Better late than never

Mentor, OH

Hi pirl, Thanks for asking about me. I haven't had a chance to get on the forums lately and haven't had much luck with the dahlias until recently. After the torrential rain last year, this year was BONE dry. Every storm headed our way either died before it got here or split and went north and south of us. We had many days in the 90's. I planted the tubers at the end of May and watered sparingly. Even with the dry weather I still lost 9 or 10 to rot. The growth was painfully slow and at the end of July I had many that were only 6"- 8" tall. In mid-August I decided they were either going to sink or swim. I got out the hose and literally drowned then. As a result they took off and I've had more growth in the last 3 weeks than I had in the first 10 weeks. Over half have bloomed or budded and I'm hoping for more before frost. This one is Hollyhill Starburst.

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Mentor, OH

Kelvin Floodlight. Lots of blooms but I never seem to get anything over 6"- 7". I guess I need to dis-bud for bigger ones.

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Mentor, OH

Bonaventure. One of my favorites with big, strong stems.

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Mentor, OH

Ferncliff Inspiration.

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Mentor, OH

Rose Jupiter. My cucumbers failed miserably this year and in protest the cucumber beetles have moved to the front yard and are taking their spite out on my dahlias. lol

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Mentor, OH

Glenbank Twinkler. I should have more soon.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Wonderful dahlias, as always, Dan. We didn't have drought conditions but something early on in the season, stopped the new growth for a long time. The last one I planted has done very well - no ID for it and I don't even like it. Kalinka blooms at ground level, some yellow one I didn't like so I didn't dig up last year is going gangbusters but Vancouver is ho hum this year. The stakes look so silly since they're 5' tall but the dahlias are barely 2'.

Thomas Edison, pictured below, is quite nice but just a few blooms though they last a long time. It needed many stakes due to the floppy stems.

Our cucumbers did very well, too well. The neighbors seemed a bit shy to answer the door for fear of even more cucumbers. The crows got the tomatoes, the peas burned up in the heat of the sun in June and there was just one picking of the green beans.

Caladiums were (and still are) superb as are the coleuses.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

All gorgeous. I really like Rose Jupiter. Bonaventure looks a lot like Neon Splendor. I like the ones that are predominantly one color like orange then have the tiniest tint of pink in the center. Phoenix is one of my very favorites. Dr. John E. Kaiser finally popped up and bloomed. Didn't know where he was. Great color.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I know what you mean by the tall stakes. Mine look pretty silly and of course are in the middle of the lawn where they can't be missed. I am in piggy heaven with the dahlias I received from Dan and Tod this spring. Talk about a picnic (can't spell smorgasbord).... lol. Only one didn't pop up for some reason (Korb Summer Gala) but has a huge tuber. All others grew to one extent or another and most bloomed --- like bunches on blooms on all plants. Guess the rain and cool weather up here is good for something besides flooding the streets.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

This is the no ID that I planted late. The tag read purple with white edges. Clearly something went wrong!

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Funny, Mary. Glad we both have those stakes ready for next year.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

May not match the tag but it sure is pretty and so different, especially the little decoration in the center. :)

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

That bee was the only saving grace with the dahlia.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I will have fun this winter figuring out what to put where next spring now that I have some idea of height (although that can change) and color. I want to mix some lilies, and peonies among the dahlias. Hope Dan has more blooms to show.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Well, obviously we are both sitting here typing our little fingers away -- right over each other. Poor Dan doesn't stand a chance.

Mentor, OH

This must be the year of the short dahlias. My Bonaventure went from less than 3 feet to over 6 feet in 3 weeks. Other than that I only have one (out of over 50) that is over 3 feet. Sure makes staking easier but last year I had many that were 5-8 feet tall. A few friends have very short dahlias this year. My Vancouver has a lot of buds and I can't wait to see it bloom. Thanks, pirl. I have a bright red Cynthia Houston and a pink/red specked Alpen Pauline that are each about 25% open. Can't believe this late growth. This was the hottest, driest summer I can remember since 1988. My tomatoes did pretty well. I got several picking of the green beans and then they turned golden yellow and all the leaves fell off. As I mentioned earlier the cucumbers totally failed. I think one of the biggest problems we have is pollination. I haven't seen a honey bee in years. We have a few bumble bees.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Try some nepeta or lavender plants. Borage also encourages the bees.

