Dahlias 2014 Part 4

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Here is our new thread; we came from http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1366832/

This message was edited Aug 5, 2014 8:50 AM

Mentor, OH

Phew!! Finished fertilizing 139 dahlias and probably 10 more in pots just as a thunder boomer let loose. The forecast was calling for storms around 1:00 pm. This one hit about 12:30 so I'll give the devils their dues when they're right since I complain when they're wrong. I was on dahlia #138 when I felt the first sprinkle and was finished and standing on the porch 30 seconds later, no more than 5 seconds before the rain came down in buckets. Talk about good timing! Doesn't usually work out that way for me.

Mary, I agree. That small dahlia does look like like a decorated cupcake. That one is perfect! All of them are winners. I received a freebie this spring called Orange Globe. The photos I've seen show a good sized orange ball-type dahlia. Your first photo reminded me of it. Forgot I even had it.

Arlene, as far as I can tell I've never had a deer take a single bite of my dahlias. Wish I could say the same for the other plants.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Dan when your dahlias really take off we should be in for a stupendous show which I will enjoy immensely. 139!! How many are duplicates do you think? I have 73 plants but only 43 different types. At least according to the database and spreadsheet. I don't think I would have room for 138 dahlias unless I uprooted some stuff, which I am seriously considering in the kidney bed. They have done so well there that some of the other stuff in there that is less than stunning despite being perennials must go. I can always 'salt' annuals amongst the dahlias to provide some color until they are ready so take off. Then is is only a matter of getting the shorties in front, which is no always possible. I have some that are supposed to be 60" that are barely 20. If they could remain in the ground like lilies, then perhaps they would get robust enough to attain that height.

The rain will wash that fertilizer right down to the roots just in time.

Mentor, OH

Mary, I forgot to add that I'm really glad your vital signs are good. Still, don't get too carried away working in the garden and tiring yourself out. Dahlias are pretty good about taking care of themselves. Just looking at them is very therapeutic . I never understood why more people don't grow them. As I was tying up some plants yesterday, a lady stopped along the street and told me how much she enjoyed looking at my dahlias every year. I asked if she grew any and she said they were too much work. I've heard that more than a few times. lol

Mentor, OH

I honestly don't know how many different kinds I have. I have quite a few multiples. I'm guessing 60-70 different ones. I'm often asked why I don't plant something different instead of so many dahlias. I always tell them that every other plant I might grow would leave one less spot for a dahlia. Seriously, to my way of thinking dahlias are the perfect plant. So many forms, sizes and colors and I get at least three months or more of blooms. If your tubers survive storage you could probably triple your number of plants every year if you wanted to. My other plants don't give me the same "bang for my buck." The peonies usually bloom a week and a half. Same thing for the lilies, unless the deer get to them. The cushion mums don't bloom until late summer/early fall. A few others are here today and gone tomorrow. I just can't get excited about growing anything but dahlias.

Even though I'm only using 2/3 of my former vegetable for dahlias, I will definitely cut back on the numbers next year. Maybe. lol

Mentor, OH

Oops. I meant, former vegetable GARDEN.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

You lucked out with the rain right after fertilizing, Dan!

So many people find raising one tomato to be an all consuming past time that I'm no longer shocked, Dan. How could they cope with raising over a thousand roses and 250 clematises like Zuzu, the Rose Queen? They couldn't take care of one!

On the flip side of the coin, I'd rather be smeared with fish oil and be tied down in the woods for the bears to devour than sit and watch daytime TV for the rest of my life. It's nice to go to sleep being tired from doing something rather than to be exhausted from TV.

Mary - I fully agree about the short bloom cycles on so many plants. At least with the many varieties of lilies a person can have them from mid June almost to August. My deer won't allow it and neither do the rabbits but I still keep trying.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Reminds me of the little red hen. Everyone wants to (and does enjoy) a lovely flower garden but so many find it too much work. Guess that's okay. To each their own and I don't begrudge them the enjoyment of mine.

I have to agree about the 'bang for the buck' on dahlias. I love my peonies but they are so fleeting. Lilies last longer and the bloom period here is pretty long with a variety of types. But dahlias have it all. Including of course a steeper labor curve than any of the others. I try to get things that bloom from late April through the end of September. I love mums but they just take too long to bloom and while I have had huge bushes with a gazillion buds they never quite make it to full bloom. I have dug up clumps and sent them south.

