In a Vase on Monday: More Dreams

Some of you may remember me posting pictures last summer of some wonderful dahlias grown by a gentleman called Brian, who lives on the same island as my Mum – remembering the dahlias rather than anything else! I have referred to them a few times since too, trying to establish the names of some of I thought I would remember, but didn’t. He was so enthusiastic about sharing his pride and joy at the time that I knew he wouldn’t mind if I contacted him to ask some questions, but he is an elusive man who spends his time sailing and fishing when he is not tending his dahlias and greenhouses, and after several unsuccessful phonecalls I abandoned the attempt.

Well, here we are again, a year later, with more of Brian’s dahlias – but still no further contact with Brian! Today he was out fishing, but we were reliably informed by the two children skipping in and out of his house that he would be back soon so we planned to call in again later; on leaving the message that the lady (me!) who had admired his dahlias last year had visited hoping to ask him some questions, the young girl announced that she could answer them… And she did! At eight years old she reeled off the names of all the dahlias in Brian’s borders, names she had been given (we heard later) only once, and a fortnight ago at that! I realised later I hadn’t asked her if he kept the tubers in the ground all winter, but I am sure she would have been able to tell me although perhaps not yet about disbudding and other professional dahlia growers’ tips!

Such is island community life that she and her brother were neither relations of Brian, nor islanders, but the grandchildren of a second-home owner whom we met with the children’s mother while we were inspecting the dahlias. Brian is clearly a delightful and well-respected gentleman and there was nothing odd about the friendship that seemed to exist between the girl and her gardening guide; indeed it is a heartwarming thought that this friendship may prove to be the start of a liftime’s passion for gardening. He was certainly very generous with both his knowledge and his dahlias when we met him last year and such enthusiasm and generosity is infectious.

And the dahlias? Well, his generosity extends to his always leaving a bucket of blooms and any spare veg outside his house for whoever would like them – and yesterday that was me (we heard later that an elderly lady in the village invariably snaffles them all)! They are mostly dahlias I had last year and recognised – Brian’s Dream, Blyton Lady in Red and David Howard – but there was a fourth huge and spiky red one that was new to his protégé. I hadn’t realised quite how much bigger the latter was, and he certainly looks a little thuggish elbowing his more restrained friends out of the way in the vase – perhaps I should have cut him shorter to keep him under control? David Howard was safely out of the way in his own vase, a Caithness Glass bud vase in the original ‘Peat’ colourway; the larger vase, also used last year, is Caithness Glass in ‘Moss’.

Clockwise from top left: Blyton Lady in Red, David Howard, unknown spiky red one, Brian’s Dream

Aren’t they wonderful – and the SIZE of them…well, goodness gracious me! Blyton Lady in Red is one of the dahlias I added to the garden this year after seeing Brian’s last time, but the singular bloom on mine is a mere fraction of the size of his! I suspect there must a lot of cutting out of side shoots or whatever to get blooms such as this but, after all, he is a professional and I have a lot to learn – so let’s hope I learn as quickly as young Arya. Sadly, as he lives at the other end of the island from my Mum there will probably not be another opportunity to catch him at home on this visit.

In the meantime I shall savour these dahlias and the photos of them – and the names of the others that Arya reminded me of and which I made sure I wrote down. You, however, will just have to make do with this post and the photos because IAVOM will have to run itself this week with me being away for a few days. As usual I will try to read your comments and posts but am unlikely to have the time to reply or comment on your vases (although if there are any questions I will do my best). Please still leave links to this post and links back to your own in comments on this one as usual, and enjoy your own Monday blooms!

This entry was posted in bulbs, corms and tubers, Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday, Visiting gardens & days out and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: More Dreams

  1. Oh I do like the sound of Brian and his young friend. Leaving a bucket at the gate full of blooms and vegetables is the cherry on the top! I saw dahlias yesterday as tall as me! (5’4″) I could look them in the eye – the whole NGS visit had an air of enchantment about it:
    A post about that to follow once I’ve edited the photos.
    But for now my celebration of Lime Green:

  2. Pingback: In a vase on Monday, August already! – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  3. Lynn Thaler says:

    They are huge, what beautiful flowers.

