Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tiptoeing Through the Dahlias


Where to start? 
I've been off visiting in the Northwest and my head is so crowded with images and ideas I'm frozen into inaction. Since I was recently blogging about butterflies, maybe I should get the ball rolling, or unfreeze my brain, by posting another butterfly photo, taken while watering in the garden this morning. He's not as dramatic as the others but his name is very apt --- he's the one most like a pat of butter. If you click to "embiggen" (thanks for that Elephant's Child!) you can see his delicate sippy straw inserted in the flower.
" The summer's gone and all the flowers are dying," the butterflies know their days are numbered so they're flitting frenetically. I'm not a chest-pounding, butterbox-climbing religious zealot but I don't need much more than butterflies, bugs, and flowers, trees and birds to convince me God's in his heaven and there's still a lot right with the world.




On my first weekend in the Northwest we went to a dahlia farm. There, more than here, summer's on the fast track to becoming a distant memory. The flowers were past their prime but still the fields were ablaze with color. I once planted a dahlia, encouraged by a friend's success. Nothing happened. I kept looking for little green shoots and kept not finding them. And recently discovered that our California Girl is a dahlia enthusiast. You could call me one too....the difference between us being that she can actually grow them while I kill them (albeit unintentionally) in infancy. Sigh. My mother had a beautiful flower bed that ran the length of our garden. She'd be so proud of her grandchildren, all of whom, unlike her daughter, can nurture green, leafy things.







It reminded me of growing up, when mother would send me off on my bike to get flowers from the gardens of a grand house nearby. She was on friendly terms with the gardener there. He'd been the hospital gardener when she was nursing and had helped her set up her own flower border. Unfortunately, that little acre of heaven exists only in my memory now. It was long ago paved over and covered with houses. But back then mum always had a vase of fresh flowers on the hall table. I hope she has fields like these in heaven!




As you can see, the bees were busy too at summer's end in the Northwest.

Each variety of dahlia seemed more beautiful than the last but, if I had to pick my overall favourite it would be this....




If forced to choose, I'd say blue was my favourite colour, but when it comes to flowers my heart belongs to the pinks and burgundies.

And though I'm not usually a fan of orange, this baby could almost change my mind!





Another memory stirred by this visit to the dahlia fields was of visiting the tulip fields in Keukenhof, Holland when we lived in Belgium --- Oh my!




Our knowledge of Dutch was minimal but flowers need no words, just appreciative eyes.
No wonder tongue-tied lovers resort to bouquets to do their talking...





Doesn't this pink stir vague memories in your brain of Fibonacci numbers? I'd never heard of them until youngest son learned about them in science class. I was blown away! Proof that you're never too old to learn something new, or a new way of seeing familiar things, such as flowers, that you've been looking at all your life. I checked on Google though and found that Fibonacci numbers don't apply to dahlias. Someone (very dedicated!) took a dahlia apart to count the petals and they were not in the Fibonacci  sequence. But sunflowers are, if you want to take a look...





By the time we headed home our brains were saturated with colour...





....our senses overloaded....




...and we couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the day!










12 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Oh my.
Ooh and ahh.
Here in a particularly colourful Spring, I am also grateful to see these glories.
Thank you.
And I love the term 'sippy straw'. Someday I will take a flutterbye photo of that quality too. Some day.

Susan Kane said...

I bet your senses were on overload. My Goodness! So beautiful!

Ali Honey said...

That butterfly photo is a beauty. The wing spots almost look like rust spots.
Dahlias grow easily here, mine have just the first few leaves up at the moment.If they do well they add a large patch od colour to a garden.
Thanks for your kind words on my Blog.

Barb said...

Dahlia's are so varied and lovely. I can't grow them at altitude - I think the nights are too cold. Also, don't you have to dig the bulbs up in fall and replant them in spring? I love your butterfly with the light shining through its wings.

Lee said...

The dahlias are beautiful. We have dark ruby ones growing here on this property
They're a lovely flower.

Sabine said...

Gorgeous, stunning dahlias. Alas, I have been overruled in our garden, nobody but me likes them. The man who gardens decided they were useless. The cheek of him!

Secret Agent Woman said...

A dahlia farm! That sounds heavenly!

My butterflies are still very active in the garden but I know their days are numbered.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Some philistine hacked a nearby butterfly bush to toothpicks a couple of weeks ago , since when I haven't seen any butterflies at all . Next door's ginger cat is devastated ; he was convinced if he sat underneath it , he'd catch one , sooner or later .
Never mind , next year...

Pam said...

When I plant dahlias, all the neighbourhood slugs and snails slither rapidly to the feast. Very shortly, all you see is little stumpy stalks.

Molly Bon said...


EC --- borrowed from my days of raising children. Whether I did a better job of that than I've done with dahlias is still up for reckoning. Does anyone look back, dust off their hands, smile with satisfaction and say "Wow, I really aced that!"? 'Cause I'm not there yet.

SK --- Overload indeed! Yesterday on a walk I saw more and didn't have my camera --- tragedy! I used to try my hand at painting but I could never compete as an artist with Mother Nature ---her work is gasp-inducing and admittance to her gallery is free!

Ali --- I've been visiting your garden for many years and am in awe of your green thumb!

Barb --- it really is all about the light....

Lee --- have you seen the ones that are "black?"

Sabine --- But art is not useless he would surely agree? And if he insists art/dahlias are useless, how was he ever allowed into your garden?

SAG --- I finally did what I'd meant to do for years --- planted both the plants that feed the caterpillars and the resultant butterflies! I have been richly rewarded!

S&S --- There's no accounting for the numbskulls of the world.

Pam --- Still giggling from the mental pictures your comment produced in my head!



dianne said...

dahlias don't like me and refuse to grow ... irises and peonies are another story, though, so i'm okay with that...

don't you just love days when you can't stop smiling?!?

Thimbleanna said...

Oh Wow - they're beautiful Molly! I think my favorites are the pink ones. I'd love to try growing them - unlike Pam, we don't have slug problems, so, maybe it would work!