Now, however, as I enter my seventh decade, I find myself reminded often of my maternal grandmother and her love of dahlias, grown in her small backyard in the inner Adelaide suburb of Parkside, where I spent wondrous days as a small boy.
Last year I got rostered onto the Rare Fruit Society stall at a local garden show, and found my attention drifting far too frequently from discussions of pruning, grafting and White Sapotes to the neighbouring stand run by the Dahlia Society of South Australia. I emptied my wallet onto their table, and came home with half-a-dozen different dahlia bulbs which were duly planted in among the vegetables.
As autumn moves along, these dahlias are producing an abundance of bright and cheery flowers, and its been a special pleasure to pick the best of these blooms to take inside, place in a vase and set these small floral displays on the cook’s desk, to her surprise and pleasure.
I can’t claim any expertise in the flower-growing business, but more than fifty years of growing vegetables leaves one with a general sense of how to keep plants happy and thriving, and to my delight, dahlias respond to this treatment as well as potatoes and cabbages.
I suspect the start of a new gardening passion opening up with these colourful and joyous blooms…