My father was most definitely a self-made man: striving, thrifty, hard-working, and devotedly civic-minded. His internal engine ran on the energy of personal improvement. One of the first financial lessons that my father taught me was the value of long-term planning. "When it comes to saving, time is the greatest gift," he would said. As a graduate student, I plowed my fellowship and teaching stipends into a long-term IRA, even at the short-term cost of a diet based on lentils, peanut butter, and rice and living in the sort of housing that rents for $86.63/month. It might seem crazy for a 22-year old kid to be saving for retirement, but I'm glad now to have started my nest egg way back then. That compound interest thing is kind of amazing.
The same gift of time applies with dahlias. An over-wintered row of plants is now in bloom. The burgundy blooms of "Arabian Night" are leading the show. "Pattycake" is following fast behind.
In comparison, the "Rose Toscano" tuber that I planted in late May is just breaking the soil. Flowering is a long time off.
The gift of time given to those over-wintered dahlias, along with some peony foliage and Alchemilla lady's mantle, pays off with a Father's Day bouquet. And at a price that my frugal father would definitely have approved!