Gardening, Anniversary, Giveaway (GAG)

The start of the year signals my gardening obsession returning. So, all my seed packets have arrived and at some point I’ll log them onto an Excel spreadsheet (the only opportunity I allow myself for super-nerdy listing – those vegetables and flowers need a schedule dude). And I have a stack of raspberry canes, asparagus crowns, strawberry plants, and other bits and pieces arriving over the course of the next two months.

But my current big focus, and I don’t know why, is dahlias. Like my grandfather before me, I can’t get enough of them. They’re totally unscented, earwigs clamber all over them and cause non-chemical hippy types like me no end of pain, aqnd their leaves are as dull as ditchwater, unless you happen to have a cultivar with that fashionably dark quality. But their flamboyant 70s glamour  always thrills me. They were the talk of the allotment last year, and everyone wanted to know what I was growing. Well, everyone is a bit of hyperbole, but there you go. I’m boasting.

So, in the spirit of summer, here’s some borrowed images of a few of my current favourites:

Lover Boy, image courtesy of

Downham Royal, courtesy of Sarah Raven

Rip City, courtesy of Amazon

Jocondo, courtesy of Arrowhead Dahlias

Chat Noir, courtesy of Sarah Raven

Pontiac, courtesy of Sarah Raven

New Baby, courtesy of Sarah Raven

I’m growing about 50 varieties. I know – I’m excessive.

And in the spirit of managing excess, alongside a desire to spread the love (I celebrate seventeen years with Matthew today), I’m clearing out a few of my perfumes that, though loved, are now never worn. You don’t need to send anything in return (although gifts are most welcome…): this is more to clear out some space, freshen up, tidy the bathroom.

The bottles I have to give away are as follows:

Eau d’Italie Bois d’Ombrie 100mls hardly used;

L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzing! 50mls  – about 70% full;

L’Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses 50 mls – about 70% full;

Hermes Rocabar 100mls – about 85% full:

Patricia de Nicolai Vetyver 30mls – hardly used.

Leave a comment if you’re interested in a bottle, alongside wild promises of gifts in return. The wild promises will be dutifully ignored and bottle winners selected entirely at random. I’ll let you know in two weeks time.

  • Theresa says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous dahlias! I live in an apt so my gardening is somewhat limited, but I’m so excited about my jasmine sambac that’s just started to bloom. Please enter me for the VdR! Thank you.

  • sheo says:

    WOW. Gorgeous flowers. I grow no dahlias, but am an equally excessive gardener, with over 60 varieties of fragrant old garden roses. Speaking of roses, please enter me in the draw for VdR, one of my all time favorite, gloriously earthy perfumes for spring.

  • 734elizabeths says:

    I would be delighted to receive ANY of those bottles! And in return, I will dedicate every last dahlia I grow in my garden to you – and if there are any sports, I’ll send you one.

  • sylvia says:

    thats clever, making a schedule for planting. i never would have thought of that, even if i did garden, haha.

    you didnt manage to get rid of VdR in your last giveaway? i’d love to enter the drawing for dzing!

  • dianawr says:

    Congrats on both your anniversary and on your apparently wondrous green thumb. I’d love to be able to grow such beautiful flowers! I love their spiky petals! I was getting to buy a bottle of Voleur de Roses and Dzing! is basically my favorite perfume of all!

  • Lavanya says:

    Happy Anniversary, Lee!!

    Nice pictures- I love how the new baby (the orange ones at the end- is that what they’re called?) looks..
    And- thanks for the lovely draw!! I’d loved to adopt either Voleur de Roses or the Bois d’Ombrie…*swoons at the thought*
    will think of something reaalllyyy nice to send you..*grin*

  • Lindsey9107 says:


    Thanks for doing this exciting drawing. Congratulations on your anniversary! <3

  • Solander says:

    Ooh please come my way sweet bottle of Bois d’Ombrie! And if I can be in two draws, Voleur de roses as well. I can’t give you anything but… samples galore. And perhaps scanned photos of unknown dahlia varieties, if you’d be interested in that. I love dahlias too.

  • zoe says:

    17 years… Wow. I have a 2nd anniversary coming up next week, and that’s my longest relationship thus far. Congratulations and that there may be many more anniversaries to come!
    The dahlia’s do have a sort of gaudy, excessive 70s glamour about them, don’t they? I don’t have a garden or gardening talent (my only house plant is an indestructible sanseveria), but I admire the quality in others. :”>
    I’d love to be considered for Bois d’Ombrie or Voleur de Roses.

  • hongkongmom says:

    ps….i have many bottles i don’t use….what would u like?..and gardening is such a healthy thing to be excessive with…i have many bottles i don’t love or need!!!

  • hongkongmom says:

    Happy Anniversay number 17!!!guess what…u and i share an anniversary day…except mine was the 18th year…ur dahlias are perfect and a dream,(in HK we have alsmot no nature!!!) but a strong memory of my moms garden when i grew up….the photos can inspire me to paint.
    I would love to be on the random list for Dzing and Bois d’Ombre, as they are not available in HK.
    I have an almost full fendi theorema(no lid) and an aromatic,home,essential oil blend that i use either with bois de isle eau de toilette, or without, which is called precious woods and vetiver and gives bois de isle a”lift”.it is 15ml and 2/3full. It’s gorgeous. Have a great year!!!!

