DAHLIAS 2014 Part 1

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Ahaaa. So I am jumping the gun a little. I just received an email from Slug Shield. I bought both their little wraps for Dahlia stems and the mesh for my raised beds. Spendy as heck but reuseable. Maybe they aren't a problem down south but here they just destroy dahlias and other things. Thought I would throw it out as a New Year starter. I also buySluggo but it is so unsightly and iffy in working.


Merry Christmas to you all. Wish I could 'raise a glass' with each of you, but this will have to do.

Mary Stella

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I like the idea but the bases of dahlias can grow to look the size of small trees so do you just put on larger protectors as the dahlias grow?

The Ortho Bug Geta Plus also kills earwigs, as well as the miserable slugs, so that's what I use. The earwigs make a home in the actual flowers and they drop off when I bring in the blooms - not fun.

Merry Christmas to you, Mary. It would be fun to go state to state to share a drink but no traveling needed to do it this way...cheers!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

The wire tangles that go around the dahlia (or any other flower) stretch with the growth of the stem. I have some for this spring. I haven't used them before but worth a try. Especially around my vegies. Nothing kills the appetite for cauliflower like slugs all over it. Yechhhh

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I agree. They haven't been bothering many plants in 2013 but they were highly unappetizing years ago when I'd find them as I washed lettuce.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I reapeat -- yechhh. How could you be sure to get the slime off the vegies? It's so silly. I love escargot, but not fresh from the garden.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I just ripped off and discarded the lettuce where I found those little monsters.

No thanks. I'll take any shellfish except snails, no matter how fancy the presentation.

Silly waiter thought I wanted to share! Wrong! We each had our own platter - no snails.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

that is one I have never acquired a taste for - oysters Rockerfiller. One New Years on Mauii we went to the Hyatt Regency as guests of friends for the New Years dinner. I tried one and about spit it out. Tasted like beach stand to me. Guess, like escargo, it is an acquired taste.

Mentor, OH

Howdy, y'all. I've had a long tiring day of Christmas shopping ...... on the internet. None of this Black Friday stuff for me. Of course, the stores wanted to get a jump on each other so we had a Black Thursday this year. No real advantage since all the stores jumped at the same time. Best Buy opened at 6:00 pm Thanksgiving evening and claimed that nearly 1000 people entered the store in 15 minutes. I still can't believe all the photos I've seen in years past of people camped out in front of stores in sleeping bags at midnight waiting until stores opened the next morning. And we think people in other countries have weird ways!

I haven't seen a slug around here in ages. I think the earwigs ate them all. lol The numbers of those small brown beetles (sometimes called Brown Asian or June Beetles) seem to have decreased a lot the past two years. I think the biggest help was putting out a bug zapper light at night. I found dozens in the water tray every morning. They liked the light more than the dahlias.

Arlene, there's not much on any menu I won't eat but the only seafood I can eat is some kinds of fish. I wouldn't even think of touching clams, lobster, oysters, etc. My grandfather ate raw oysters and told me once that he bet I wouldn't eat one. I said, I'll bet you're right. And Mary, that escargot has got to go. lol

I wish everyone a "Merry Christmas". Hope I don't get in trouble for saying that as two cashiers at K-Mart told me they did. They are instructed to say Happy Holiday. The supermarket up the street now sells "holiday trees" and one nephew told me he can't wait for "winter holiday break" from school. I still say "Merry Christmas" although a stint in the local jail may be forthcoming.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

They're raw Wellfleet oysters (Wellfleet, Cape Cod) - no topping so they weren't Oysters Rockefeller but they were great. We both like the smaller ones but enjoy them all.

It's now 8 AM and the fence guys are due right now to have fun digging out the old vegetable garden posts, remove all posts and rails, pour cement and install the new black poles. Then the fencing (the strongest deer fencing) is due to be installed tomorrow. We'll see what happens. At least the minor snowfall from last night has disappeared where the guys are due to dig.

