No quiet in this riot

The bulk of this book is a Technicolor riot: page after page of dahlias in stunning hues, dramatic forms and spiraled symmetry that delight the eye and tickle the imagination. Could any author's passion be more evident?

As a record of one man's half-century of growing and showing dahlias, the book concentrates on named cultivars cherished by collectors and those who show flowers for judging. But wilder members of the tuberous genus, including the towering Dahlia imperialis, or tree dahlia, are not neglected. Nor are the facts on dahlia history (they hail from Mexico); how to grow them (fairly easy, given adequate light, drainage, nutrients and water); and ways to propagate them (from tubers, seeds or cuttings).

With images so intense they may ignite a craze, this lavish work will please cut-flower fanciers and lovers of bright summer blossoms. With nearly 700 selections included, choosing favorites for your garden may take some time. Fortunately, spring is dahlia-planting season, and that's many months away.

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Lili Singer

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