Mary - mark the lilies and peonies well so it won't be a problem if you need to move either of them. I use small beach stones to outline lily plantings. Use anything that works for you.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I usually draw a schematic but it's a race against time just to get the work done much less draw it up. I have a bazillion metal plant markers but am so far behind on making the marker sign itself that it's the same problem. Right now I still have stems to mark them in position but not for long. It is hard to imagine it being so dry that there are no bees.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Bring out a Sharpie when you plant the dahlias and use your arm to at least put Rose Jupiter left of Bonaventure, etc. Transfer the information to your computer when you're done for the day or take a break. It doesn't wash off fast so you'll have time to do it the following day if you happen to forget on planting day.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

LOL. Now THAT is original! I would have notes up to my shoulder. Well, not if I was only marking lilies and such. but I move pretty much everything sometimes. I got two holes dug for peonies coming, and want to mark empty spots with the name of the dahlia I want to plant there next spring. Come spring I start digging and planting rather frenetically and forget all my well thought out designs the previous fall when I have time to just stand and gaze and imagine arrangements.

Mentor, OH

pirl, didn't know you were into tattoos. lol I carry a small note pad and write down what's planted in each section. I leave room to cross off the rotted ones and add the new ones. Luckily for me, I started a dozen or so in pots to be used as replacements and this year, due to rot, I used almost all the extras. Unluckily for me, I forgot to write in what the replacements were. lol I'm not sure what to expect, if they ever bloom. I need to learn not to trust my memory.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Memory? Memory? I think I used to have one of those. That's why I carry my camera around documenting everything. But it doesn't work in the fall when some stuff is underground.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

You're right, Mary. I also bring the camera and have to download daily or I'll forget why I took the photos.

It's amazing what we can do when we are desperate. I've had the list go up, past my elbow, but haven't made it to the shoulder yet. Forgetfulness goes with the territory. If I were good at remembering the jobs for the day Sharpie might go out of business.

Yes, Dan, by the end of the day it takes great imagination to think of what was tattooed on my arm! Saying to yourself, "Oh, I'll remember", is a sure path to forgetting.

I've been out tending Kasasagi and I'm up to Vancouver now. The best (huge) stem broke in the heavy winds we had earlier this week (can't remember the day!).

To protect a few daylilies from the beasts known as deer, I had laid a large piece of old rusted wire fencing over them back in June. Today I went to remove it and saw a plain yellow waterlily dahlia had made it its home and Kasasagi has grown on it. Maybe that's a better idea for the future than stakes. I could put it over the stake and create my own cages, just lifting them up to plant new dahlias next year. It's a good winter project.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

that's a pretty dahlia. Reminds me of Kaiser Wilhelm a little. I cleaned off my tuber clumps and am really perplexed. I remember what I have received from others, both DG'rs and vendors in the way of tubers. Mostly just single tubers. The clumps I have just bend my mind on how to cut them up and what to save. It looks like you would only save a small part of the clump, preferable single decent size tubers with part of the neck or eyes.

Here are three different tubers, first two shots are front and back of the same tuber. they are all different in terms of size, roots, texture.

so I would cut all the little stuff off, and only save those having eyes or part of the neck. It would make them more likely to get through the winter without rotting no matter how dry I let them get.

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Mentor, OH

Mary, two years ago when I dug my tubers, I dried them a couple of days and put them in plastic shopping bags or gallon zip locs (if they would fit) with a couple handfuls of a peat moss, potting soil and perlite mixture and waited until spring to divide. I have a hard time seeing some of the eyes. This past fall the friends who dug my tubers wanted to divide them then to make storage easier. I didn't like the idea because not many eyes were visible. They cut up all the plump individual tubers with a piece of the tuber collar attached and stored them in vermiculite after the cuts were dusted with sulphur. Their theory is throw them all in the bag visible eye or not. You have nothing to lose. Next spring if no eyes appear... toss them into the compost pile. I was amazed at the number that had eyed up this spring. No telling how many I would have thrown away if I was the one doing the dividing when they were dug. We have lost very few the last two years.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

that's true. the mixture you put them in would absorb any moisture and at the same time provide a little moisture if needed I guess. Well, nothing ventured. I have used just peat moss before but they dried out. So maybe it is the three part mixture that does the trick. that and getting rid of the tiny tubers and roots would also keep down the chances of rot. Thanks

Oh, also I heard that they are easier to cut if you let them sit for a couple of days. They get softer.

This message was edited Sep 22, 2012 4:47 PM

Mentor, OH

My friends use a heavy blade knife or poultry shears for the bigger cuts and a small razor blade type knife sold in hobby shops for digging in around the collar. Never seemed to have any problem even when the tubers were a little dry. I have used an exacto knife. As far as moisture, we very lightly spray the inside of the bag every few weeks instead of wetting the medium. I think the important part is creating a "little" humidity. Be sure to leave the bag open. Of course, a lot depends on the temperature at which they are stored. Mine were usually stored in the attic right beneath the roof vent but were nowhere near the ideal temp of 35-40 degrees. Mine were probably low to mid 50's but I never had any problems. They do seem to develop sprouts much earlier. That might be a good thing for you with a shorter growing season.