None of the Black Friday experiences for us either, Dan! There's just not anything worth those crowds of shoppers. That's aside from the fact that I'm gradually learning how to use the remote control since I watch very little TV. It is an experience to watch the crazed shoppers. You'd think the merchandise was free.

You have the beetles, Mary has the slugs, I have some slugs and more earwigs than I want.

We like fish and shellfish but we can donate our share of escargot to Mary!

It's Merry Christmas to all from us as well, Dan. I've already told store clerks that if I don't hear them return my Merry Christmas greeting that I won't shop in the store again. Amazingly they respond with what I want to hear. We do have many stands selling Christmas trees! But then, we're so far out on Long Island that we're not part of the mainstream and we can keep the familiar greetings and holidays.

If you end up in the clinker Mary and I will deliver a nice roast turkey and that squash pie you were tired of 10 days ago...or venison!

So, which of us has a dahlia list or already ordered some for 2014?

No fence workers yet.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I just finished my morning toast and that darned dog is making tiny little whimpering noises to let me know that I need to go sit in my chair so he can take possession of the footrest.

I have ordered my dahlias but will have to go look up what I ordered. Didn't go nuts. Did order a few peonies also. Very inexpensive ones. I am expecting more loses on my stored tubers so figured I would have room. Course, I have some lovely new ones courtesy Dan that I have to look up. Like having another Christmas (NOT holiday) present. So excited to see what they look like.

You all mention earwigs so often they must be fearsome creatures. At least we only have one type for each of us.

Yes, indeed. A file hidden in the turkey or pie would be there for Dan. A delivery person from the bank (notes for supervisory meeting) said happy holidays. I never put two and two together until Dan mentioned it. How sad. Merry Christmas never seemed to bother anyone before. They took it in the spirit it was intended. I bought three large gingerbread BOYS at the store yesterday for the kids across the street. The sign put on the stack of boxes by the store said Gingerbread PERSONS. Absolutely stupid. As the kids mom said, clearly they are boys. None have skirts. Or maybe we will have anatomically correct gingerbread persons next year so we know the difference. Where will it stop? You have of course heard of personhole covers instead of manhole covers?

Mentor, OH

Thanks so much for the offer of the "jailbird bird"! I am almost over the thought of the one at Thanksgiving and I'm "almost" looking forward to the one on Christmas day. I caught the turkeys on sale just before TG and bought four of them. We roast a turkey very often and I think the family likes Mom's cornbread stuffing more than the bird. I got two wild turkeys during our spring turkey hunting season. The wild ones are lean and mean with very little fat. They seem to dry out a lot during baking. So we usually fillet the breast into thin slices and deep fry it. As my dad used to say "it's so good, you can't sit still while you eat it". lol

I haven't done any dahlia shopping or looking yet. I've never been completely satisfied with the previous year's dahlias and only keep a few for the following year. I just feel a need to always see new ones. This year I was a little more pleased with them and plan on growing more of them next year. I did have a few that didn't make new tubers which I'll have to replace. I especially want Canby Centennial which I had the year before. It produced a half dozen nice tubers. I gave away four and the two I kept rotted shortly after planting. I love those frosted edges on the petals. I also plan on again having multiples of Otto's Thrill and Kelvin's FL, maybe an entire row of each. I can't understand why people consider them "too common".

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

They are both beautiful. Kelvin's FL reminds me of LaLuna except LL has varigated yellow petals; sometimes solid yellow, sometimes half and half (last year). That's how I feel about Sweet Dreams. Prolific, large (though not as big as LL or KF), with many blooms. If I get enough plants then I will fill in the remainder of my arc bed with SD. So, Iris and a peony on the ends, lilies in the back, spring bulbs in the front. Maybe some short annuals that sort of fall over the brick liner in the very front every so often.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Love the "it's so good you can't sit still while you eat it". I'll be using it! By the way, Jack removed the last tomatoes from our lone tomato grown in a compost bin and now we're down to the last three and, best of all, they taste heavenly. I don't buy the "bet you can bounce this" store tomatoes - it's fresh or nothing here.

Just disregard the "too common", which is different from common (as in "widely available" or "not rare"). Guaranteed winners is a far better term for any dahlias you love.