  • mi-cuit says:

    Happy Anniversary, Lee! 17 is really something to celebrate.
    That new baby looks WONDERFUL… and a tad appropriate to the occasion hehe.
    I’d love to be in the drawing for Dzing! or Rocabar.

  • rosarita says:

    Hi, Lee –

    I’ve no need for more perfume at the moment (did I actually type that? 😮 ) just wanted to say Happy Anniversary <:-p Dahlias are incredible! I live in a rural area, and my elderly parents are nearby. Their neighbors grow dahlias and show them all over the midwest. In the fall, my mother and I get to cut as many as we want before they get cut down. For a couple of weeks, I have huge bunches in multiple colors and sizes everywhere I can put a vase. I know they are lots of work; I admire your talent!

  • Patty says:

    Happy anniversary!

    This is my first comment but I often read this blog.
    Please enter me in for anything. I’d like to try this famous Dzing (I love Olivia Giacobetti) and Bois d’Ombrie (I see Eau d’Italie mentioned more in foreign webplaces than here in Italy and I’ve never seen their perfumes in a shop) but they seem to be the favourites on here, I’d never get them.
    I’d send you something Italian, just tell me what you’d like.

    Patty the black thumb 🙁

  • elyse says:

    congrats on your 17 years and many more to come. please enter me in for anything, I am in a serious perfume rut.

    • Lee says:

      I hope you get out of that, elyse (I fall into one every April for about 6 months…)

      You’re in.

  • zeram1 says:

    Happy anniversary and I would love to be in the drawing for the Eau d’Italie Bois d’Ombrie. In return, I can offer you orchid growing supplies if you’d like.

  • Christine says:

    Those are stunning dahlias! So I may be late, but better late than never: I’ll put in my bid for the bottle of Voleur de Roses.

    And if I win, I’ll see that you have some English roses for your garden. If I had any sun at all in my little alley you can safely bet that I would be growing a bush. (I have a soft spot for the Pat Austin variety – stunning apricot color, as I had a bush growing up.) The crazy gardener gene runs in the family. My mother had a rose tree that she would run outside to tie down in wind storms.

    • Lee says:

      I grow Pat Austin and it’s lovely, though the weight of the blooms tend to make the whole plant droop. Nonetheless, gorgeous colour.

      You’re in.

  • ChantillyLace says:

    The flowers are really nice. I’m on a rose kick! Would love to adopt your Voleur de Roses. I could send you a bed of roses!:)

  • memorie says:

    Ah! Thanks for the lovely photos! Nothing takes away those seasonal blues better than all those gorgeous colors.

    I’ll join the ranks and ask to be put in the drawing for Dzing! Thanks!

  • Kate says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary and may you enjoy many many more! Your blooms reminded me that the snow will melt and I’ll enjoy my favorite season soonish. I’m not that lucky but add me to the list. This does not count as winning–once I collected a Michael Jackson doll in a raffle I was provoked into entering. The glove was on the wrong hand!

  • Mariekel says:

    Oh, dear, I forgot about the bribe. How about a year’s worth of slopppy basset hound smooches from Halsbury (world’s best, snuffliest — and most deliciously evil – basset diva)?

  • Mariekel says:

    Oh, to be in England, now that April’s, er, a couple of months away!

    Many, many congratulations on your anniversary, Lee! The only relationship i have had that has lasted seventeen years is the one in my head with Samuel Ramey (sigh)…

    Your photos are gorgeous . I genuinely look forward to your posts. They are a lovely respite from the frustrations of job hunting in this wretched economy, and always make me feel just a tiny bit more hopeful.

    Please add me to the list for the Bois D’Ombrie. It has the sort of potent earthiness that I suspect would suit M. Ramey.

  • crowflower says:

    Maybe random chance will be kind to me! Please put my name in the fedora!

  • maitreyi1978 says:

    Dahlia tubers are edible, aren’t they. Beautiful flower pictures! I even like the name Dahlia. It’s like a combination of Delia and darling. I’d like the roses, or the Bois d’Ombrie, or anything really. Thanks!

  • Kate says:

    It’s certainly that time of year isn’t it? I’ve just been on the Peter Nyssen website ordering some dinner plate varities; love Claire Obscure and those dark rich purples, and some of the Bishop range. They might be the answer to your boring foliage issue, as they have deep purple and bronze foliage – a bit like the black leaved elders – very dramatic! But you can’t beat the Sarah Raven site for luscious photos..

    Please enter me in the draw – either Bd’O, or lovely Dzing! would be given a good home, and if you’d like some dahlias in return do let me know! Happy anniversary to you both.

    • Lee says:

      I grow Bishop’s Children each year from seed and keep the best ones. But the leaves, no matter how sultry, are always secondary to the flowers…

      You’re in, and thank you.

  • Flora says:

    I adore dahlias – and who says they are unscented? I love the warm sunflower aroma that comes out when the stems are cut. :):)

    Please enter me in the drawing – I would love either Bois d’Ombrie or Dzing! – I am in the mood for warm, comforting winter scents now. And thank you for such a generous gesture!

  • Jusitne says:

    I don’t want to put my name in for any of your wonderful bottles.

