Confessions of a Green Thumb Writer

The first in the conga line of tropical storms brought heavy winds to the east coast this weekend and a heavy downpour. I walked through the garden yesterday assessing the damage, and collected an armful of dahlias that the wind had knocked over. Every year I think I’m not going to bother digging the bulbs up anymore, lugging them inside to pack away in boxes of peat moss and carting them into the pump house. Then, as soon as the leaves start to turn, I find myself wielding the pitchfork and doing it anyway. After a long winter, I’m always grateful I did. I can hardly wait to fish each bulb out, like prizes in a cracker-jack box. They look shrivelled and sad, void of any sign of life.

But then I pot them up and, amazingly, slim green shoots appear. I think I started with three plants, and now have two dozen. This is so illustrative of my writing life. Every fall when it’s time to start a new novel I decide this will probably be the last project I’ll do; that surely it’s time to move onto some other creative pass-time: spinning wool or painting. But every year, after I’ve fallen in love with a new character that’s given birth in my imagination, and burn pot after pot of boiling water because I’m lost in a daze wrestling the story onto the page, I could no more stop writing than I could resist piling the bulbs into boxes for another long cold winter.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kimmirich
    Sep 10, 2008 @ 01:39:40

    Oh, mY, Kath-Di, those are BEAUTIFUL!

    I just visited a friend who had his whole back yard in those–beautiful and I believe he has some type of grant cross-pollinating!!1 Stunning! …spinning woool… nice! ; )


  2. kimmirich
    Sep 10, 2008 @ 01:42:30

    Eta: that was about 650 varities of Dahlias my friend had and once he grows a new variety for 2-3 years and the variety doesn’t revert back to the parent he cross-bred with, then he gets to name a new variety…cool!


  3. kathydiane
    Sep 10, 2008 @ 11:57:53

    I order my bulbs from Swan Island Dahlias in Canby, Oregon. When the catalogue comes in the winter, it is the highlight of the season;sitting and browsing through it, looking at all the bright colors and dreaming about seeing the blooms opening in my own garden. I especially love the names: Sugarlips, Rawhide, Pipsqueak, Bodacious, Gingeroo. Tickles the imagination of this writer! Naming a new variety would be lots of fun.


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