Someone just mentioned her best peony order of the year came from Fina Gardens:
For the peonies, Fina Gardens sent the largest, healthiest tubers I've ever seen. I'll be ordering from them from now on. They were also less expensive that some of the other nurseries, and had plants I have never heard of before.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Huh. Never heard of Fina Gardens. Will have to look them up. WE are holding with 35F, stuff melting, dark patches on the pond where it is showing the water underneath the ice. Just hope it holds through Christmas so it will be warm in Fairbanks.

I am determined to have lovely tomatoes next year. Going to keep the clear poly over the top to give them a greenhouse effect.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It's always good to have new sources, especially one that comes with rave reviews.

Determination is the basis for all success! I wish you the best.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Yeah, my head is a little flat on top from running into brick walls repeatedly. There is something to be said about knowing when doing the same thing over and over isn't going to get any better. lol

Mentor, OH

Several times a month I get an e-mail from a company called Peony's Envy. Quite the name, huh? Beautiful plants but I don't have room for anything more. We have 7 or 8 peonies along the driveway. The white one has a wonderful scent, almost rose like. I can't detect any scent from the other ones which are all the same pink color with yellow centers. My dad planted these many years ago. Next spring I will built cages instead of continuing my futile attempts at staking them. Why are ants so infatuated with peonies? I've never seen them on any other flower in such numbers.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Mary - unless you try you will never know if it works.

Here's the answer about ants and peonies, Dan:

Only because I had no more cages, I put old fencing from the ground up and over the Coral Charm peonies. Now I'll never buy more cages. I loved how it worked out and the old fencing is 99% invisible.

You can just barely spot it under this blossom.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

that is a really interesting idea. I use fences. May have to try your take on it next spring

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

This morning I spotted another piece of that kind of fencing as I was out with the guys removing the old post and rail fence, putting in the new black poles and pouring in the cement. Then it was 48 degrees but it has dropped to 37 now. They're gone and that garden is now 50 sq. ft. larger. Tomorrow they'll return to put up the deer fencing.

Mentor, OH

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my fellow dahlia aficionados. May the new year bring you and yours health, happiness and beautiful dahlias. Dan

Arlene, the "evil" roast turkey has returned. Lead me not into temptation (gluttony). lol

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Merry Christmas and a year filled with glorious blooms, Dan.

Oh, no! Try to resist or you'll be walking to Long Island (with bow and arrow, I hope) to work it off!

I was out in the dahlia garden working for three hours today (38 degrees but sunny and no wind). It's looking so good.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Ho Ho Ho from the North Pole. Well, almost. Merry Christmas to you all. Even though I am in serious envy of 38F. It has dropped to -25 up here. Time to go home to Anchorage, which we will do tomorrow.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

How nice to get North Pole greetings! Thank you, Mary.

Tomorrow we'll be getting 44 degrees and I'll be in the garden. It must be Santa's gift because I've been such a good girl in 2013...ho, ho, ho.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)


(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I forgot I started this one. Perhaps we should move to here? I will post a FROM note so we don't lose anyone.

We came from here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1281077/

This message was edited Jan 31, 2014 2:07 PM

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I have a total of 95 tubers including the ones from Dan. I figure that maybe maybe if I am lucky I might get plants from a third of those.

I visited my favorite greenhouse. A fellow there who runs their perennials and just about everything else was there so I pulled up a stool and chatted with him as I like to do each year. I have put my begonias in dirt and wanted to check on the starting date for peppers and tomatoes. We got to talking about dahlias and this is what he said:

He keeps the smaller ones in their pots and under a bench in the greenhouse. Cool there. He has clumps going into winter. If he does dig them he just knocks off excess dirt, lets them dry mostly but leaves some dirt with a titch of moisture. Then he puts them in sand. Yup, Sand. He says they do just fine. So a new theory. And one that I will try. I may even put the smaller clumps in pots with dirt then into the crawl space. He said the temp sounded okay @ between 50 and 55. And pitch dark. They start geranium cuttings in December and have wonderful plants now about 5" tall. He said they would take more cuttings from those also.