Mentor, OH

pirl, I wish I had a nickel for every time I've said "Oh I'll remember". I plant 6 or 8 varieties of tomatoes every year. I always think I'll remember where each type is planted. And I do ...... for about ten minutes. After 4 or 5 years of "forgetting", I finally wised up this year and charted everything in a notebook as I planted. What is the name of the dahlia you posted? It looks a lot like this one I had from last year.

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Brigham City, UT(Zone 5b)

Good information on storing. I have so many to dig and store. They all have been so beautiful. I have many that are over 5' tall. I am planning on how to stake them next year. Most stand nicely, but I have many that need a little help.
I have 2 of these plants. They have stood up well, they are 2.5' to 3' tall. The bushes are loaded all the time, and the colors are beautiful.
I love all the pictures. I know I don't have much more room, but I think I may need just "a few" more.
Marie

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Dan - Just thinking of "Oh, I'll remember" chills me since I seldom do. Then I get annoyed with myself knowing I will not remember. Now I try to photograph what I've done so I'll have some reference for it. I missed that twice yesterday! The computer often saves the day. I have my "to do" list on Notepad, on my screensaver, so I see it many times a day and it serves to jog my brain.

The photo I posted was of a little pom pon (so hard to type that since I always thought it was pom pom) type, Kasasagi. I love that one! http://www.dahlias.com/kasasagi-item330.aspx The blooms are darker and prettier with a bit of shade but this one ended up in the sun...because I forgot to remember. I'll have to add that to the tag. Pictured below is how it looks in full sun, not a minute of shade. I prefer the darker version.

Marie - you really have lovely dahlias. Years ago, when Poochella reigned as Queen of the Dahlias here at DG, she used rebar as stakes, for the strength and permanence of them. I resisted for years, believing they were just too ugly, and looked for something better but I ended up using the rebar. They are in place permanently so now I just have to remember to tie them up each year. Everything goes along fine and then they seem to put on a growth spurt and I don't catch it in time so they end up lying on the ground.

The one I thought was Vancouver ends up being something I bought (nameless) from Home Depot. I do love it but still want to grow Vancouver again. I know I planted it in spring but I guess it failed to grow. Here's a photo (#2) of it.

Photo #3 is Long Island Lil, an old favorite. Please notice how it's lying down because I forgot to stake it. The plant doesn't grow in the area where I have the rebar stakes. I'd rather use a mound shaped piece of wire fencing for it than rebar.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Well, I was visited (while out to dinner) by twin one year old moose who were also having dinner on my plants. they beheaded almost all the dahlias in the new bed although they missed ones that were just starting to open which are the ones I am most concerned about. But anything big and tasty they ate. Also ate some lilies, every rose blossom on my climbing rose by the mail box and the dahlia blooms on a large raised pot by the honeysuckle which they were working on this morning when I went to survey the damage. From the dents in the grass they slept on my lawn last night anticipating a nice breakfast before moving on. D drove them off with the pellet rifle last night but they must have come back. I am mixing up a batch of Planskyd today. I figured it was appropriate to put this under "better late than never."

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

these pictures aren't very good. I was on the lookout for the mama moose who can be really lethal if you mess with her babies. she never showed up so perhaps these two are orphans. The last shot is the only one I got of Dr. John E. Kaiser. I was taking pics each day in anticipation of frost and wanted to be sure I got one from my own garden (not downloaded online - especially where I can't find one online) for my database.

the first one they are at opposite sides of the picture and the fourth one he (one of them) is taking out my roses and honeysuckle.

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Brigham City, UT(Zone 5b)

I am so sorry for the damage. I have deer that come to my yard, but they like the tasty tomatoes better than the dahlias.

I was out with the camera a couple weeks ago, (I am not as good as Pril and Dan). I am so afraid of stealing the thread that I tend not to post much on others posts, but here goes. I hope you don't mind.

Pril, I have a thought of making little birdhouses and painting each one different, have a hole in the bottom of each and put them on the rebar. I would have to make a lot of birdhouses. I also thought I would make some wooden and copper flowers to put on the stakes.

I only know a few names of my dahlias, the tags I put at the base are all covered up. Also, I planted several from seed so I haven't named them yet (just for me).

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Brigham City, UT(Zone 5b)

Your yard is beautiful! I look for moose every time we go on vacation. I have only seen a few. I don't know why they are my favorite. I use to like deer until they came and dimolished my roses (they love the buds) and my tomatoes. I wish I could use a pellet gun, but not able to. I have used a golf club though. They go running.

