There was a problem with my dahlia order. Last autumn I selected a modest amount of mainly species varieties, plus one cultivar. These would arrive in the spring as rooted cuttings, young and adorable. Time trickled by and I began to wonder if I had been stood up. I emailed, I was placated. I was let down again. I emailed, they confessed. Some of my order was not available. This did not surprise me, it has been a difficult year for growers. We agreed on replacements. Still I was a little forlorn as I was looking forward to growing merckii again. There is always next year. There is always, always next year, that is one of the wonderful things about gardening.
Now that little problem had been sorted out, I was told they would arrive forthwith. Great news as I was going away for a long weekend on Friday morning. Like a child waiting for Christmas, each day I rushed home “are they here?” only for my little face to fall when I was told “not yet”. Thursday snuck up and still there had been no box of horti-bonbons delivered. There was no other option, I would have to pass the potting up task to OH. Not ideal. He would try his best I am sure and beggars cannot be chosers. Then, a tap at the door. It was 9.15pm who could that be? I had told Tom Hardy that I couldn’t go to the pictures with him that night, but he has been known to be rather persistent. It was none other than my neighbour from across the road and he was clutching my parcel. Before he had time to explain, I grabbed the packet, yelled some suitable platitudes and dashed to the shed to get the compost out. Before long they were all potted up, well watered and given some suitable words of encouragement.
Let me introduce you to my charming crèche: 2 x Dahlia dissecta, 1 x D. purpuseii, 1 x D. sorensenii, 2 x D. campanulata and 2 x D, ‘Candy Eyes’. They might not all have been first choices, but each and every one of them is most welcome. Although, a merckii would have been nice. You are right, I must move on. As Luther Vandross once sang, you should always “love the one you’re with”. The following morning I would set off for Somerset knowing that they at least they had been planted the right way up.
On Saturday we visited Wells and The Bishop’s Palace. A glorious day and an equally gorgeous garden. And then, as if to rub salt into the wound, who should be blooming its little heart out in one of their sumptuous borders? Yes, my almost, nearly, should have been me, Dahlia merckii. Next year, definitely next year.