    I do want to commend you for being so generous, when the times feel so stingy and hopeless, for letting go of perfumes you don’t love and for letting go of them in such a selfless way, for leading by example, for paying it forward. Really. Your gesture brings a little light and happiness to my day. Thank you.

    • Lee says:

      Thanks Justine. It’s not that generous, but yes, we all need to do our bit to relieve the gloom…

  • pyramus says:

    I was unselfishly going to refrain from putting my name in, but then I saw that you have a bottle of Rocabar, which I could give a good home, since I am very nearly out (I have maybe three wearings left, and am hoarding them jealously) and I love it so much.

    In return, if such a thing is warranted, I will send you a bottle of…well, I don’t know. What do I have that’s good? I have lots of stuff I never wear. We can talk.

  • Pikake says:

    OMG, you know what’s funny? Since the Hermes Rocabar was right under that orange dahlia I thought for a second that was the name of the flower! I thought that was so cooll-)

    Anyway, we grow some amazing dahlias here in Oregon. I love how they bloom through September and keep the summer going on and on.

    No need to enter me in the draw….but Happy Anniversary!!

  • dissed says:

    I loooooove dahlias, except for staking them when they try to fall over (don’t like pinching them back, let them grow grow grow).

    I also love the Rocabar Man. You know, the guy in all the ads, on the little tissue packet, the one with long dark hair and the Intense Look. Rocabar, yeah, that’s the one.

    You and Matthew. Long may you wave.

    • Lee says:

      Thanks dissed. You get more flowers if you cut them back, y’know. And staking – well, I have an easy solution to that – will explain sometime.

      You’re in for the intense Rocabar.

  • Caro says:

    Happy anniversary! I am completely envious of all those dahlias. Those and basil are the two plants that have always defeated me in the garden. With hydrangeas, fuschias, and hibiscus I can do no wrong, but with dahlias no luck at all. I would absolutely love the Dzing. I’d plead for the Bois d’Ombrie too, but as it is my decant will probably last until the next ice age.

    • Lee says:

      It must be where you are rather than the plants themselves. Like basil, dahlias will take sun and moisture til the cows come home…

      You’re in!

  • Ahhh, those Dahlias! Can’t grow ’em here–just not enough humidity or too much heat. I thought they love heat. Or maybe, in the middle of the night, earwigs pull up in a low-rider (earwigs need low to the ground cars, after all), cut them off and drive them away. Somewhere in the desert there are huge gardens of my dahlias, with earwigs dancing around them, chanting. Or maybe I have to knock off the NyQuil. In any case, may your garden fill you with joy and fragrance.
    And may you and Matthew have many, many more years of bliss.

    And may I escape with Voleur de Rose or Bois d’Ombrie.

    • Lee says:

      Ha! They’re remarkably tolerant actually, though they get the humidity here. I like the low-rider earwigs (I actually quite like earwigs, but not their dander…)

      You’re in!

  • Christine L says:

    Congratulations! I too understand the draw of the dalias. Unfortunately some very persistent beetles ate mine right down to the ground when we first moved here 11 years ago. I’ve never tried dalias since then. However, I should try my hand at them again, now that I’ve had success at organic vegetable gardening.

    I’d like to put my name in for the bottle of Bois d’Ombre. In return, may I tempt you with 5 varieties of Heirloom tomato seeds? I’ve grown each variety in zone 6 & know them to be fantastic. I’ll sweeten my bid with a 10ml bottle of my secret recipe of Bugz Begone made with 100% essential oils and instructions on how to use it. I’ve used this with great success over the years in my vegetable garden.

    • Lee says:

      Oh my Christine. That’s a wholly tempting offer!
      Continued good fortune with the vegetable growing.

  • Julie says:

    Dahlias are my favorite flower. I have a garden full also.
    I would love ANY of the fragrances that you are giving away. In exchange, I will give you one of my hairless cats so you can experience the morph of scents on their soft little naked bellies!

  • Pantera Lilly says:

    Your flowers sound lovely and the ones that you pictured are fabulous. Sign me up for Dzing and/or Voleur de Roses. Also, congratulations on your 17 years, that’s a mighty long time in these days and times!

  • Nancy says:

    Please send me Dzing! I’ll send you one of my children as an indentured servant for your garden and my 30ml bottle of A*men in return!

  • Margot says:


    Congratulations on your anniversary. 17 years! How beautiful. I can only wish you both endless happiness with one another.
    I am charmed by your fascination with Dahlias – in fact, I am charmed by your posts in general. I look forward to your perspectives on perfume, but also, your observations on living in the world with appreciation, sensitivity, humor and gratitude. If you can include me in the Dzing! offering, I would be so pleased. I am so pleased with your posts, in any case. All the best to you!


  • Janell says:

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. Please enter me in the draw. -J

  • first time commenter here – i just wanted to say that i love this blog and have learned a great many things about perfume by reading it and i come back for more each day! so thank you so much for all the work you put in here. and i’d be so happy to win that bottle of voleur de roses, and hope i am qualified for the drawing..
    all the best from germany, lena

  • Enter me for the Dzing, I will reward you with riches beyond measure. Or candy. Or a 99% full bottle of Petit Guerlain?

