For many years my gardening philosophy was basically "If I can't eat it, why would I want to grow it?" Which is not to say I don't also deeply appreciate the aesthetics of plants. It's just that my favorite garden is primarily vegetables and fruits landscaped with edible flowers and herbs–punctuated by native plants and grasses. Because of this (and unlike a lot of gardeners) I've never really developed a strong interest in flowers.
But in the last few years, just to push myself out of my gardening rut I started dedicating a small area to cutting flowers. It's nice to have fresh flowers in the house all summer long plus plenty to give away. And even though I prefer the subtle tonal range of a primarily all-green garden I've realized it's also fun to go wild with color just in the flower patch.
Since I'm not a flower expert I usually stick to really easy things like zinnias, but each year I also add in something new. This year was my first foray into dahlias, which I must say were amazing–so huge and showy. And with a wide variety of color and shape, I can see why these flowers have an almost cult-like following of obsessed growers.
So now as summer is winding down and with it the last of the color in my garden, I wanted to celebrate the cheerful, whimsical, and frankly unlikely members of my garden. They've provided me with many moments of unexpected beauty when I was out weeding or harvesting my vegetables. Flowers, I salute you!