| gardening | 42 April - May 2019 Thomasville Scene Decorative dahlias offer the widest array of colors and styles. Their petals are flat to slightly rolled and flower sizes vary from 4 to 8 inches. Growing an assort- ment of several different varieties, like the Spice Mix Decorative Dahlia Collection (longfield-gardens.com), lets you enjoy a color-coordinated blend of hues that combine well in both the garden and in a vase. For dahlias with a completely different look, grow cactus and semi-cactus types. Their rolled or partially rolled petals give the flowers a spiky texture. Varieties such as Yellow Star and burgundy-maroon Nuit d’Ete will add style and sophistication to your garden. Make sure your flower garden also includes a few ball and pompon dahlias. These perfectly round swirls of tightly rolled petals come in vivid colors, and their long vase life make them a favorite with floral designers. Use coppery-orange Mirella or vivid Boom Boom Red to weave shots of color throughout an arrangement. For contrast, incorporate some single, peony-flow- ered, anemone and collarette types. Dahlias such as HS Date, Bishop of Dover and Fascination have fewer petals and slightly smaller blooms, which makes them good companions for annuals as well as perennials. Plus, their daisy-like centers are magnets for bees and butterflies. Bring your dahlias up close with dwarf varieties, commonly known as border dahlias. These plants grow just 12 to 24 inches tall, yet most have big, 4 to 5” blooms. Popular varieties include Gallery Pablo, Mel- ody Swing and Gallery Art Nouveau. They are ideal for small spaces, lining a walkway and are a perfect addition to containers. With so many colors and flowers styles to choose from, growing dahlias can become a life-long adven- ture. Make room in your garden for some of these easy- to-grow, easy-to-love, summer-flowering bulbs. You’ll discover why so many gardeners have fallen under their spell! Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melin- da’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Long- field Gardens for her expertise to write this article. Her web site is www.MelindaMyers.com.