This is the season for those spectacular blooms that mark the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Here they are in a garden I spotted on a bike ride in the Remsenberg section of Westhampton, New York.
If you have full sun and a flower bed or pot, you can grow these fantastic blooms, which depending on the variety will reward you with petite to dinner-plate-size blooms. Sharing tubers of different sizes and colors has been an ongoing project of the Garden Club of Irvington. A great site, American Meadows, provides all the directions for growing dahlias, illustrated.
And here are a few of their growing companions in the Remsenberg garden:
White echinacea (above) and cleome ( below. According to the White Flower Farm catalog, “Echinacea, the queen of the daisies, is called coneflower for its dome-shaped center. Plants continue to bloom from June into the fall. Breeders have teased out a considerable range of pinks, purples, yellows, and oranges, plus white, with more hues coming every year. There are double-flowered forms as well as varieties with petals pulled back like a badminton shuttlecock… first-class garden plants for full sun.” Cleome is described thusly: “Clusters of large white blooms show off against the dark green leaves and add sparkle to every other color in the garden. This annual plant of rare beauty blooms without pause, beginning in late June here and continuing until frost. It produces large, globe-shaped flower heads composed of amazingly delicate, spidery blooms in a pure white. It is tough and vigorous, smiling through heat and drought in every corner of the country…
…Finally, it has countless uses: as a backbone plant in a mixed border, as a constant companion in the cottage garden, as a bedding plant (to stunning effect, where space permits), and as a single-season shrub or short-term hedge. Your grandmother probably grew cleome, and you should, too.”
And so did the gardener who made this lovely border, a treat for all who walk or bike by.