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Sep 18, 2023

"I had no idea that there are so many!" I said to the lady in the garden who was busy cutting off dry flower heads. "Oh yes!" she said excitedly. "There are at least 10,000 kinds of dahlias now, and new varieties are found each year," her wide eyes showed her enthusiasm. I had walked past the rows of dahlias earlier as I had hurried into the clinic without paying much attention. However, when I was walking back to my car, checking my phone messages, the kaleidoscope of colors caught my eye. I had to have a look. The look was more like a long, satisfying gaze. I walked slowly up and down each aisle, shaking my head in wonderment at how many varieties of the same flower were all in one place. And such unexpected petal shapes! Some flower heads were like huge dinner plates in size and full of frilly, rolled up petals. Others had the quintessential daisy look: seven or nine oval petals, but painted masterfully with colors blending into eachother. The pistils, or centers, were like bright alien landscapes with odd forms decorating the stigma bumps. The lady, who was a member of the North Central Washington Dahlia society, informed me that dahlias originated in Mexico, where there was one variety. Adaptations have developed, as they always do in plant life, through reproduction and genetic variety. It seems endless. In fact, it is! Like the saying in English goes: "God laughs in flowers." Plant life, and flowers in particular, are a painter's eternal canvas. "The bees must be happy," I thought to myself as I got in my car, "to suddenly find, in the middle of town, a paradise of pollen." And they certainly were happy, busy at least, their little bodies climbing all over the flower heads, hundreds of them. What a treat, to come out of work, and to be able to walk through a well manicured garden, brimming with beautiful flowers. Hat's off to the NCW Dahlia Society.