I have a little tiny hillock by my pond falls that I will be digging up this fall in prep for dahlias next spring. I will leave some stuff that blooms in spring then dies down but I think that little hillock in full sun would produce gorgeous shorter dahlias. I don't think that the taller ones would look so good there. Sigh. Already planning for next year after another long winter.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

The part I don't like is when someone points me out and says something stupid about gardening. The next door neighbor's daughter was exclaiming about our gardens a week ago and her mother said, "Yeah, she likes to do that". Not that I enjoy gardening but I "like to do that". I'll have to say that about her paintings sometime.

Sounds like a good use for your spot, Mary. I love the planning. It gets me through winter even when I make a mess of my plans.

I love that I can grow/buy dahlias that bloom from May to mid November. Last year I had these small border type dahlias blooming from early May through to November but their tubers froze in the garage over winter.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I agree. "Yeah she likes to do that" doesn't sound like a compliment.

I love your border/gallery (Dan can correct me) dahlias. I am getting more of those as I see their size and can count on not having a 5' dahlia in the front of a bed falling into the sidewalk or lawn. D just loves that when he is trying to mow.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Mary - I never kept the name tag on the dahlia but I'll get it next year and let you know. It's not as tall as the pelargonium/geranium in the photo! I took the photo below the day I bought them, 5/4/13, and you can just about see the plant tags in the photo. I'm guessing the plant is about 5" tall.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

My heavens. They are tiny. Must be those gallery types that Dan was talking about. Shorter than borders.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Gallery - 12" to 24" https://store.brentandbeckysbulbs.com/summer/productview/?sku=69-22

Border - 18" to 20" http://www.brecks.com/product/Red-Carpet-Border-Dahlia

Itsy Bitsy - 12" to 18" http://www.dahlias.com/itsybitsycollection-item785.aspx

Low growing - 2.5' or less http://www.cgdahlias.com/low_growing_dahlias.html

Mixed Unwin Dwarf Dahlias - 24"

You might want to try Google for "dalina", "dahlietta".

Here's one dahlietta I found: http://www.simplybeautifulgardens.com/plant_info.aspx?phid=021701289000259 Height is 8 to 10".

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I bought some Dahlietta (or something like that ) last year. They were pretty much collerette types and just adorable. About 5-6" tall. but they had been so pumped up with fertilizer that they just kept producing more and more bush and croaked. Lots of buds, fewer flowers. I tried to keep nipping them of the new growth but it didn't work. They were awfully expensive also. Can't get tubers, at least not here. I think they are propagated from cuttings only.

Quite a bit of research you did. Thanks. Will follow the URLs

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Maybe I'll look to see if I kept the label somewhere in my work area but I doubt it. That's provided I remember when I get there!

I was sure I'd find the name or what the height and size of the dahlia is called but I failed.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I keep trying to get my coworker to get some dahlias and she said they're way too much work....LOL I was telling her all winter the things I needed to do to keep them alive and she thought I was crazy for doing all that work. I was looking at a dahlia website the other day and another coworker saw it on my screen and said he liked the flower. I thought to myself that if he only knew, he'd never want one as he hates yard work. In our gardening circle in the Mid-Atlantic Forum, I'm not sure anyone grows dahlias but me. At least I haven't seen them post any pictures.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

It is interesting that such a young man as yourself is willing to do the work necessary to grow dahlias. But we (those few of us here on this thread) are certainly happy you are. Having others to chat with about our 'obsession' and share pictures with just adds to the enjoyment. And to the extent we can help you be successful, we are all for your efforts. I would think that Dan in Ohio would be most helpful being closer to your area. Course that could be my ignorance in the zones and geography 'outside.'

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Some people only see the work while others see the rewards. Most of the neighbors here never get their hands dirty. They'd rather ignore a weed than pluck it out.

Only two of us in this area of 45 homes have gardens. A few have their annual display of red and white begonias but that's the limit they'll go.

We cross posted, Mary. Jeff, I certainly welcome you and I know Mary and Dan do. I do wonder where the other dahlia lovers hang out. I haven't seen them anywhere!

This message was edited Aug 6, 2014 9:56 AM

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Makes you wonder. I know that flower gardening and vegetable gardening is not a lost 'art' by the postings here but does it seem like DG is getting slower? Do you think maybe they are migrating to ATP which is pretty busy? Haven't seen a dahlia forum though. Must be a thread contained within a forum by a different name.

Anyway, I am so grateful for you and Dan, and of course now Jeff. It would be pretty lonely up here without you guys to chat with about dahlias et.al. And of course deer and iris borers. And the woes of winter storage. lol.