  • BenA says:

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures and happy anniversary! I’d be interested in the Bois d’Ombrie or either of the L’Artisans, should I be so lucky as to win one of them!

  • helenviolette says:

    Beautiful pics, darlin. And happy anniversary! What would you like to have from Texas? bluebonnet seeds perhaps? how about yellow roses?

    I would take a shine on that Bois d’Ombrie…

  • Joe says:

    That bottle of Dzing! — lordy, Lee, the things I wouldn’t do for a 50ml bottle of Dzing! But I guess I’ll just appeal to the Gods of Randomocity to smile on me. Thanks!

    Also, that Pontiac dahlia is my type of flower. A neighbor up the street had some varieties that seemed big as dinnerplates last summer, but I personally can’t see growing them in this arid zone of California…. seems very irresponsible, but they are sure nice to look at when I take walks.

    • Lee says:

      You’re right zabout SoCal dryness and irresponsibility unfortunately. Though I water the allotment from the stream nearby, I try not to water the garden at all. Feel bad otherwise.

      Let’s hope the Lord of Random is on your side.

  • Jan V says:

    Wowee, that Chat Noir is amazing; well, the others are as well. As a child I was always drawn to my parents’ Dahlias…I love the saturated colors and the waxiness of the petals. All of them are so amazing. Too bad I’m no gardener…

    I’d so love the Bois d’Ombrie OR Dzing! Please enter me into the drawing. It’s such a kind and generous gesture!

    I myself have been decluttering/cleaning out, but nothing as fun as you-I’ve been dragging everything out of closets/storage areas and making a *real* mess of my house. There are always those things that are in limbo, waiting for me to think of a proper charitible organization that can use particular items.

    Have an amazing day!

    • Lee says:

      You’re in the draw.

      The worst thing a bout that decluttering is when you have about 10% left, scattered about, and you don’t know what to do with it. Mine always ends up in the ‘messy drawer’.

  • Anne says:

    Happy anniversary and happy return (almost) of the joys of spring! I was delighted to read about your dahlias – glorious! My own garden project this year is to create a vine maple tree forest, complete with singing frogs and hummingbirds, on my little urban oasis in the Pacific Northwest. I would like to be included in the drawings for the two L’Artisans and the Eau d’Italie. Many thanks for your sweet generosity!

    • Lee says:

      I’m fascinated by your plans. I need to hear more!

      And you’re in.

      • Anne says:

        Vine maples for green, leafy shade; low groundcovers to provide cool, damp shelter for frogs; honeysuckle to attract hummingbirds; and white trilliums scattered about for their sheer beauty. By the way, a hummingbird came by to chatter at me while I was doing garden cleanup last weekend – I was amazed, considering the snow and freezing temperatures that we in western Oregon recently had. Wishing you happy times in your garden all year ’round, Lee!

        • Shelley says:

          Ah, trillums…I love them…have tried to get them to take in two different yards…I think maybe, just maybe, there was a hint of one last spring…hope springs eternal…

          Your garden plan sounds lovely. I am impressed by your hummingbird visitor.

          • Lee says:

            It does sound lovely, doesn’t it. And trilliums are beautiful.

          • Anne says:

            Shelly – A hint about trilliums that may help: purchase plants that already are in bloom, as it takes 3-5 years for young trilliums to begin blooming. They love shade and rich, well-drained soil. Once established, they’ll multiply and greet you every spring in growing numbers. Happy gardening!

          • Shelley says:

            Thanks, Anne…good tip, quite true. I didn’t mention that I had to leave the first set (due to a move) before they had a chance to prove themselves. I am hopeful for the current batch…I’m guessing I’ll be able to report around the time folks in these parts start discussing Diorissimo and Apres L’Ondee… ;;)>:d< and a |-) for the trilliums until those spring days arrive...

  • LindaB says:

    Congratulations and happy, happy to you and your love!

    Was intrigued by your post immediately when I saw the dahlia as winter has gotten the best of me and I’m depressed. No worries, it happens every year and I know how the cure–perusing every gardening catalog, website, magazine I can find!!! I just started this week and was contemplating dahlias–haven’t grown em yet and the colors are dazzling. I’m slightly put off though that there is no scent. Well, lots of fun decisions to make in the next few weeks!

    Your offer is so generous–would love to be considered for the Voleur de Roses.

    Thank you kindly!

    • Lee says:

      Thank you. Planning plants is the only thing that gets me through this side of winter. Enjoy your browsing.

      And you’re in.

  • Aparatchick says:

    Happy Anniversary, Lee!

    No need for new perfumes, but thank you for bringing back wonderful memories of my grandfather and his prize-winning dahlias. He babied those things and entered the best ones in our state fair every year.

  • Monica says:

    Happy Anniversary!
    I would love any part of your never worn collection especially the Dzing, Eau d’Italie Bois d’Ombrie, and Vetyver… although I must confess myself my vast collection (which don’t include any of the stuff you’re giving away) is growing dusty cuz work has been crazy for me these days…

  • Elizabeth says:

    I love dahlias! I have some in my backyard that grow despite my black thumb and having unknowingly pulled them as weeds the first spring.

    I would love to take the Bois d’Ombrie off your hands. Or the Voleur de Roses. I’ve never tried B d’O, so that would be unsniffed 😮 …but I think I’d like it.

