In joy or sadness flowers are our constant friends.
– Kakuzo Okahura, Japanese scholar, from The Book of Tea
Today was my last day of delivering my weekly summer bouquet to Nerissa, a fourth-grader mom who was the winning bidder of my flowers from my son’s middle school auction. Lest you think my garden is still abloom, these bouquets are from earlier in August when I could still eek out a few bouquets during the week.
This is the fourth year I have donated flowers from my garden for either our elementary school or middle school. They help to raise funds for the local schools and bring joy to the recipients. I, too, get a feel-good-deep-down-inside sensation every time I leave the bouquet on the porch. If you have a flower garden, think about doing such a deed for your local school or other worthy organization before the spring flowers sprout.
Taking care of dahlias in the fall into the winter
As we turn the corner on September, I know to leave the dahlias alone to completely dry out their stalks and leaves for the next two months. Don’t cut them down to the ground when they no longer flower; they need the rest of the plant to feed the tubers. That’s why I don’t like to look at the garden in the fall. It’s too sad to see everything turn brown and wither.
Living in California, I don’t dig up the tubers. But this winter I’m going to put down a plastic covering to protect them from the rain. I covered my chocolate cosmos last winter, and not only did they survive but they rewarded me with an abundance of tall, healthy blooms.
Next spring, while the tulips are up and the tubers are getting ready to sprout, I’ll lightly fertilize, take care to weed by hand, and rid of the pinchers and cucumber beetles that plagued them this year before they can multiply and do damage. And I’ll be environmentally sound in my approach, using my fingers.
And I’ll dream about when they come up again in late spring, and like miracles in a blink they become bushy, then tall and bushy, bearing beautiful blooms – for me to share, for me to give away, Nature’s gifts.