I believe I mentioned that I have developed a gardener next door over the last several years. She was interested and would walk over and comment (compliment) on my flowers. She has mostly shade and indirect sun but I have had many plants that have done well transplanted to her beds, plus what she has gotten on sale at Lowes. Her budget is fairly small and I have been so happy to dig up plants for her. She has really worked at it converting mossy grassy areas to lovely beds. I am sad that after renting for years she will be leaving. She had a friend come from the 'valley' (Palmer, Wasilla) to dig plants to move to her friend's garden which is also shade. The landlords haven't been very appreciative of all her hard work to convert weed beds and scraggly grass to a wonderland of flowers. Even had her dig up on bed along the house as they had water problems in the basement and felt that watering the flowers there might be contributing. So she is determined to put the ground back to its original state. I agree the odds that anyone moving in probably won't take care of her hard work, and I know she and the landlord have not 'gotten on'. Seems a shame though. I told her when she and her husband find a place of their own she is always welcome to come get starts for a new bed. Perhaps her her new home will have spots for full sun plants and then I can share much more. I will miss her.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

The woes of winter storage almost ended it for me. If it weren't for all our chatter I'd probably never have continued with dahlias. Now they'll go in the basement (I still hate the steps) and they'll survive on the basement floor with a spritz of water in each bag every month.

It's absolutely rotten that your neighbor will be moving so let's hope you get nice neighbors even if they don't garden, which would be a pity. Keep in touch with the neighbor and someday she may return. In any event, she won't forget how nicely you shared your plants with her.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Oh she will come 'into Anchorage' from time to time I am sure. And odds of meeting the new neighbor are sort of low. I don't go out much except to my garden and their apartment is on the other side of the duplex so no reason for them to be on this side. That's okay. Who knows. They may see the 'bones' of the old garden of Carol's and decide to develop it. Then I could start all over with a new protogee. (yuk, you know what I mean.)

Don't you dare give up on Dahlias. You would be so very sorely missed. Even without flowers you would have to still contribute your usual pithy observations. lol. They do make me laugh so.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Thanks you guys! I appreciate all the knowledge I am able to absorb from you all. I think Dan and I are in the same hardiness zone but still different since he has lake Erie affecting his weather. When I worked over the summer of '11 at a nursery part time, the top priority for people coming in was 'low maintenance'. People literally want to buy a shrub and never ever have to trim, feed, or water it. I say, just plant a fake and they'll get along fine. I'm not much of an artist but I do enjoy creating (or at least attempting) to create beauty. Of course a little work needs to go into that as well though. Dahlias are hard hitting mid summer to frost plants that have tons of value in the garden. It would be hard not to have some IMO.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Agreed. I have several retirees around me and the only exercise I can see is mowing their lawns. One said he would cut down everything his wife put in (bushes and flowers) and pave the whole thing under if it were up to him. Funny, sort of. Course looking at his relative size I guess I can understand it. One fellow even pays to have his tiny lawn mowed for him. Claims he has a bad back. Guess I shouldn't be judgemental. Sure doesn't stop his jaws from working though. lol

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

If the new neighbors do spot the bones of the old garden and attempt to recreate it won't they just have to dig it all up when they leave?

I have no intentions of giving up but cutting back is a very strong possibility.

You're so right, Jeff. People who actually move enough to go to a nursery they want low maintenance. Around here they want, mostly, NO maintenance and the landscapers do the work, not the homeowners. I totally agree about telling those people to plant plastic shrubs or use boulders.

About 8 or 10 years ago my daughter called and said she had so few blooms after the daylilies and lilies were gone and asked what she could use. I told her about dahlias and she and her husband grow them, not in the amounts some of us have but she still has blooms well into November.

I do enjoy foliage such as coleus, variegated irises and shrubs but flowers make me feel good inside.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

We really did cross post again, Mary. I wanted to reply immediately but had to get dressed, do makeup, etc. since we're going out for awhile this afternoon.

Our neighbors are lovely people, just not gardeners. For them gardening is cutting back the unruly tall ornamental grasses in November. Not much more than that.

One service guy was leaving our home when he stopped on the front steps, turned to us and said, "You live in a park". The natural beauty is wonderful.

Another guy looked at the gardens (just through the windows) and said if this was his he'd use Round Up on everything and pay someone to mow while he played golf. To each his/her own!

