It happens every year: when I hear about the first big frost of the season I go into overdrive and start cutting armloads of my dahlias in order to have a house full of the these wonderful flowers that have been blooming for 3 months. What I don’t use, I make as bouquets for friends, because I know that after just one strong frost the dahlias will look like burned toast the next day. Pictured above is the afternoon of the frost alert— dahlias and mums happy in the autumn sun.
This sad picture is the next day! Hard to believe that one night of frost could do so much damage. Fortunately I was able to gather them before the evening for a last dazzling display in the house. The tubers will be dug up in the days to come and stored in the dark greenhouse until next spring, when they will be divided and replanted.
I love the whole color range of dahlias, but the deep reds and magentas are some of my favorites. I like to mix them: different varieties in the same color palette makes for a more interesting bouquet.
I grow groups of many colors, but this year the yellow varieties were especially prolific. I lost several of my mad oranges and bright reds so I will definitely be ordering more of those next spring.
Every autumn, like clockwork, my friend Sharon Hoge brings me a basket of quince. I place it next to a big container of yellow dahlias, creating a mini still life.