It’s really interesting how sights, sounds and smells reawaken our memories; things we often haven’t thought about for years.
In DH Lawrence’s “Odour of Chrysanthemums,” one of his short stories I studied for O Grade English, the significance of chrysanthemums in the title and the memories that they revive in Elizabeth’s mind can be seen in the quote “It was chrysanthemums when I married him, and chrysanthemums when you were born, and the first time they ever brought him home drunk, he’d got brown chrysanthemums in his button-hole.”
While spending a few days away this week we walked round the gardens of the hotel and in some of the borders were dahlias. Dahlias are a flower which seems to have gone out of fashion in recent times but the memories of dahlias from my childhood came flooding back. We always had chrysanthemums in the garden too but it is dahlias which I remember most strongly at this time of year.
By now most of the flowers had gone over and were past their best, the flowers in the herbaceous border, the roses and the bedding plants a distant memory of summer and then down at the bottom of the garden a riot of colour from the dahlias. There were always a variety of shapes of flowers as well as a range of colours.
We always had some cut dahlias in a vase on the hall able and I remember taking bunches when we visited friends. Dahlias often seemed to be a hiding place for clipsheers (earwigs) and we’d often have to pick them up from the hallway and return them to the garden!
Thinking about the dahlias in the garden I can remember my Dad digging up the tubers and allowing them to overwinter wrapped up in newspaper in the garage. Think I might try to buy some dahlia tubers in the Spring to enjoy in our garden next Autumn.