The Winding Down of Summer Means Dahlia Season
I don't know what it is about me and Dahlias. Maybe it is that they are so easy to grow; maybe it is the tremendous variety. Perhaps it is the vibrant colors. Either way, I rarely have the heart to pick them. I leave them in my garden for as long as possible to enjoy the enormous, colorful blooms that are like candy canes in my flower beds. During the Great Geauga County Fair, I was able to sneak away from the Draft Horse Barn long enough one evening to visit the Dahlia display, the largest entry of flowers at the Fair, by far. Probably due to the fact that the end of summer is this tuberous's most prolific showing before our first frost. They are entered and displayed so simply; in a vintage glass milk jar or simple clear bottle. Some of the blooms are as big as platters - they measure over 12 inches in diameter. Some are no more than an inch across. The colors are like a fireworks display, each leaf looks like they have been hand painted, sometimes in multiple colors. There is also a sense of symmetry about this plant like no others that I know. Doing a little research, I found that the great variety of these flowers results from dahlias being octoploids—that is, they have eight sets of homologous chromosomes. Apparently, most plants have only two. In addition, dahlias also contain many transposons—genetic pieces that move from place to place upon an allele—which contributes to their manifesting such great diversity. Who knew?! Usually, there is a hush in the flower barn as everyone assembles their dahlia entries, it is a reverent quiet, almost hushed environment in the flower barn compared to the vast chaos of the rest of the Fair. It is my treat every year to go view the splendor of the Dahlias, reflecting and contemplating upon the end of the summer and the arrival of early Fall, one of my favorite seasons.
Until next time, Enjoy!!
Best - Rebecca