An afternoon in the garden of envy

I always said my husband Ronnie has just three passions: baseball, beagles and dahlias. No, this isn’t the marriage counseling column. He really does care about other things, like me for example. But dahlias are a huge focus for him.

When we went to the mountains of North Carolina in September, he wasn’t impressed with the scenery. (I know, I know. It’s ridiculous.) We both love Pennsylvania and several times he griped that he didn’t need to drive 10 hours to see trees in the fog. When the rain finally stopped, it was much prettier. Too bad his mood wasn’t.

 

What we did see was an amazing amount of dahlias used in landscaping. You just don’t see that here. Here you see shrubs, an unbelievable number of Stella D’ora daylilies and marigolds. You’ve seen them. They’re more prolific than dandelions. I must have 20 mblog2yself.

In the mountains surrounding Banner Elk and Boone, the landscaping is just incredible at both houses and businesses.

We drove by several times before we saw two women working in a garden out in front of a real estate office. This is when Ronnie did one of those moves where he hit the brakes and turned around just before oncoming traffic hit us. No one was hurt. I screamed just a little.

 

But he wanted to talk to the dahlia people. They were from a landscaping company hired to plant and care for the gardens. One of the women said she lived just over the border in Tennessee. There, the winter is warm enough that the dahlias don’t have to be taken out of the ground. In the mountains, they do. Imagine that. These landscapers take time to plant and lift the precious bulbs every year.

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The variety was phenomenol. Ronnie (and most men) seem to gravitate to the big dinner plate flowers. We saw incredible pompoms and smaller varieties, including a yellow one we just have to order. Another notable was a yellow with white tips.   Lemon meringue. Just gorgeous.  Pink, purple, red, yellow, peach, burgundy, variegated, cactus, pompom, decorative. Wow.

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The dahlias were truly interplanted among the other flowers, more like my front garden, but with even  less room in between plants. There were no neat rows like
Ronnie’s back garden. But it works for them.  

 Also worth noting: They didn’t pick the flowers. They let them die. When you look at them close up, it’s not pretty. So what, I say?

 

But it that drove Ronnie crazy. He loves to give them away and can’t see why anyone would let them wither on the vine. But then it’s not his garden. He just has to live with it.

 

Speaking of our garden, it is time to dig out the dahlias. It’s a momumental task. We have to clean the tubers and get them ready for the winter.

 

Ronnie actually called one of his friends today and suggested that everyone who was the recipient of our flowers should come and dig at least one plant. His friend believed him and asked when he should come. Maybe we’re on to something.

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