  4. Christina says:

    How lovely that Arya was able to help as you say her memory and willingness to help is wonderful. Enjoy your holiday. I’m back home now, here’s my link:

  5. Pingback: Lime Green Vintage | Wild Daffodil

  6. They are all beautiful!

  7. pbmgarden says:

    A lovely report on Island life, good gardeners, quick minds, beautiful dahlias. And of course, good of you to be visiting your mother! Seeing these makes me regret not trying again to grow some dahlias. I like the tight, compact form and color of Brian’s Dream. Enjoy your visit.

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  9. Chloris says:

    I love it that the little girl memorised all the dahlia names. I used to do the same thing with my Dad’s roses. A gardener in the making. What wonderful memories she will have when she grows up.
    Gorgeous dahlias. I have a similar spiky red one called ‘Apache’. I hope you having a wonderful time. Has the heatwave reached you up there?
    My offering this week is:

  10. The Dahlias are outstanding, I would have been back on Brian’s doorstep as well. I think Arya is a gardener in the making. Have a wonderful holiday!

  11. Sam says:

    What a lovely tale – gardeners are such a generous bunch. Brian sounds like a gem and his dahlias are gorgeous. I always have serious dahlia envy at this time of year because they’re on our spectacular fail list, sadly. One day… Here’s my vase for this week:
    Many thanks, Cathy, and I hope you have a lovely rest of your holiday. Sam x

  12. The flowers and vases are lovely but your story of your visit is even better. And you are so right that this is how the seed of gardening so often is planted. No Dahlias for me but I do have a vase this week:

  13. Peter Herpst says:

    The sweet story of a gardening friendship is as beautiful as the dahlias and young Arya’s memory is impressive. Enjoy your holiday! My sort of vase is here:

  14. bcparkison says:

    Just beautiful…dinner plate size.

  15. Kris P says:

    Pretty as these dahlias are, I was most enamored with your story of the dahlia expert and his precocious protege. I hope you’re enjoying your visit! Here’s my post:

  16. Cathy is wonderful that you are with your Mother. Mr. Brian is a gentleman leaving every morning a bucket with flowers at the door of his house: his story has enchanted me as well as that of his pupil who is already capable of taking care of the dahlias by himself. The Dahlias are magnificent, beautiful and I like the two vases very much. The Dahlias bouquet I love. Your Mother is lucky to have Mr. Brian as a neighbor on that island that must be very beautiful. Have a good week with your Mother. Greetings from Margarita.

  17. Noelle says:

    Dahlia envy at first, but I must come back later and read all about Brian. Here is my contribution this week:

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  19. Brian sounds a treasure and, even more so, little Arya! Those dahlias look in fantastic condition and I love the spiky red one.
    I am just back from hols, taking stock of the surviving flowers in our bone dry garden. This is my vase here:

  20. I remember the dahlias from last year Cathy. Brian sounds a most generous gardener not only with his surplus flowers and veg but with sharing his knowledge too. Young Arya must have been delighted to answer your questions. Glad that that you are able to spend some precious time with your Mum. No doubt your visit will give her much pleasure. Safe trip home on your return south xxx

  21. tonytomeo says:

    Dahlias are so popular among ‘my people’ that my colleague down south refers to them as ‘dago sunflowers’. By the way, I have not grown dahlias in a few years, and used to grow more real sunflowers . . . and other people like them too!

  22. Alison C says:

    What a lovely story and of course, lovely flowers. It must be a wonderful place to visit and this is the perfect time of year. I always fail with the apricot dahlias – maybe next time. Hopefully you will meet Brian again sooner or later. My vase would have been a Dahlia, ‘Veronne’s Obsidian’, if I had got round to posting it. Enjoy your week.

  23. karen says:

    A lovely story. I can picture the scene with the flowers at the gate. Sounds like a wonderful place to live. Enjoy your holiday Cathy and safe jiurney home. I’m late with my IAVOM. I’m back and forth to the relatives like a yo yo. Plenty of flowers are going in vases, but no time to take photos. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so worn out to be honest. Love karen xx

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  25. stunning dahlias from Brian and well done to Arya for learning all the names. I hope you have a good holiday with your mum and a safe trip back. I’ve got lavender, dianthus and sweetpeas in my vase.
    love Bec xx

  26. What a lovely story to your dahlias Cathy, rather a striking group

  27. LisaDay says:

    Lovely. I really like the purple and white one.

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