We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.
– Henry Rollins, American musician, actor, comedian, and television and radio host
We head into autumn with school having begun and thoughts of cutting back the straw-like stalks of dahlias. But wait! The dahlias dried up back in July, and I begged and coaxed the remaining ones that were fighting the perennial powdery mildew to please allow their buds to bloom and not turn black and wither on the stem.
A mid-June bouquet of ginger plant, hydrangea, alstroemeria, dianthus, and dahlias.
New dahlia on the left reminds me of sherbet. Unfortunately, only two blooms came from this dahlia plant. And the white dahlia petered out early, too.
One of my favorite dahlias – dark red cherry in color – only gave a few blooms before drying out.
Each week, as I cut the meager flowers, I didn’t think that I would make it to my tenth week of delivering the middle school auction bouquets. But I did, and I believe my last bouquet of the season turned out to be the last bouquet of the auction.
A 4th of July bouquet with a rare gladiola. Our gladiola patch produced maybe five blooms at the most this season, which is unheard of all the years we’ve been in our home.
The light yellow dahlia, which is the first ones to come up, hung tough this season. And another dark magenta bloom!
Another sherbet dahlia. That’s two this season!
And each week, I saw the blooms shrink in size. As I was compiling the last six bouquets of the season, I saw photographs of previous seasons. Many of those dahlias never came up. Many of the ones that did come up never bloomed, or gave a few blooms and then went barren. Even the new dahlias that I planted withered within weeks.
Alstroemeria is still going strong for this mid-July bouquet.
First blooms from my dark red and white dahlia on the left and a small dark magenta bloom at the top.
Deep purple dahlia from Costco came up strong, but only gave a few blooms this season. At least this was dinner-plate size. Flanked by scabiosa anthemifolia and alstroemeria.
The third sherbet bloom of the season peeking out in this bouquet.
We battled a gopher in our backyard. Could the varmint be eating the roots of my beloved dahlias? Or could the squirrels who are chewing off branches from our ginkgo and magnolia trees – something we’ve never seen happen before – be messing with my flowers?
Thank goodness for the large hydrangea blooms, which filled the vase when the dahlias began petering out for this third-week July bouquet. But even the hydrangeas started turning brown.
Or could the dahlia tubers have drowned in the clay soil during our El Nino winter, which was quite wet in November through January? I won’t know until I dig them up and see if they are shriveled up.
End of July bouquet: the height of the vase gets shorter. This bouquet is helped with a new hydrangea plant in a beautiful blue hue, centaurea cyanus, and my neighbor’s purple succulent blooms.
Two different hydrangea blooms.
This bouquet is helped with our smaller dahlias, which are planted in pots that flank our courtyard. They remained healthy and produced nice blooms until powdery mildew crept in by late July. The centaurea cynamus at the top left are growing nicely with the peach tree providing nice shade.
Another close-up with the perfect orange dahlia bloom.
Wide swathes of dirt made the side yard look like a desert. Perhaps some blight swept through the side yard. I’ll have to take a sample to a local nursery and find out what I’m doing wrong. I mourn my garden of years past.
A volunteer gladiola sprouted in our front yard. I took it before the deer could!
The first bouquet of August with an abundance of scabiosa anthemifolia and centaurea cyanus complementing the peach-colored gladiola.
Close-up of this early August bouquet.
A rare pink dahlia with a rare dianthus and nice-sized scabiosa anthemifolia.
Next season I vow to bring the garden back. But in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the bouquets that I managed to create.
The final bouquet of the season is helped tremendously by our friend’s fragrant rose!
The modest backside of this bouquet. Note the much-smaller blooms.
Close-up at an angle.
Final bouquet of the season. Last close-up.