A la Mode: A lovely flower of soft apricot tipped in pristine white, it is a formal decorative in the B category, with a four-foot bush. Photo by Susan Safford
My elders always corrected me when I used the verb "to hate." "No dear, not 'hate'- we say 'dislike intensely'." I was going to say it baldly, disobediently, that I hate it when the dahlias are cut down by frost. But that is over the top; I simply dislike it intensely when this happens. I hate, I mean dislike intensely, losing my eye candy. I dislike intensely the loss of an endless supply of sumptuous bouquets looking as if they had stepped out of a Flemish painting. I dislike intensely the empty spot in my vegetable garden where for months there has been a riot of clashing colors, all somehow complementary nonetheless. I dislike intensely finding the untagged, orphan no-names that evade my attempts to ID them. I dislike having not quite enough room to store them in the cellar, and my husband's exasperated exclamations about getting rid of stuff.
One final look at dahlias is what we are doing, a gallery. (It is only two and a half months until the new dahlia catalogues arrive).