Need help

(Zone 9b)

Would some dahlia lovers tell me which dahlia vendors are the best, please! I want to give my best friend from college a gift certificate for some tubers. Every year I give her amaryllis, which I love, but just realized from seeing all her dahlia photos on FB that she loves dahlias!

She lives on the Cape, so when is the best time for her to order the tubers for next years planting? Can you order them in early spring after the cold weather is over?

Thanks so much!

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Hi Kell,

There is no one "best place" but each of us seems to have favorite places. Swan Island is probably the best known and so is Accent, Corralitos Gardens, Dan's Gardens, Hollyhill, and many others. Garden Watchdog probably has lists of places.

Many start offering dahlias tomorrow and some probably have started already. Your friend can order whenever she pleases and they'll be delivered to her in spring.

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(Zone 9b)

Fancy meeting you here Miss Pirl! Thanks for your help.

WOW that dahlia is gorgeous!

I did look at GW but there were 106 places listed. I also was looking at Swan Island though I am not sure how I got there there the other day. Maybe thru Google. Some dahlias are so expensive! I guess the newest ones are.

Maybe I should ask which nurseries do you get the most for your money?

I think I better give her, her Christmas present early so she order now before the best varieties are gone.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

You should also be aware that Corralitos Gardens ships propagated Dahlias, e.g. sprouted and grown to about 1-2". They don't ship tubers as do the others. I have had good luck with them but have not been very successful at having tubers to save for the next spring. If you don't care about that, then he is a great choice.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'm a lover of Corralitos and by the end of the year I do get full sized tubers so your Cape Cod friend should also get them...if she wants the digging job.

Best deal for the money? That's rough. I generally go with the place that has the dahlias I want. Newer hybrids do cost a lot more than the old reliable ones.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

You could always give your friend a little bonus of a two month subscription to DG if she's interested in gardening.

(Zone 9b)

She is a great gardener! She actually was a member sometime back due to me. She was very into roses. But sadly the rose forum was a bit cliquish so that was that.

So Oberon46, you liked growing them from Corralitos Gardens the first year but at the end of the season they had not formed tubers? I wonder if your season is too short in Alaska.

Here we are so spoiled in that we do not have to dig them for winter.

How many do you grow, Pirl?

You guys know more than I do about what is to die for as far as dahlias go. Does Corralitos Gardens have to die for varieties? My friend seems to show mostly dinnerplates so I assume those are her favorites.. These are dinnerplates aren't they?

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

We all have our favorites. Both Mary and I like two colors in a dahlia but there are many with just one color that are breathtaking. Dinnerplates are the large ones - 10 to 12" across. They need disbudding to create those large blooms as well as strong stems and secure stakes as well as being tied to the stakes on a regular basis to keep them erect.

Since I'm lax on tying them to their stakes mine take the more "relaxed" position of lying on the ground.

Mary (Oberon), Dan (psudan) and Todd (todgor) are big dahlia growers. I wish Dan and Tod would add their thoughts here.

Now I only grow about 20 dahlias but Mary is very encouraging and infectious so that might change my garden.

Would you consider asking your friend which companies she uses? You could say you're doing research (and you are) and ask her opinions of each company.

Corralitos does sell many stunning plants but so do the other companies. I just love the ease of planting their rooted cuttings.

1. AC Rainier by Dan
2. Goshen Calico by Dan
3. Colorado Classic (mine, 2010)
4. Bodacious (mine, 2010)
5. Long Island Lil (mine, 2012, came from Todgor)

Let us know which company (or companies) your friend likes best, Kell.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

You are right Arlene. I had several conversations with Kevin At CG and he felt that the long sunny days had something to do with the lack of tubers at summer's end. I should have qualified my answer. I am so blown away by almost any dahlia that I don't think anyone has the most outstanding. I know that the Dahlia Barn has a lot of new ones which is interesting. The most I have paid is $22.00 for a tuber. Must have been really ravenous for dahlias that day. I only have 40 diff dahlias but 61 plants. If even half of this year's cuttings send shoots, then I am in BIG trouble next year. lol. I also like the dinner plates. LaLuna is the biggest one I have which is maybe 11". I disbud all my dahlias, quite severely if it is a dinnerplate, and down to five or six buds if not.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Kevin Larkin is such a nice guy and so helpful.

You paid $22.00 for a dahlia! I've never gone that far. I've spent far too much on daylilies, in past years, that didn't live up to their photos/descriptions/bud counts/increases that it caused such disappointment and maybe turned me a bit doubtful. I've found most dahlia photos to be much more honest than daylily photos, which is why I rely on PlantFiles.

Laziness causes me not to disbud. Heck, if I'm going near a dahlia it should be to "tie up dahlias" as I have notices to do that in many places, even the door from the garage to my plant room (had been the dog's pen but our new Smitty wants no part of it).