Tomatoes and peppers he starts at beginning of March. Begonias end of February. Course he has a huge quansut shaped greenhouse - huge. And so there is more moisture especially as they begin watering and all kinds of light. They will move their geraniums in handing plastic baskets up to lines run over the tables. Just a few feet from the clear roof. Perfect light. Totally 360 degrees.

Me again: I had an electrician come out and look at my grow racks. Also the breakers in the house that keep blowing when I light up the garage greenhouse. I would estimate $1000 to update the ballists and flourescents in the racks, add two breakers to the main fuse box, install some quad boxes in the ceiling so I am not stringing extension cords all over the garage in search of a plug in that won't blow half the house. Well worth it and I will pay for it since DH will probably have a heart attack at the price. That's okay. It's my hobby and he does like the flowers and is very proud of the compliments each summer from friends and neighbors.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

For your viewing enjoyment

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Mentor, OH

I'll have you know that we had sunshine today! Not official, but I'm guessing it lasted between 30 and 45 seconds. Seriously. Forecast is saying mid-40's tomorrow with rain. That will feel like summer. Next week back into the icebox although low 20's doesn't sound bad anymore. I'm hoping to be in this photo very soon.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Where is that? Looks like here.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Loved the cartoon, Mary! You've had a much nicer winter than most of the US.

It is better to pay the price and have the work done right so you won't be living with all the cords.

Sand is an interesting idea for storage. I was religious with washing the first dozen and then got to the shaking off of most soil and storing in peat moss, figuring the retained soil would keep the tubers moist. I fell down on the job with air flow.

We're having enough sunshine and the coleus cuttings I took three weeks ago are potted and will need cutting again by mid February.

I was out today to feed the birds (not the deer!) and it felt heavenly at 40. That shows how desperate we are!

The water looks good, Dan, and reminds me of looking across Long Island sound to the CT shoreline.

Mentor, OH

That is Pymatuning Lake. It's on the Ohio/Pa. border. One of my winter playgrounds. The ice was over a foot thick at that time and I've been told it's at least that thick now.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

No ice fishing there now?

"Long Island Sound" is so much easier to say than Pymatuning Lake. We can just call it Dan's Lake.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

oh my yes...

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Dan - how do you tune a Pyma?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Arlene, you have too much time on your hands?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

How did you guess? It keeps me away from looking for more dahlias.

Mentor, OH

How do you tune a Pyma? Very carefully.

There is some fishing going on but it's been too cold for me. I know that sounds weird but out in the open you're catching the brunt of the wind and the augered holes freeze over as fast as you can re-clean them out, unless the temps are above freezing. I prefer low-mid 40's. I once ice fished in March in 70 degree weather and full sun. The sun's glare off the ice was unbearable. I got the worst sunburn of my life. I fished part of the day in a short sleeved shirt just so I could say I did. lol

Pymatuning is supposedly the Indian term for "home of the man with the crooked mouth." I'm not sure if "crooked mouth" meant overbite or liar. Fishermen have been known to exaggerate. All but me.

Arlene, I'm getting an order started for Pleasant Valley Dahlias. Do you need another web address? It doesn't hurt to "only look." lol

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I told Jack you'd say, "very carefully" - LOL

A guy in Walmart yesterday was wearing shorts. I guess 40 felt good to him. One February, on a Maine vacation, scores of guys were wearing shorts. Must have felt like July to them!

The sun's glare on either ice or snow (or the water across the street) is horrible on the eyes. I keep the blinds shut until later in the day.

Maybe the meaning of Pymatuning is "man wearing shirt while ice fishing at 40 degrees".

Okay, I'll meet you at Pleasant Valley but we can't stay long or people will talk!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

There and back again. I'm addicted to photos and they didn't show any so I'm back already.

I did get a big chuckle out of the notation on one photo of an award winning glad:

"Roger Adams Sr. with a hand on Grand Champion Lady Lucille"

I'm LOLing off to sleep now.

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