No Escargot: We Want our Dahlia

The Dahlia is a wonderful flower. It’s elegant, almost baroque, and at the same time somehow simple. If a rose is Mozart, and a peony Schubert, then a dahlia is straight Bach.

My only complaint about the Dahlia is a gardener’s complaint: this climate is prone to snails, I can’t control the snails in my garden, and the snails simply love my Dahlias. The fondness of these vicious little animals for the Dahlia makes it hard for me to find specimens perfect enough to photograph in their macro and micro wonderfulness.

Gardeners around here tell the story that snails are not native to California. Supposedly, all our snails descend from some escargot imported by a fancy gourment restaurant. Probably the Chez Panisse of its day when Chef Alice Waters was still in diapers.

I know this sounds implausible, but it makes us gardeners smile as we try to defeat our rapidly multiplying slithering foe with products like Sluggo or Es-Car-Goe–and, probably with more effectiveness, saucers of inexpensive smelly beer. There’s something a bit heroic about the effort if we are trying to defeat a wily illegal alien–with a French accent in its shell and slime–rather than a respectable California native.

When I photographed this Dahlia, its symmetry was intact. I positioned myself at a slight angle to the flower, and used my 200mm macro lens stopped all the way on a tripod to maximize the three-dimensional effect of this flower-as-sculpture.

This entry was posted in Bemusements, Flowers, Photography.

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  1. […] eborus flower are spread in my garden as part of the trail of snail slime. As a gardener, snails are my nemesis. This is the first thing I’ve learned about snails that makes me sympatheti […]

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