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I agree on the daylilies. I didn't go overboard on them like I have on bearded Iris but I have been so disappointed in the actual flowers in daylilies. I believe I will convert one bed to a mix of dahlias, lilies, and perhaps astilbes. Here in Alaska the amount of work in the fall is pretty steep but it is more than repaid by the 'bang for the buck' of the variety of flowers, cost effectiveness, and relatively small amount of work during the summer. As you say, the tying up, watching for and trimming off excessive suckers, deadheading. But then, that's what gardeners do. We are looking at more snow this week so I need to get going on the last 6 dahlias I need to pull in for storage. BTW, all the astilbes are in the ground as well as the hosta. I will watch them like a hawk next spring and move them if I have not chosen a good site.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'm glad I used my own daylilies that were hybridized by others long ago when I did my breeding. For the most part I still like my own best of all.

Your plants should thrive no matter what the site. The hosta plantaginea thrives here in sun or shade. I'd assume your plants have cool roots and that's what many (not all) plants want.

Mentor, OH

I really don't have a favorite. I've ordered from probably a dozen or more vendors and bought from several big-box stores. The problem I have with ordering from a half dozen places each year is that no single vendor has all the varieties that I want and the first thing you know you have as much as $75 in shipping costs alone. Can't say I've ever gotten bad tubers from anyone on the Dahlia Big List. I'm especially drawn to the gaudy cactus type.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I like those but also the collarettes and water lily forms. But then, the informal ones are great... and .... and ..... lol. Yeah......

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

That was precisely my issue, Dan. I'd want some from several places and the cost of the postage was staggering.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I paid $7.00 for the six I ordered from Washington. The cost of one dahlia. Guess I am so used to being pillaged and burned up here on postage that I don't bat an eye at that postage and in fact thought it very reasonable.

Mentor, OH

I ordered from one vendor this past spring who's lowest shipping charge was $12.00. That was anywhere from one up to ten tubers. They claim their charges are higher than most because their tubers are bigger and much heavier than most. I never really found the bigger and heavier part to be true. I think the higher charges are so you will order more to justify the average cost per tuber.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I have wondered that myself and actually done so. Ordered just up to the point it would change the shipping. Neat ploy I guess.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

My tactic is to work in reverse and I will not submit an order with a high shipping fee as you mentioned, Dan. That is customer abuse to me so I'll do without I would have ordered.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Hear! Hear!!

(Zone 9b)

Love all your dahlia pics, Pirl. Esp the orange striped red one, Goshen Calico and your Bodacious WOW! So when you say Bodacious is yours, what does that mean, you were the hybridizer?

Thank you all. I did ask my friend where she gets most of hers and alas, from other gardeners! I think I may go with Corralitos which BTW is not far from where I live!

I can tell if I were to hang out on this forum, I would soon be swept up into a dahlia obsession!

Thank you all again for your input.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Spare me, Kell. Hybridizing 1,364 daylilies was enough work! I just meant I grew it, sorry if it was confusing to anyone. Other photos were Dan's, as noted. Even around here many (that means the three or four involved) people get their dahlias from the others. I guess it's a more common practice than I would have thought.

#1. Here's a shot I copied from Corralitos site to show the fully grown tubers at the end of the year.
#2. What your friend can expect to receive.
#3. Fuzzy shot, sorry. This is part of the root system before those big tubers appear.

I am sure your friend will appreciate your kindness no matter which dahlia place you select.

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Swan Island Dahlias is by far the best supplier IMHO. They are the largest in the country (by their claim).They started taking orders for Spring 2013 on July 1, I believe. Their color catalog is a dahlia-lover's gift in and of itself- I've ask for and received gift certificates wrapped with the catalog and got totally lost in gardener bliss- a very welcome thing in winter! The Swan Island catalog is the biggest, as well. They guarantee the tubers, too. Swan Island was the only grower that had all my selections in stock this year. There are other good suppliers, but I've had substitution, mis-labeling and growth issues with all of them. Red Hawk has the best prices for tubers (including $1 sales!), but they never have everything I want, substitute liberally, and only have by-mail and phone contacts- plus no catalog- just a list w/description posted on their web site. I buy a lot from them b/c of the bargain-basement prices and bonus tubers, but I wouldn't present anyone with a gift cert. for them. No on-line ordering from them, either.

(Zone 9b)

I am so impressed Miss Pirl! 1,364 daylilies!!! So cool. Do you have a site with all their photos? Thanks for the info. I may order a few of those that you have pictured for myself!

Thanks so much Xaltd1 for all your input. What a great idea to send the gift certificate in a photo filled catalogue. Hopefully she would not toss it, certificate and all. LOL I know I just love looking at photos esp if I am about to indulge myself with a few purchases. I can take hours deciding in such joy.

