It’s that time of the year.
The roads leading into downtown Halifax or Dartmouth at what should be rush hour are tranquil, the hanging baskets are looking a little leggy and diminished, and my birthday is just around the corner, which happens to coincide with the shortening of the days. Literally and figuratively.
Dahlia Day is also just around the corner. So lets focus on the light 🙂
There are many draws at Halifax Public Gardens but surely the Dahlia beds are the largest and most consistent crowd magnets.
Dahlia curator Amy Soosaar- Joseph is in large part responsible for this outcome.
9 Years ago she began to “re-vamp” the existing Dahlia beds.
This is an example of the kind of success you get when you let a gardener evolve her/his passion and in the process raise the caliber of horticultural .
The Dahlia beds success has evolved from Amy’s long-term commitment to learn about Dahlias and bring that knowledge to fruition through the spectacular displays at the Gardens.
There are 20 different forms of Dahlias (categorized by shape and size). 16 are represented at the Gardens.
Permanent plaques scattered around the beds describing these forms, and the 90 varietals planted in those beds are all labelled.
So what do we call a large collection of Dahlias? A dhaliareum?
We have a local Dahlia legend, who has left his legacy not only at the Public Gardens, but all over the world.
His name was Joe LaPierre and if you are looking at a favourite Dahlia, chances are he hybridized it.
Amy was fortunate to have been mentored by him. He showed her how to get bigger and stronger blooms and answered her many questions along her re-vamping journey.
He also shared his knowledge and love of horticulture with his son, Peter, who is a gardener at the Public Gardens today.
It’s a legacy that will continue to spread like ripples on the water.
Mr. LaPierre named his Dahlias after family members and local places or events under the moniker Tribune.
The previous white Dahlia was named after his mother, while this one was named after one of the ships (Mt. Blanc) which collided in the Narrows and caused the Halifax Explosion. Unfortunately our varietal representing the Imo (the other ship) perished like it’s namesake.
You can meet Amy and see the 90 varieties of Dahlias on display during Dahlia Day. Actually you can probably do both most weekdays, but you won’t get the pleasure of watching Neville MacKay make gorgeous floral arrangements with the Queen of them all… tons of glorious Dahlias!!!
There will also be members of the NS Dahlia society and PG gardeners on hand to show you everything you’d like to know about growing your own spectacular display.
The thing about good gardeners is that they understand that gardens are a very fluid thing. Ever-changing and not always successful. So you learn to make lemonade with your lemons.
A couple of weeks ago Begonias were planted in the spindly Serpentine Beds…
We leave legacies in many forms. Through ideas, teachings, physical elements.
They all have in common that they stay alive in our heart, our head or in our physical world.
The Halifax Public Gardens is a collection of the legacies of those you have come before us and hopefully who will come after us.
They will continue to nourish all who pass through her gates.
My regular Wednesday tour will take place at 9AM on Dahlia Day (one hour earlier than usual).
If you are interested in volunteering to help out on Dahlia Day contact us. I’m sure Karen will be glad to hear from you.
Enjoy the rest of summer.
All copy and images copyright © Serena Graham-Dwyer, 2015. If you wish to use any part or whole of an image, in any manner, please contact us.