Notes from a Fat White Dahlia
The white dahlia came to plop down on the Sunday on which I found it glistening at the far end of the rose garden. It was in the shade alongside the wall of the green house of the city park which held a huge stock of pink, red, maroon and blue orchids, a long line of anthuriums, geraniums plus a family of cheeky Gerberas with their rich, buttoned up collars.
The white dahlia was young, new, fat as any good dahlia should be, and very cheering, like a good hot breakfast for the soul. It was gloriously ruffled with its layers of petals and its general look of a milkshake made for a happy child. It seemed to feel it was totally okay even to be unscented in the presence of so many scented roses! One just had to look fresh, tidy, unruffled, cool as milk, just as refreshing, and always presentable!
The best dahlias I feel are the fat ones, the really fat, blowsy, big bosomed ones! They seem to send out platters of calm that hover around a glum hour or day, like nicely sugared lemonade for a hot afternoon. Now of course there are hundreds of new dahlias, smaller, in every kind of design, like dainty cutlery for the famous and the rich. But the fat ones have the real presence. Even as you are heading towards the roses, a chubby dahlia will easily stop you to gaze and be enclosed in its soft, layered petal jacket.
This fat charmer from Mexico was named after the Swedish botanist Dr. Dahl and reached Europe in 1789 when seeds were sent by the superintendent of the Botanic Gardens of Mexico City to the Royal Gardens at Madrid. Later seeds were sent by the wife of the British Ambassador, at Madrid, to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. But these died as no one knew how to treat them. It was again sent to England in 1804!
Dahlias were unfortunate enough to be tested and treated as edible flowers, vegetables to be eaten by Dr. Dahl and the French Professor of the Natural History Museum in Paris because of their tubers! Luckily consumers did not agree to this nonsense and deemed the dahlia to be the most fashionable flower in the garden!
Anyone who loves the dahlia will probably get only this heartening message from it saying it is important to be fulsome, fat, chock full of peace and pleasure! It might be the only flower able to teach us most emphatically that it is okay to be fat and not okay to be cheated by those businesses which sell a million expensive slimming pills and potions, and artificial sweeteners which can harm us.
Saccharin is a sweetener that is 350 times sweeter than sugar. But many studies on animals have shown that it can cause cancer of the urinary tract, uterus, ovaries, skin, blood vessels and other organs! Most artificial sweeteners are suspected of increasing our risk for cancer. Instead we can sweeten our desserts with stevia, maple syrup (grade B), evaporated cane juice or brown rice syrup. Stevia is a marvelous plant that can sweeten anything much more than sugar can! And when you sometimes feel a little worried about how fat you have become, just think of the desirable dahlia! It is fat too and does not care!
Pics and text: daksha