  • Natalie says:

    Wow, 17 years boggles my fickle little mind — congratulations! And your generosity is touching… I would love to be entered in the drawing for anything but the PdN (sorry for the horribly picky request to complicate your life further — they just never work on me). In return, I will weed your dahlias and oh-so-gently shake the earwigs from their silken petals.

  • grizzlesnort says:

    A toast on your anniversary and hopes for many more sweet years for the two of you, years full of dahlias, puppies, perfume and all the good things you love. Now, I can’t promise you the moon as I have already promised that to someone else but will you settle for Venus? We’ll bring it out in the morning and early evenings so you always know it’s there. And if you send me Voleur de Rose–or heck, any of them as you know i’m not that picky–we can talk about things that can be put in the mail.

  • Jan L. says:

    Gardening, romance, longevity, bright splashy blooms…heady elegance that cannot be described by mere words…

    Best Wishes, and please add my name to the drawing. All of the fragrances sound fascinating, especially Dzing./:) It sounds so unlike me!

    Jan L.

  • Samantha says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary, 17 years is awe-inspiring to me. I never realized how beautiful dahlias were before..those pictures make me want to try growing something besides roses, which pretty much require no effort!Giving away those bottles is so generous of you…I’d like to be in for the Bois d’ Ombrie, please.

    • Lee says:

      You’re in.

      You should try dahlias. They like rich conditions and plenty of water, but they’re easy as anything.

  • Kristy says:

    I have the black thumb: I kill almost everything I grow. But I’d love to be entered into the contest for a bottle. 🙂

  • Linda says:

    Oh! I would love to be in the drawing for Voleur de Roses. As for wild promises… well, I seem to be in possession of a lot of a homemade relish my family has always called simply “pickle junk” (which we eat on mashed potatoes) and green tomato salsa (which is fabulous on omelettes) — if you are interested, I could send you a couple jars. Yes, I know you’re ignoring promises, but while you’re talking about gardens I am eagerly planning my canning. 🙂

    Happy anniversary to you — does it seem like seventeen? I am always shocked to find how many years have passed in the lively moment (and forever) my partner and I have been together.

    • Lee says:

      love green tomato salsa. As for 17 years: it does and it doesn’t. I see photos of us then and think, my oh my. But really, we’re still daft boys.

  • Divalano says:

    Ahhh springtime. Your flower photos make me long for warm breezes & the smell of growing things. Luckily I was just in San Francisco & am not jonesing as badly as I could be. We took a drive out of the city & it was so green! and warm! not freezing! unseasonably sunny! I was beside myself & actually took a photo of a ladybug on a leaf because it was January & who sees ladybugs on leaves in Jan?? I’m such a New Yorker.

    Promises … well, I could put you up in my luxury West Village duplex. Actually, it’s a sextplex, but there’s other people on the other 4 floors. And on my floor. We have an in-house gym. It’s called the stairs. You get a workout every time you come home. Fabulous! OK, so maybe not so much luxury. And I don’t actually have a guest bedroom. So ok, come to NY, I’ll show you photos of handsome men & take you to coffee.

    Dzing! I’d love me some more Dzing! 😡

    • Lee says:

      If ever the pound makes the States affordable again, I’ll definitely climb some stairs with you!

      I saw four ladybirds/bugs at the allotment today.

  • sweetlife says:

    No perfume for me, Lee, just want to wish you a very, very happy anniversary. Seventeen years is a blessing, but it’s a real accomplishment, too. Gardens aren’t the only things that require tending.

    They grow dahlias commercially in the beatiful valley outside of Seattle in Washington state, where I was driving to visit some friends. I got to walk into the fields — they let you cut your own bouquet. They are such massive, gloriously over-the-top flowers anyway that to be in the field was just… It was like walking into a Van Gogh. I wish I could visit your field.

  • rachaelg says:

    I’m not sure I have any wild promises of gifts in me, but I do have a heartfelt congratulations on your wonderful 17 years.
    Thank you for such a generous giveaway, I would love the chance to win the bottle of bois de ombrie.

  • Tara says:

    Happy Anniversary! Do deer eat dahlias? Here in the norhtern suburbs of NYC, they eat everything! I plant – they eat. Ugh! I would love to have a beautiful garden, but my husband won’t put up a deer fence because it just does not look right which I kind of agree with.

    Anyway, I hope your garden grows spectacularly!

    I’d love the eau d’italie or any of the l’artisan. They are my two favorite lines. In return I’ll send you dahlias from White Flower Farm, a great gardening store!

    • Lee says:

      I think it’s a relatively deer proof plant. The rabbits don’t touch them, and they eat most things, the b*st*rds. You’re in.

      That is a great gardening store…

  • Musette says:

    Happy Anniversary, baby!< :-p May you and Matthew have many, many, many more, in health and happiness, attended by Gracie, for the length of her looooong, lovely life! I love Dahlias, though I've never grown them. We're ripping our a lot of old sod this spring to make for a kitchen garden and I am going to have El O make some border beds for me as well. 'Pontiac' reminds me of 'Park Princess' which was the Dahlia that first drew me to them. We have so many earwigs here that it won't matter! 'Rip City' is beautiful - I wonder if there's a pink cultivar.... ....oh, don't get me started! I would love to be in the drawing - surprise me! I will send you some lovely nut brittle in return, having no 'fumes of interest to you, alas...and a....:(|) - how's that! xoxoxox>-)

    • Lee says:

      The monkey will keep me very happy. Imagine the chaos!

