My love for dahlias got off to a really slow start. I much preferred soil beneath my fingernails than for those same nails to be blackened by bruises from driving dahlia stakes into the ground. And the truth was, dahlias had no other purpose on earth than to stand around looking totally tall and beautiful. I liked plants that had a reason for being, like tomatoes. Now there was a plant worth growing even if it did need to be staked.