If I were to pick my favorite flower it would be dahlias. I attempt to grow them in my shady yard, carefully planting the bulbs in my front garden, hoping that by late summer to early fall, these bright and substantial flowers will grow. This year I planted the dinner plate variety and waited.
And waited. Each year the trees continue to grow and flourish. Thank goodness! This is one of the reasons why I love my house and neighborhood, the old growth trees that make it look like a forest. As they continue to grow, the small patch of earth that is my front garden is increasingly overcome by shade . The dahlia’s did not produced as I hoped, nor did the tomatoes or cucumbers. Not a lot of fruit this year, but the herbs were plentiful.
Dahlia’s make a wonderful yellow to orange and I because I need a lot so I supplement at the farmers market and bought two gigantic bouquets. I admire there lovely design of perfectly stacked petals that create a thick ball color. I thought about enjoying the flowers, putting them in a vase but instead I greedily pulled of the heads and made a dye.
My favorite additive or mordant is alum these days. I carefully measured out the ‘rock alum’ I brought back from Peru. It alters the color from a subtle yellow to an electric, vibrant orange. Just perfect to capture the feathers of an oriole as I continue on my bird project.