Monday, October 4, 2010
Dallying with Dahlias
In my mind, dahlias are purely social creatures inviting willing participants to stop and gaze at their loveliness. Growing alone or in clusters, they are here solely for our enjoyment and help to take our minds off of the severe weather yet to come. Their dizzy array of color promises beauty and frivolity, theirs to flaunt, while continuously teasing the humming birds, until the first hard frost.
If there was ever a flower that spoke to the beauty that variety contributes to the depth of the garden, it is the dahlia. The cornucopia of colors dahlias provide, from stark white to deep reds and purples and even pale creams and burnt oranges all the while boasting versatility in solid and variegated forms, is beguiling. In fact, there is such a vast assortment of dahlia shapes and sizes that they are grouped into six different categories of sizes from the "Giants" that are about 10 inches in diameter all the way down to the "Mignons" that are 2 inches or less in diameter. From there, dahlias are further divided into 11 more categories ranging from "Decorative" to "Novelty." My head is spinning so let me just concentrate on the graceful majesty the dahlias in my gardens are currently displaying like proud peacocks. To me, each dahlia petal, plain or frilly, mammoth or minuscule, is a thing to savor during these early autumn days.
Most gardeners will tell you to preserve them by digging them up and storing them away during the cold winters. Maybe I've been lucky. I don't dig them up and their rich green foliage deli-gently appears in my garden borders each spring, encouraging their ruffled blooms from mid-summer until well into autumn. And, for that, I am truly grateful, for their presence in my garden beds as well as gracing my summer and autumn tables, year after year. I love dahlias!