      I’m gonna do a check for a pink rip city lookalike and I’ll get back to you if I uncover anything…

  • Janet in California says:

    Lee- Perfume, dahlias and love- what could be better? Have you seen Corralitos Gardens -glorious and just down the highway from me. Wonderful people too. Do you have a tree dahlia yet?

    Have a lovely anniversary! Please put me on the list for the Voleur.

  • Catherine says:

    Lee, Congratulations to you and Matthew! I just knew there was a larger-than-me reason I woke up with a light heart this morning. Vibes. Grinning vibes. You and Matthew are certainly part of those vibes.

    I simply can’t wait for the snow to melt. One of my greatest pleasures this last fall was mulching and mucking about. I want to do it some more! I have no idea why, but I’d like a small field of daisies in my back yard. I’d better get cracking on thinking seriously about it.

    I would love to be in the drawing for the Bois d’Ombrie. I’ve amazed a stash of lovely candles I need to share…

  • Lynne1962 says:

    Lovely Lovely fleurs!! Such vibrant colors!. Congrats on your anniversary! Many, many more! Would love to be considered for any of fumes:))

  • Calypso says:

    Happy Anniversary, you’re going to be at 20 before you know it! I’m very envious of your gardening plans. Since I moved south to Texas I can’t seem to grow anything “normal”, the one thing that does thrive here are the hibiscuses. You sound like my Uncle Dave who has dozens of dahlias in the garden up in Michigan. There are several dahlias groups on the photo site Flickr and I bet you’d love browsing them: (A few are my pics from my uncle’s garden, too, there, that’s your gift!).

    I’d love to be considered for the Voleur, please.

  • Katherine says:

    Should I be so lucky as to win either Dzing! or Rocabar, I will present you with three ponies: one flesh-and-blood, one (life-size!) made of cake, and one (also life-size!) made of dahlias, with a few hyacinths thrown in just because.

  • Suzanne says:

    What gorgeous flowers! Dzing isn’t so bad either.

  • Nava says:

    Happy Anniversary to you and Matthew! May you have many, many more happy years together. 😡

    I think I have the brownest thumb in all of creation, so my admiration for your dedication and skill in the garden is great. I will not enter my name in your raffle, but feel free to e-mail me snaps as your babies bloom. One thing I am going to miss about my house is the profusion of flowers my husband used to plant and care for every year. It won’t be the same in an apartment.

  • Pamster says:

    Those dahlias are gorgeous, I love the brilliant colorings – especially the wild tangerine of “New Baby”. Now I may have to think about planting some myself, though the climate where I live is pretty harsh (zone 3) and not many pretty flowers can hack it.

    I was going to go towards Dzing! having never tried it and hearing all of the raves… but seeing as it’s what everyone seems to want, please put me in for the Eau d’Italie Bois d’Ombrie. I have their Sienne L’Hiver and adore it, and the Bois sounds right up my alley.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kathryn says:

    Happy Anniversary, Lee! You have already spread some love with your photographs. The dahlia pictures are smashing, and I think I will need to seek out the brilliant orange New Baby to grow alongside an unnamed black-leaved, lemon flowered dahlia that was a passalong plant from my friend Nina last summer. Your Bois D’Ombrie would smell wonderful on the love of my life. ( He already shares my bottle of Dzing!) In return, I would send you seeds of my favorite night scented flowers, Fragrant Cloud Nicotiana and Belle Blanche Datura.

    Picture yourself sitting in the garden with Matthew on a warm summer evening after the day’s work is done. You’ve just had a wonderful meal and taken your dessert outside to feast with the dahlias. As the light fades, you have an after dinner drink in the garden, and you begin to smell the intoxicating fragrances of the nicotiana and datura, and see their chalky white flowers glow softly in the dark. Scented summer evenings are among my favorite memories of my own long marriage. That’s one of the nicest things about being together for a long time. There are more memories every year.

    • Lee says:

      I love Nicotianas and Daturas!

      I think I know that dahlia cultivar…. Need to go check later.

      • Kathryn says:

        Check no further than your pictures, dear Lee. New Baby is among them. I may not have asked quite properly before, but I would appreciate being in the draw for Bois D’Ombrie.

        • Kathryn says:

          Oh, dear, light dawns on marblehead. You were, of course, talking about my unnamed cultivar. It really is unnamed because my friend originally grew it from a batch of seeds. There is a pricey patented one that is similar, though, called “Knockout.” I like mine all the better, because like your perfumes, it was free. The dark leaves in both cases make them quite interesting in mixed borders with other plants.

