Yesterday I walked around my garden to cut some dahlias. I guess every year I have a new surprise in my garden, this is year it's definitely this awesome flower! Last year I hardly grew any flowers (a few sun flowers), just vegetables. That was fine and we ate lots of healthy, good tasting fresh veggies. But this year I decided that my garden was big enough to add something for the eye as well.
I bought eight different types of dahlia tubers (roots) on sale without really paying attention to the pictures on the bags, dug a few holes and planted them. It took a while for them to form plants but they grew out to be nice and big. And about a month ago they started to bloom. The picture on the right (taken from Wikipedia) is my favorite. I have that kind in pink, yellow and white and they're as big as my hand and really beautiful.
Then there's also a few multi-colored surprises, like the Dahlia "Jean Marie". If you want to see a picture of this gorgeous flower follow the link and scroll down. Unfortunately Blogspot won't let me post three pictuers. I also have a little red/white variety that's on there, the "Duet".
And you know what the cool thing is about dahlias? They are really easy to grow, and they give you flowers from August until frost! And then you dig up the roots (they will rot if you leave them in the ground) and plant them again next year, and the fun starts again!
Another flower I started to grow in my garden is the zinnia. It was a little harder to grow: I had to sow them in my cold frame first, and when they were big enough I could plant them in the bed. It's funny because the bag contained multi-colored seeds so it really turned out to be a surprise which color they were going to be. I have red, pink and orange zinnias. Unlike the dahlia, which gets nasty after about a week, the zinnia will stay beautiful in the vase for at least ten days. And they also continue to grow flowers. Actually, cutting flowers helps the plant create more flowers. That's because it thinks it hasn't properly reproduced yet. And that's true, because if you cut the flowers they can't be pollinated and won't form seeds.
There's no real moral in this story, except that I'm happy with my garden! It's fun to see how people respond. Older people generally don't believe that it's really my garden. They tend to think that my mother in law (who lives down the street) works it. But then they start to question me and they're surprised that I really do know things about growing veggies and plants. And the other fun thing is that I've already inspired two friends (one of which is Sheila) to start growing vegetables!