Plant gifts are so much fun esp if you get the plant so right you are giving. Just to share, today I received a very rare cactus another Dave's Gardener out of the blue sent to me. It was one that I have coveted for several years. Well, since the first time I saw a photo of it. I am pretty sure it is not really available in the US; I have aggressively been on the hunt. This so kind man I assume took pity of my frequent drooling over his PF photos of this cactus for the last several years and he decided to give a real thrill to a stranger, me. And thrilled I am. All afternoon I have been staring at my new cactus. LOL

Anyway, I hope my friend gets to pick a few beautiful tubers of her beloved dahlias that will give her such a thrill.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

No site for my daylilies, Kell, and only a few I would have considered registering but decided I really don't need to take an ego trip. Here's one, Pirl's Pink Eye.

Taking hours to decide is what we call winter here, Kell!

How very nice of that person to gift you with the plant you love so much! It's heart-warming to know special people like that.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Here's the photo that goes with the above post - duh!

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Oh Arlene. That is so beautiful and delicate

(Zone 9b)

LOL Pirl! Your winters are longer than mine.

Well, I am still so chuffed about my new cactus. I had to go on ad nauseam to Tom about it, much more than he ever wanted to know. I think he stopped listening to me when he found out it was a gift and no Visa bill would show up. He is used to my many eBay plant purchases.

Such a pretty daylily, Pirl. Are daylilies your first true love?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Mary.

You bet, Kell. Some years they begin in December but other years it's closer to February. Can you believe I had to look up the word chuffed? Well, I'm glad you're pleased with yourself and the friend who sent the plant to you. Most men stop listening at some point.

I used to glaze over when a friend would talk about her little boys: Peter is 19 months, 2.5 weeks now and Michael is 5 months and 6 days...scream!

No, my first love was a Native American and my second love...wait, that's not what you meant!

Roses were my first love but that was when I lived 80 miles west of here - no deer. That does not stop me from buying more in the hopes I'll see them bloom. Just bought two more today and only now remembered I forgot to spray them with the minty spray I love so I'll face the weather and darkness and do the spraying right now.

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(Zone 9b)

LOL Pirl. You are so funny! That first rose has my name all over it.

I sure hope I used that word (chuff) correctly! I know you and Zuzu are tough critics when it comes to the English language. LOL

Glazed over is my husband's usual state. Oh BTW, we just came home from the BEST dinner. , Michelin starred. One we go to frequently.
Here we always get 1 1/2 glass servings of their wine pairings. I am feeling no pain. Oh, we always start with a bottle of champagne. I must say this week has been so good as far as restaurants go.

My husband is now in another room and making bird noises and my parrot is answering him and getting more and more excited. A HUGE conversation is taking place between species.

I didn't know you loved roses. I actually never loved roses but did love how in spring they go from nothing to everything so fast. Got me going. I have over 70 of them but pruning them all is now such a chore. I am thinking of having people come in and tear them all out and putting in a cactus/succulent garden which fits my lazy old age; as well as my new aesthetic.

Here is "Goats milk and honey, candy cap mushrooms, with sunchokes and yarrow kabinett, pfalz, forster mariengarten," maybe our favorite tonight. Who knew goat cream decorated with salty honey with sunchoke chips would be so good? PS the yarrow leaf was so good and so spicy; a big surprise.

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(Zone 9b)

Sadly, I did not capture a good photo of my husband. But here he is leaving the restaurant. He had just let his hair down. So hot.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

You'd love to see a clear photo of the rose but I didn't get one. I was in such a rush to get one job done and now think I did it wrong!

You used the word perfectly. Or should I say you "definately" used the word perfectly. That one always gets Zuzu and I wondering where people learned to spell...or didn't learn. The other is "Burgandy Iceburg", which should be Burgundy Iceberg but some people refuse to accept the correct spelling.

I think many men spend much of their life at home being glazed over. On the job they are required to be alert. Talking to the birds is a good hobby. When he gets tired he can just cover the cage.

At some point, many gardeners want a simpler garden and one that's easier for us to control. I've started heading that way and we will be eliminating one entire garden.

That was some menu on the link you posted. One item had alliums. Now I'll know what to do with the 400 alliums I ordered! Seriously, the food looks beautiful and must have tasted as good as your photo. Were the yarrow leaves fried and crispy? I did that with sage for some Chicken Saltimbocca last week. I love them. One restaurant serves frizzled leeks atop a beef entree and I could eat a plate of just the leeks.

Why do I think you're jesting with me regarding the final photo?

(Zone 9b)

400 alliums does not sound like simplification to me!

If you look at that photo again, you will see 3 feathered, very green leaves. Those are the yarrow leaves, au naturel. They were so spicy tasting. And those orange petals are a special variety of marigolds sans their strong odor. Every dish, even dessert, is decorated with odd leaves and flowers. They have a small garden of boxes in their alley where they grow such things.