Here are a few more pictures:

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

So sorry to see the moose feasting on your plants, Mary. Deer and moose could all go to some deprived state and then we'd be happy.

Marie - gorgeous photos! Is that amaranthus in your first photo? I love it with the dahlias. I have some of the reddish purple ones, some salmon, along with some green ones but the deer also love the brand new growth so I have to spray constantly. I think the last one on your first post is Lady Darlene - I love that one.

This morning my husband said he no longer wants to do any vegetable gardening since the crows got more of the tomatoes than we did, the sun got the peas, the neighbors got 99% of the cucumbers and we only had one crop (one day) of green beans before the sun fried them. If that garden becomes mine, by default, it will be dahlias, cockscomb and amaranthus. The deer can't get it and I'd love an area all to myself!

The orange amaranthus is Hot Biscuits (seeds from Swallowtail).
The reddish purple are Velvet Curtains (also from Swallowtail seeds).
The third photo shows how the deer eat the new growth. I'd have to spray daily to keep them away from these (or any) new growth on plants.
I love this cockscomb!

Now I'll go out and get a photo of the green amaranthus.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Thanks guys. At least I can enjoy all your beautiful flowers. Marie, I love the last one in the first row and the first one in the second row. the dahlias that have many colors are favorites. I am going to plant my dahlias closer together next year. Now that I have some idea how big they are going to be. I think I should be more aware of hijacking a thread. I sort of jump in anywhere. Bad habit. I will work on it. This was really Dan and Arlene's

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Mary - I doubt any of us have phobias about hijacking and it's always a relief to know others have problems to deal with as we all seem to face something from animals to weather.

The one dahlias I do have growing, despite leaving it in the ground last year, is a seedling from dark foliage dahlias. There must be 50 blooms at all times but no match for the larger beauties. It does attract more bees than can be believed.

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Mentor, OH

Hijack all you want. I enjoy reading the posts. Mary, I feel bad reading about your moose problem. I'm glad we don't have those big devils. The deer around here are bad enough and it gets worse every year. City council recently decided to allow bowhunting but must be on properties of 5 acres or more. That eliminates 99.99% of the land around here. I think it would lead to ill feeling and accomplish little anyway. I wouldn't have participated in an area this small. I don't know what the right answer is. I've been walking 5 or 6 miles a day in a park about 1/2 mile from home. Last Thursday I stopped on the trail and let 14 does cross within 25 feet of me. I planted a late crop of green beans and I'm shocked they haven't been devoured yet. I'm sure the bumper crop of acorns has helped lessen our damage. MyRee, those are certainly beautiful dahlias. You must have been blessed with dahlia-friendly weather. What did you mean about the neighbors getting the cucumbers? You gave them away or they stole them? lol

Mentor, OH

My mistake. I meant to ask pirl about the cucumbers instead of MyRee.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

thanks I was feeling guilty. As as to Marie's comment about using a golf club on the beasties??? Not me! They wouldn't even feel it except to piss it off and I cannot run fast enough to get away. The big ones don't always respond even to the pellet gun. Although they know the sound of it getting jacked up ready to shoot. Damien has said over and over they should allow bow hunting in the lower hills around Anchorage. That is where they come from, down the slopes. Usually followed by the bears. I have been fortunate that I have not met a bear but then I do live right on the inlet and it's a bit of a jaunt even for the moose, right through the suburbs and some commercial districts. Doesn't faze them. I must admit I could picture those two little 'veal on the hoofs" avariciously. they would be outstanding smoked, bar-b-qued, any old way.

I just sprayed Plant Skyyd. Yup, well after the horses left the barn. But I still have some that haven't opened (dahlias as well as lilies) and I surely would like to see them.

Dan, are there no predators other than man to keep the population down? I could see an uptick in arrow wounds on less than 5 acres. Shoot. The idiot across the cul de sac shot at a moose in the direction of another neighbor's house and broke his front window. Talk about brainless. So fortunate it wasn't a more powerful gun and no one was in the living room. He replaced the window.

I went to a sporting goods store and bought two knives. One is a neat little guy with a short (2.5" )curved blade with a nice point. It works great to get into the tubers and slice away. I bought a larger filet knife just in case. Heaven only knows what, if anything will sprout, but I really tried to get bits of the stems. I pitched as much detritus as I kept. D asked why I was doing it and I told him that I didn't think that whole clumps would make it through the winter but would rot. Just couldn't get them dry enough. I am going to go back and read what you sent me (Dan) on the mixture you use to store them. And first 'shake and bake' in fungicide. I am leaving the others outside to build bigger tubers as most are new to me and I would like to give them a good growth. Up to frost and a few days or so beyond. Theory is that they sprout eyes better that way.

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