Photo by Barry Wallace
My maternal grandfather, Sid Thomas, would have scoffed at the size of this dahlia bloom in my backyard. The reason? It's a mere 8" across. When he was alive on his farm at Churchill, south of Barrie, he grew a flower bed of dahlias in which every bloom had to be 12" across, or else. I never knew his secret. Maybe it was the huge amount of manure he had available from the cows, horses and pigs on the farm. Sid was a consistent prize winner for his dahlias in the Churchill Fall Fair. It got so routinely embarrassing for him to win , that one year, when I was 13 years old and living with him for a year, he made me enter his dahlias in the fall fair under my name. My contribution to the dahlia-bed was the wheelbarrows of manure I shuttled from the barnyard to the garden. Yes, his/my dahlias won. Almost 58 years later, the dahlia pictured above is the biggest one I've ever grown. My wife also lays claim to it. She is probably more responsible for its lovely show than I am. It's not a prize-winner, but it and all the other small dahlias in the garden are a joy for us.
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