An hour in Wellesley Park: The dahlias are in full bloom and are gorgeous and stunning
Part hobby, part obsession, and part philanthropic endeavor, Wendy has been tending to the 85-footer. x 30ft Weston Road lot for over ten years. It started innocently enough as a vegetable garden that she intended to work with her children. It turned out that the kids didn’t like gardening, so, like Henny Penny, she sighed and sowed and reaped herself. This is the hobby part of the story. When she added some dahlias about six years ago, she fell in love with the wide array of colors and varieties she could find. So the next year, she added a few dahlias, then dozens, then hundreds. This is the obsessive part of the story. “Now we are here and there are very few vegetables,” she shrugs.
The charitable part of the story is the best part. While the dahlias are in full bloom, that is, midsummer until the first frost, Wendy’s sells bouquets of at least a dozen stems in different sizes and colors, along with some filler, for a minimum donation of $15. It should come as no surprise that a luxury florist charges nearly $100 for this bonus. Wendy harvests almost daily, making sure every flower is at its best. With names like Double Jill, Last Dance, Mojo, and Tailspin, there can be no disappointment in their selections. You will Get gorgeous flowers. a point. Contact Wendy here to arrange your dahlia bouquet and for pickup details.
Last year, Dahlia’s proceeds raised over $1,000 for two different charities. This year, Wendy’s is on track to raise $3,000 in donations, and possibly more, since most people are giving more than the minimum donation, “which has been very generous,” she says.
Wendy rotates the charity every week or two. So far this year I have donated to Wellesley ABC and the Health Equity Initiative. Her latest effort aims to raise money for a young woman who suffered a spinal cord injury in a bicycle accident last year. This money will go towards purchasing expensive adaptive equipment that is not covered by insurance.
It does not have any specific fundraising goals. There’s no giant, innovative thermometer outside of its North 40 chart, tracking charitable progress. “Whatever he does, he does,” she says.
Once frost arrives, the work continues. Wendy digs up dahlia tubers every year and overwinters in an unfinished part of her basement that stays cool enough for the dormancy period they need. Last year, this chore was done around the third week of October. The party continued for a year until November 7, but this is unusual.
Wendy sources her tubers from many small farms, and has also been involved in Dahlia communities on Facebook. “I’ve made friends with dahlias from all over the country. We do a lot of trading, which is really fun. Some of them are really rare and hard to get. It’s like collecting anything.”
Which means obsession. Once the charitable portion of the growing season is over, she goes back to hunting and scouting online for desired varieties. There is always room for another tuber in her dahlia beds. And Wendy doesn’t play favorites. “They’re like children, and you don’t have a favorite child,” she laughs.
If you love the idea of introducing a few beautiful ‘flower babies’ into your home while supporting a good cause, contact Wendy for details. The dahlia stems I picked last week are still going strong and are of course worthy of the nominal donation.
More gardening stories
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