Delighting in Dahlias

Recently this image appeared in our town’s Facebook group, along with an open invitation for anyone in town to stop by and gather up some dahlias.

I have to admit, I’ve never considered growing dahlias and don’t know much about them. Classified as tender perennials, they have to be dug up each winter and replanted in the fall. I know myself well enough to avoid that situation! No, thanks! But…free dahlias? Sure!

I took note of the address, jumped in my car and headed out. As I neared, I slowed down, looking carefully for the address. Would I be able to find it?

I needn’t have worried. The wagon of blossoms was like a beacon at the end of the driveway. I pulled over and got out. The blooms were even more glorious in person. I may have audibly oohed and aahed a bit.

I turned to see a woman emerging from behind the house, clippers in hand.

“These are gorgeous,” I said, wandering over. “It’s so kind of you to share them with everyone!”

“Well,” she said, “I just love dahlias. I keep buying them and I don’t want them to go to waste. If I didn’t give them away, I’d have to compost them. I’d hate to do that!”

“Don’t you have to store them inside in the winter?” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” she said. “We have a ridiculously large bathroom that stays pretty cool, so I put them in there.” She looked around at the beds bursting with dahlia blossoms. “I’m not sure if they’re going all fit this year,” she admitted and laughed, “but I just can’t resist them!”

We chatted about gardens, dahlias, managing tender perennials, etc. As we spoke, several more cars pulled over to the side of the road. People were laughing and peering into the wagon, comparing and selecting blossoms. Word was clearly out.

I moved back toward the wagon to choose my flowers and the woman accompanied me. As I gazed at all the choices, I was wowed by the variety and the subtle gradients of color.

“These are stunning!” I said.

She nodded, smiling, and as I selected blossoms, she added a few choices of her own with some commentary.

“Oh, you have to have this one!”

“Take this one, too. It’s one of my favorites! It’s just like a watercolor, isn’t it!?”

Finally, I had a lovely bouquet gathered. After thanking her again, I headed home to organize my flowers.

A short while later, I was definitely rethinking dahlias. Some relationships are clearly worth a little extra effort!

Update: This week’s selection!