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Lol...boulders...I didn't think of that one! I can't believe someone would want to pave their entire yard to avoid maintenance. They'd like living where my parents live then because some people just have a cactus or two and the rest of the yard has stones that cover it. When my parents moved in, they had a handful of plants that were installed from the builder and the rest was stone. Since then, they've added a TON of new plants and their place looks great but other people have done nothing. They live SE of Phoenix AZ.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Oh my, Roundup on everything? That's harsh! Some people say that our yard is an extension of Longwood Gardens arboretum...LOL

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Nice compliment, Jeff! I'm sure you'll only make it even more beautiful.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I always smile bashfully and say that it's not that great. An artist is always super critical of their own work. I can't wait until my trees mature, than it will be really something. There will be so much more shade in the yard and it will be fun to experiment with different ground covers and shade lovers. I have a 1/4 acre and planted 11 trees on it in addition to our mature blue spruce. It should look pretty nice when it all fills in. I plan on limbing the trees up so there will be 'bright' shade rather than dense had and a mud pit.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Snow Country is not over 9", my biggest and beautiful. The other picture is taken from the family room window so you can see the Kidney (left) Arc (right) and Sidewalk (immediate front).

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Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I love that kidney arc! Very graceful :)

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Good heavens. My brain is not connected to my hands I meant to write that Snow Country was a little over 9".

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It will all be beautiful, Jeff, and you're right about gardeners being the most critical of what they've done. We see what we should have done differently but others get to enjoy the beauty.

Such wonderful gardens and designs, Mary! I'd be permanently seated at that window unless I was working in the gardens. Snow Country is grand and 9" is something to be applauded.

Miracles do happen and I did find the plant sticks for the dahlias pictured above. They are "Dahlietta", Alexis, and the tag says they grow 8 to 10".

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Great. Amazing you found the sticks.

I do sometimes go to the window and just look. Even when it is raining. Same with the bedroom window in the back where I can see my pond and even the fish in the pond just swimming around or soaking up sun.

It looks like a jungle out back. A hodge-podge with little order. I keep trying to impose my OCD compulsion for things to look orderly and 'planned' but it never seems to work out. Oh, lots of plants, trees, bushes and flowers. And some areas are more orderly than others but I have already moved half a dozen plants: lilies, agastache, delphiniums, etc to places to fill in holes where height is missing, or to remove where height or crowding is not wanted. But somehow nature seems to do what it wants. This bush (I have two from a DG friend) has just gone outrageously nutso. Hasn't stopped putting out limbs and blooms all summer. It has to be moved but I have no clue where. This is the last pic I took 7-27. It is much bigger now and about 24x24".

Frankly I am not sure what it is even. A hardy hibiscus?? Evening Primrose??

This message was edited Aug 6, 2014 5:29 PM

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It looks like Evening Primrose to me.

We have many windows and they all have garden views. I love all the views and take photos often.

Even looking out the laundry room window, through the screen and in the rain, is pleasing to me. I don't see the point in having windows without a view of gardens.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Oh I love that picture. More because of the shininess of the scene due to rain. And it is really pleasing to the eyes and brain. It looks composed and wonderfully a unit. I may have too many different things in my garden. I so wanted to grow anything that would grow that I didn't pay attention to symmetry or cohesion. Like I said, a jungle. And me the sole inhabitant. lol

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Mary. We've had many changes in the Japanese iris garden that's the focus of that shot and it was a jungle at one time. Then I decided to go with mainly the JI's along with the shrubs at the window of the master bedroom - rhodies and azaleas.

The rose garden is below the laundry room view and to the left. My view of it is mainly from the front door and the master bedroom. It's even to the left of what can be seen here but I love the view anyhow! Here's the view on a nasty January day!

The third photo shows the cacophony in what is now the JI garden with the lupine, foxglove, sedum, columbine, daylilies, a few JI's, lilies, hosta, tall bearded irises and the shrubs at a much younger age! Talk about a jungle!

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Oh my. You do get dumped on during winter. I am impressed. Also, your idea of a 'jungle' is awfully tidy and organized. Each flower and plant at the right height and so tidy. I may just go through mine with a shovel and ax next year to beat it into submission. When you mind fights with what your eyes see to achieve order then something is wrong. It should flow naturally and comfortably like yours do. How about a trip to Alaska to whip my jungle into shape??

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

You want to see a junge, this is my famous stump corner, taken over by sweet potato vine. My poor flamingos, all they can say is HELP

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Okay. You got me. Now we are talking jungle. Do flamingos live in jungles?? I thought they lived on Miami Beach?? No? :)

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