMU grad, “but since nobody else was doing it at a high-quality level in Richmond, I decided I’d be the one to do it.”

Moomaw has focused on selling his dahlias to Richmond-area floral designers and florists, but has plans to offer them at area farmers’ markets soon. 434-509-5100

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