When I was a little girl, my great grandpa lived behind our house. He loved reading the paper to me, working in his veggie and flower gardens, and spoiling both dogs and great grands when we fell upon his doorstep at any given part of the day. I will never forget the amazing dahlias he grew in a long winding brick bed on the side of his driveway. I loved the days of seeing his dahlias pop their giant heads out in brilliant colors of purples, reds and glowing yellows. Sneaking behind the tall stalks, I would wander around the back sides looking up at the incredible blooms.
Some days he would pick me a bouquet of his precious flowers (and always an extra one to give my mom). He would send me bounding back down the hill with a bounty of dahlias larger than the size of my head! I always wondered how he was willing to cut these special flowers off their stems and simply hand them over.
Last winter, my husband bought me several dahlias to plant for my garden. Imagine opening a small box wrapped specially from your husband and children to find a bundle of dirt covered potato like tubers! I waited patiently nurturing them from their unexciting dirty forms. With the added gifts of nurturing and hard work, my husband planted each one in makeshift chicken wire baskets to combat moles, wired them behind tall cedar posts to keep them from deer and watered and fertilized them meticulously from tiny little green heads sprouting to the sign of the first buds.
My hero – how I loved the garden he labored over to give me! By August we had an incredibly bounty and variety of gorgeous dahlias! I loved the time spent in the mornings strolling with my coffee and picking long stems and arranging them in my kitchen. Truly here was the real gift (despite its origin of a dirty brown box). As the garden continued to bloom and grow, I offered the opportunity to pick my dahlias to my own family and friends. It brought me great joy to give these beauties to others.
This year we are building a new, larger dahlia bed and have tripled our order of tubers! It is a carefully planned project built with high hopes and lot’s of love. Cross your fingers we can share some flower generosity and offer an abundance of dahlia blooms this summer!