An Oceanside Garden Decked with Dahlias

Basket of multi-colored dahlias
Photography by Kindra Clineff

Sus readily admits, “It spun out of control.” But who can blame her? She found the ideal midsummer bloomer with a presence sufficiently magnificent to frame the water. “They are luscious,” Sus says with delight. Although the identity of her gifted dahlias remains a mystery, she swung into collector mode immediately and ordered up representatives of each group of dahlias from the pom-poms to the collarette, waterlily, anemone, cactus, singles, and peony forms. Of course, she had to try a dinner plate dahlia to be diplomatic (and the champagne-colored Café au Lait is undeniably irresistible), but she frankly found those immense, 10-inch flowers to be unwieldy. Her preferred flower size runs in the 4-5 inch range with blossoming starting in midsummer and continuing nonstop until autumn. They follow on the heels of lilies planted in the same bed, and thanks to the moderating coastal climate in Maine, she can often sustain the show until November.

Artist Sus Miller picks dahlias from her garden
Photography by Kindra Clineff