Chicken Saltimbocca sounds so good. Beef with leeks too. I am in love with beef lately. I crave it. I recently found out I am severely anemic which must be what is making me want red meat. But iron pills are not the easiest to take.

The dish below, was potato with fermented black garlic and chicory leaves with brown butter and dried onions which were so intensely flavored. You can see what maybe are clover leaves all over it as well as a small yellow bud to the right. I should have asked what they were. This restaurant serves little meat, more seafood but mostly vegetable courses. Most dishes have very little fat. The flavors do not come from fat as in many restaurants.

PS LOL Pirl, no that is my man, hair and all though he wears it back in a ponytail 99% of the time even around the house. He has been growing it for about 2 years now.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

At least with alliums I don't go moving them around. It's different with daylilies and Japanese irises.

I did spot the yarrow leaves - I know them well from the garden. Guess I'll have to sample one some day. I'll do it when the neighbors aren't around. I do enjoy the food presentations when they include petals and I do recall some spicy nasturtiums as well as deep fried herbs.

Good luck with the anemia. My son-in-law had been a vegetarian for 20+ years and never had a problem but when he started eating chicken wings, that quickly went to beef and pork, he became anemic.

That food is very artistically arranged! I love when they do that.

Maybe I'm just jealous. I never got my hair to grow that long even as a teenager!

(Zone 9b)

His hair is longer than mine too! LOL. As he approaches old age, he is rebelling. Here he is before he began growing it long. I love it long but in a ponytail! When he has it free he looks like a caveman. LOL

Funny, I had to check which thread we were on, we seem to have an ongoing conversation that spans so many threads over time. I was hoping we were not on the BOTD one.

Tom went and got take out for a big breakfast this AM. My bird was thrilled, he loves omelets, toast and hash browns. For dinner he cooked this and that from whatever he could find in the kitchen. One course was pita pizzas. They were so good. Amazing how good pita bread is as a pizza crust.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

What a hunk!

I had the same thought: I hope this conversation isn't taking place on BOTD!

Your bird and our dog would enjoy breakfast together. No, Smitty wouldn't attack! Smitty will eat anything we give him though he's supposed to be on just his special high allergenic diet. I'll give the pita pizza a try some night. Thanks for the tip.

Here's a dahlia, unknown name, that's now in bloom. I just spotted yarrow leaves around it. Maybe today's the day for a taste test.

#2 No idea what this form of dahlia is.

#3 Blooms a long time. The name is Long Island Lil. My mom was named Lil and today's her birthday in heaven.

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(Zone 9b)

Precrisp the pita in a frying pan then top with whatever and into the oven. They really were good. I am going to get more adventuresome with toppings. Kind of fun. I might offer an array of toppings to make your own! LOL. My speed for cooking.

I will send you my bird! He needs a friend for sure. And I am sure you would be so good to him.

I love orange flowers! Are all those blooming right now? When does it get cold where you are?

Happy Birthday to Lil! Hugs to you, Arlene today!

PS Yes, my hairy hunk! LOL. Married for 36 years and still madly in love!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the tip. I'll be inventive, too, but it won't happen until we get a rainy day and I don't have dinner planned.

No thanks on the bird. He'd probably taste like chicken anyhow! Just kidding.

Yes, all are blooming right now. Today IS cold (54 now) but we should get many warm days before mid November when it can turn nasty. That's generally dahlia digging time, which is why I try not to buy more.

My mom has been gone since I turned 30 so she's gone longer than you and Tom have been married. I still miss her and her hugs so much. Thanks for the hug. It's the perfect day for it.

I wish you another 36 of joy, health and fine dining...and love, of course!

Bonners Ferry, ID(Zone 6b)

I have to agree with Xaltd1 on recommending Swan Island Dahlias. Their new 2013 catalog just came out so it's certainly not too late to order for next spring's planting. I've had good success with their tubers and my friend, who grows almost 200 dahlias each year, plants heavily with Swan Island's dahlias. She got probably 50 tubers off her "Gitts Crazy" dahlia this fall--and what a beauty that dahlia is! Swan Island is also very good about replacing a tuber that doesn't come up. I experienced this only to have to eat crow when the dahlia finally emerged--it was just a bit late.But Swan Island was understanding. I've also received gift certificates for them for several years and they make great gifts. I also keep their catalog in my guest bath in the magazine holder as my guests enjoy looking at the amazing variety of dahlias as much as I do!

Massapequa Park, NY(Zone 7a)

There is a very active new dahlia society on the Cape and perhaps a membership gift would solve all her problems. They have tuber sales in the sp-ring of varieties that grow well on the Cape and they are cheap.

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