  • Tommasina says:

    Oh, Lee, I couldn’t possibly not comment, for several reasons – but I don’t know in which order to put them, and am somewhat scattered, as it is (you’ll see why in a moment); so here it all is, thrown out at random:

    1. My darling Daddy died on Tuesday after a long and terrible illness. He used to have an excellent nose (his sense of smell and taste were sadly destroyed by chemotherapy): a little known fact about his early working life is that his first job out of university was as a cocoa taster at Cadbury’s Bourneville factory. Although his first sensory love (so to speak) was wine, he was very interested in my perfumes: we spent many an enjoyable hour discussing my latest finds. His ‘signature’ scent, in my mind, was Guerlain Vetiver; I am sure he’d have loved to try a new one such as the PdN you’re offering in the draw. I hope it won’t sound morbid when I tell you that I spritzed him with the Guerlain before the undertakers took him away on Tuesday afternoon; it seemed right to us. He also carried 3 sprigs of rosemary in his breast pocket.

    2. Daddy was a country boy – a Shropshire Lad, in fact – and a keen gardener along with my mother: they even had sweatshirts reading “Head Gardener” and “Under Gardener” (my mother wore the Head one, naturally~) They, too, grew asparagus, strawberries, raspberry canes, potatoes and other fruit and vegetables: all my childhood we never visited the greengrocer’s but lived off our garden.

    3. My mother’s latest gardening interest has been dahlias; in particular she has enjoyed reading Christopher Lloyd’s thoughts thereupon (clashing colors, etc.); and her very first dahlia order, two years ago, was from Sarah Raven, and included Chat Noir. She now has a (real, furry) black kitten.

    4. I ought also to be clearing things out, but cannot right now clear my own stuff since I’m in France with my mother. But we certainly are donating a lot of Daddy’s stuff to the Croix Rouge thrift store in the nearest town.

    5. If I could offer you extravagant gifts with any hopes of their being allowed through Customs, I would be delighted to send you various cuttings from my own garden in North Carolina (I am English but married to an American); alas, this will not be possible. Maybe you can take the thought for the deed.

    Happy anniversary, and here’s to many more!

    • Nava says:

      So sorry to hear about your dad, Tommasina. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    • Lee says:

      I’m so touched by your post that I have few words. Your father sounds like he was a wonderful man. I’m so sorry for yours and your mother’s loss.

    • Musette says:

      Tommasina –

      What lovely memories to keep of your father (and I love that you spritzed him with Vetiver – very thoughtful). Such beautiful memories. You are truly blessed.


  • Mrs.Honey says:

    The flowers are beautiful! They almost make me wish I lived in temperate climate (instead of sub-tropical Florida.)

  • Magpie says:

    I guess I’m a bit over-tired this morning, because I’m blinking back a few happy tears for you. Many many congratulations on your anniversary! I won’t make any gardening promises to you—I’ve made enough to my own sweetie as it is. 🙂 Please toss my name into the pot for the Voleur de Roses. Thanks for the lovely photos and the happy thoughts!

  • Shelley says:

    Happy Anniversary! A worthy event…

    I ♥ dahlias, but must ☞ out that in my climate, growing them involves a certain amount of, erm, labor and attentiveness. The bulbs will not survive over winter, and even the lazy gardener route of keeping them in pots sometimes gets, um, overlooked / dismissed on the priority list. Not very budget friendly, that.

    Please enter me for any of the bottles. I promise to 1) plant dahlias in honor of your anniversary, and save them for next year in honor of any sustained relationships among the Posse; 2) send you garden goodies galore in a glorious galumphing box; 3) take pictures of my garden throughout the season this year. (For me, the last item is perhaps the tallest hyperbole of all.)

    Hope you are well, and truly, congratulations to you and Matthew. Every year is worth noting, but you are reaching some notable numbers there. Perhaps we could say that, like the number itself, a 17th anniversary is … prime??? :-b ;;)

    • Lee says:

      Apparently they never used to survive in Britain either, but now, climate change and all that, no worries generally, at least here in the south.

      Thanks for the prime ref and you’re definitely in the draw…

  • karin says:

    Hi Lee! I can totally understand your obsession with dahlias. A friend of mine (who lives in RI), grows the plate-sized ones. They are the most amazingly stunning flowers I’ve ever seen. GORGEOUS!!! She has this really cool vase, too. Very tall, clear glass, and each flower has its own glass tube that runs the length of the stem. Display about 5 of those babies in that vase, and you won’t be able to tear yourself away from them. Too, too beautiful. I have some serious dahlia envy. My most favorite flower, though, is French tulips. To die for.

    I myself am gardening handicapped, however. It just ain’t my thing. I love, love flowers, though, so wonder if I need to take a class or something. My sister is the complete opposite of me. She throws something in the ground or in a pot, and it grows like crazy. So, it’s in the genetic code somewhere…I just have to find it!

    No need to include me in the draw, but thanks for the offer! Always nice to get rid of some of those tired scents and replace them with new ones. 🙂

    • Lee says:

      Learn, learn, learn. It’s worth it. And I love tulips oh so much too. Don’t grow many though, for some reason. I must change that this autumn and plant hundreds!

      • karin says:

        Oooooh…hundreds of tulips!!!??? Where do you live??? I’ll have to come by in the middle of the night and grab some. Ha ha. 😉

  • JAntoinette says:

    Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! A fabulous man and a garden (soon to be) bursting with life and color! Fortunate soul!

