dahling, the dahlias

When we first moved up to the Boston area two years ago and were presented with the opportunity to garden, I was beyond excited. Although I was raised in an apartment in NY, I love to tend to plants. In fact, my father once had a coffee tree in their apartment that faces west so they get lots of light and is always ridiculously hot. (Going back there after having become accustomed to our chilly apartment here, I almost find the heat of my parents’ place insufferable.) My dad had all sorts of plants in the windowsills, from a teeny azalea bush to amaryllis to African violets to different varieties of spider plants, whatever he caught his eye at the local florist. These plants would thrive there on the windowsills in their living room. He still has a whole bunch of them there including a pine sapling that my mother somehow ended up with and had better find a proper home for before it goes through their ceiling.

Since moving out however many years ago now, I have tried to keep plants in my different apartments but have never quite had the same level of success my dad has had doing so. The closest I came was in our stinky beloved old apartment in LIC where I grew a whole bunch of aeniums and other succulents. They did really well in our super-hot apartment (I swear it was 90 degrees year-round in that place). While we were living there, I tried my hand at actual gardening by joining the community garden, which was fun. I planted a few things, but I don’t think I really cared for them properly. I was a slacker about going there every weekend, and sometimes I used to just go and hang out there. I’d have coffee with my friend who ran it, and we’d do a little bit of work and a whole lot of talking. It probably didn’t help that we’re both big hand-talkers so we did more gesturing than gardening as we chatted.

Last year, up here in fancy-pants Cambridge, I planted several dahlias, but they didn’t do very well. One of them didn’t grow much, and the other two were knocked over and destroyed in a storm because I didn’t stake them correctly. Due to what I thought was a failure on my part, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about planting more dahlias this year. I even lost last year’s tubers, which I took as some sort of sign that I shouldn’t bother. (They’re somewhere in a brown paper bag in Matt’s parents’ basement. Yep.) However, Matt went and got a bunch of tubers at Bonnie’s anyway, and touched by the fact that he did this, I planted them, blindly, only knowing what one of the whole bunch would look like. It was late in the season so Matt said the pickings were slim, and I had assumed that they were probably all the same variety. Well, we lucked out big time because we got a lovely array of brilliant dahlias. And because of all the rain, they’ve done exceptionally well this year. I’ve also made sure to stake them securely and to re-stake them after storms or heavy rain. So yay for dahlias! I’m hoping next year is as bountiful in our little garden.

big fat purple dahlia about to bloom
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6 thoughts on “dahling, the dahlias

  1. You could put these pics on notecards. The shots are gorgeous…and make me wish that I could actually grow plants instead of killing them…sigh.

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