My dahlias didn’t survive last weeks hard frost. But before it happened, I tied colored yarn around the stems of the plants so I could tell the flowers apart. Because after they die, they all look too similar to me.
This afternoon I dug up each plant, cut the stem from the bulbs, put the bulbs in paper bags and labeled them with a description of the flower.
Then I put them back in the cold storage room in the basement for the winter.
The bulbs multiply every year, so I’ll be giving some away to friends who want them. I’ll send a few to Suzy and give some to my neighbor Kim.
I’ve had so many red dahlia bulbs in the past I’ve put them out in the front of the house for free. This spring I planted the extra bulbs in my gardens and in the front lawn. When so many of the flowers died back in the fall, they filled the yard with red.
But those bulbs I won’t dig up. I have more than enough from my garden.
There was one flower that didn’t die in the frost. A purple pansy in the cement planter between my dahlia and shade garden survived.
Every year when I put my dahlia bulbs to sleep in the basement I marvel at the thought of them coming back in the spring. Digging up and planting my dahlia bulbs has become a tradition for me. It marks the seasons and speaks to the continuity of a life that is dependent on me.
These bulbs can’t live through a winter in Upstate NY. It was Jon who started the dahlia garden and when he lost interest I took it over. I never wanted to plant dahlias for just the reason I love having them now.
I get to go through the cycles of the seasons with them. As if we have a pact. I dig them up up and plant them every year and they bring me the joy of their flowers.