    (and I was just thinking of Eau d’Italie…)

  • dinazad says:

    Hmmmm, I don’t really think I can tempt you with wildly extravagant gifts of scent, since you probably know more fragrances than I do. And the cultivation of my new, BIG balcony will only start in spring (roses! caihua! “bright lights” coloured Swiss chard! dill! rosemary! twelve varieties of mint! coriander! hyacinths! meadow rue! lemon balm! wild garlic! lavender! basil! – uhh, yes, I do like to cook with herbs, how did you guess? – verbena! four varieties of bleeding heart! hydrangeas! dahlias! yes, I know I need a middling country house with spacious grounds for that, but a girl can dream, can’t she?). Got a bit carried away here…. but maybe I could offer seeds? Night-scented stock for instance? Or Swiss chard? I’d love to give the PdN a home. Or the Bois d’Ombrie…

    • Lee says:

      The stock seeds would be welcome though I have pleeeeeeenty of swiss chard seed (in all different coloured stems – love it)

      You’re in!

  • zazie33 says:

    Congratulations – for your anniversary and for the beautiful flowers you are growing. Love dahlias. And peonies. And roses. and (well time to stop). I’m quite a recent reader of this uplifting blog (even when talking about graveyards ;)), so my only guess for a wild gift would be something very milanese…Now, what could that be? 😕
    Well, if I win the bottle of Bois d’ombrie I will give it a serious thought…wild you say?

    • Lee says:

      Oh, it doesn’t really matter. I’m pleased with most things. I like tea towels, inexplicably.


  • carmencanada says:

    Hi dear! Congrats on the anniversary (never went past 10 years myself)… I would quite like the Dzing as I inexplicably never bought it. And I would happily send back some Paris sweets (the more shippable types) of your choice…

  • Francesca says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary!
    Beautiful photos–I especially like Downham Royal and New Baby–those conical petals are fascinating.

  • fountaingirl says:

    Wow, your dahlias are amazing! I love them myself, I used to grow them as cutting flowers in among the food in the garden back when I lived in FL. It is nearly impossible to feel sad in any way when there is a jug of dahlias staring at you all friendly-like.

    Congrats on the anniversary btw — that is a fantastic accomplishment.

    You are amazing to be giving away unloved scents. I would be a great perfume mommy to any of the bottles, I treat my lovelies very well (no direct light, kept in the cool, etc.). So if I get drawn, you can be assured that the rehomed bottle will be treated very well. And I would have NO problem sending say, brownies, or white chocolate macademia nut bars in return. My macadamia bars are something else (they have a wee bit of lime zest even). :d

    • Lee says:

      Oooh, macadamia nuts…

      Dahlias do make one smile for sure.

      You’re in for the draw and thanks for the congrats.

  • Erin says:

    Hadn’t thought of dahlias for my garden and now must reconsider! How do you group yours?

    My 7 year old son is peeking over my shoulder and he says they look like “dinosaur flowers.” Big compliment, coming from him. Somewhere between the aggressiveness of orchids and the old cocktail waitress slouch of peonies. Lovely.

    Happy anniversary to you and your partner. Loving each other so long is a rare gift.

    • Lee says:

      Aaah, well, these grow on the allotment 10 mins walk from my house – my fruit and veg garden. Though I have about 10 varieties in the garden – three tubers of each variety in colour clashing beds. Books by Christopher Lloyd (The Exotic Garden?) are a close apporiximation of the style here…

  • Louise says:

    Happy, Happy Anniversary to you and your darling @};-@};-@};-

    I adore Dahlias-grandes Dames that they are. I particularly admire Lover Boy and New Baby.

    Send no perfume, just accept my hugs 😡

    • Lee says:

      They make a lovely pair don’t they. My one irritation with Lover Boy – short stems so not so great for cutting. Love Boys shouldn’t have short bits.

      Kisses back.

  • Elle says:

    Don’t need any new perfumes, but just wanted to say congrats on your anniversary! 🙂 And dahlias *should* be grown in excess. It’s what makes them so perfect and such tremendous fun. They’re not about discretion and moderation. I personally think it would actually be insulting to them. Those pics are delicious to the extreme! Such great eye candy to start the day w/. Thanks!

  • hvs says:

    Dzing! Dzing! Dzing! I wish to smell of cardboard, circus peanuts, and damp woolen mittens…
    please and thank you. And LOVE the Dahlias. Just what needs on the 100th gray Northern European day. – hvs

  • Anne says:

    Beautiful photos. Mind if I make one of them an iphone wallpaper? Off hand can’t think of what I’d send you but I would send something in return, promise. Love Voleur de Roses. :)>-

  • MattS says:

    Sign me up for the Dzing!, dude. I’ll make it worth your while…GAG indeed.>:)

    Happy Anniversary, by the way! 😡

  • Masha says:

    OK, you have inspired me to grow new flowers this spring! The Alps are a good place to garden, and my small yard is full of medicinals, bee balm, echinacea, foxglove, etc.. But those blossoms in your article are so stunningly gorgeous, I’m going to branch out! (Sorry, just couldn’t leaf that one alone….)
    If the puns haven’t killed you, I’d be very interested in adopting your PdN.
    All the best to you and yours!

    • Lee says:

      I love bad puns masha. Your garden sounds beautiful – an alpine cottage garden, no less. I think a few dahlias, perhaps the pink/yellow cultivars, would work wonderfully in there.

      You’re in for the Nicolai.