Dahlias: Looking forward to spring - Part I

Mentor, OH

Good news! I finished dividing the last of the tubers. These look much better than the first ones. My fingers will be crossed for the next few months. Come on spring!
The bad news! I also tried to divide my hand. I made a slip with the hobby knife and cut a nasty gash just below my thumb. Lots of blood. I know I should have gone to the ER and had it stitched. I may go tomorrow if I get enough nerve to look at it. I was 30 minutes away from being done. After a little stomach sickness from looking at it, I wrapped it in gauze and taped it together. Then I finished my dividing. Beware! Those razor knives are razor sharp. lol The crazy thing is I was cutting through a hard part of the stem trying to get a tuber that probably won't survive storage anyway. It's not like I needed one more.

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Sorry to hear that Dan. I hope that everybody else can learn from your experience, so that we don't all do it. And yes, you need to get it stitched, ASAP. There is a window of time in which it can be done. After that you're stuck with however the wound/scar tissue shapes itself.

On the other hand, I just heard from a young man who set his own broken arm while on a solo overnight hike. Yikes!

Please take care of yourself.

The image of raked piles of leaves on top of snow is pretty entertaining, although I know yours aren't raked. But I picture kids (of all ages) tobogganing down a hill, sliding off the front edge of their sleds to land in piles of leaves.

Thank you Arlene

Mary I look forward to seeing what you find out about the moisture issue.

I did get my dahlias roofed with a tarp, although none of the stalks have broken or blackened yet. But who knows what will happen whilst I'm away painting doors.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Dan - dahlias shouldn't need labeling to tell you they're hazardous to your health. Go to the ER and let them do their job. Now you know why I fear trying to split the stem in four, even three, would you believe two? I did try yesterday, but not by using a blade like you used, and didn't make any progress but I'll try again as I dig each dahlia on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (our November heatwave).

Enjoy the work, Turtles. I'm sure your daughter will appreciate it.

Dan - didn't you hear me? Why are you sitting there reading this? Get thee to a hospital. You don't need an infection.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Hurray! Corralitos is open again and taking orders for 2015!


(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I third it. Turtles is right. You only have so long until they won't stitch it closed, just butterfly it and then it takes three times as long to heal. Plus you will have a lovely scar. Very macho!!

Arlene, you are a BAD BAD influence. I cranked up $44 in dahlias before I brought it to a screaming halt. And I don't have much luck with getting tubers from CG's plants. I guess I will just dig them and pot them up and try to get them to overwinter that way. One plant (a 2015 newby) was $18. Ridiculous I know. but I couldn't resist.

You enabler you.....

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

1 Camano Pet $9.00
1 Clearview Louise $8.00
1 Dark Sider - ADS Medal Winner $18.00
1 Irish Pinwheel $9.00

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

We do share good taste, Mary. I also went with Clearview Louise and Irish Pinwheel. Love those colors. Now I'll have to review Camano Pet. I saw Dark Sider but have enough dark ones with Paul Smith and Robert Too.

I also love Summer Beauty, Pale Tiger, Clearview Lilly and my old favorite, Blown Dry.

Just saw Camano Pet and it had been on my list until I chickened out on all I had listed.

Hope Dan is in ER now.

For those of us who wear pierced earrings (probably not Dan or Jeff) - if a young child ever pulls on the earring and rips it through your earlobe - get to the ER immediately. Otherwise you'll face plastic surgery to have your ear lobe looking as it should.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Ouch. I have had pierced ears for around 50 years thought seldom wear them any more. and then usually posts not wires. But thanks for the heads up.

Clearview Lily looks like it has the 'eyeliner' effect also. Yup, love all those you listed.

Thinking of Dan's accident just makes me cringe. Yewww. I was trying to glue some milkglass together one time and was pressing each side together when they slipped and one of the sides sliced through the side of my middle finger. I went in to have it stitched. I think the shot hurt worse than the accident or the sowing. Still have funny nerve feelings there.

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Me too, on the cringing. And I have had many knife accidents, though I try to be present and careful. Now I am even more afraid.

I'm thinking it's probably a very very good thing that my bank balance is at zero, right now. Because Arlene is not the only enabler. Mary.. Lol. So I can just look and dream. Or maybe drool..

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

The earring problem happened to a co-worker, not to me.

I hope Dan got medical attention. He wouldn't want it to impede him with future dahlia dividing.

Turtles - I type up the orders but don't send them in immediately. I do copy the order so I'll have it for future reference just in case my cart is emptied.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

You're smart Arlene. I am operating purely on impulse. ouch. I will have as many on order as I do in storage. uh-oh

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

A few years ago I bought 135 lilies during the fall and winter. Spring arrived and so did the lilies. I was much too busy and I promised myself I'd never make that mistake again. I'd rather lose out on something I really want rather than be overwhelmed.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

This is from AtP. Mandolls wants to trade tubers


(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

"...lead us not into temptation..."

Mentor, OH

I'm back. I appreciate the advice. And you're right. I should have gone to the ER last night. I waited until this morning and the thought of infection scared me. My fear of infection took priority over my fear of needles. The cut measured 4 cm (a little over an inch and a half) and was pretty deep. The doctor took a look and said, "Yeah, that's definitely a stitcher." She said she didn't want to stitch it too tightly, so she only used three stitches. I follow up in two days and the stitches come out in ten days. I truly appreciate everyone's concern. First thing I did when I got home was to go on-line and order one of those steel mesh gloves that are used when filleting fish. Too late this time but at least I'll have it for later. Maybe this is why you're always told to cut away from yourself and not toward. Very sound advice.

Mentor, OH

Arlene. I just read your post about the torn earlobe and it reminded me of something from about 10 years ago. I had gone to a plastic surgeon to have the tip 1/2" of my thumb sewed back on. It was an industrial accident. On one of the follow-ups the surgeon was telling me how he hated to see people with multiple body piercings. He showed me a photo of a man who had what appeared to be a dozen piercings around the outer edge of his ear. After a while the entire outside edge of his ear broke off and was hanging down past his earlobe. One of the most sickening sights I've ever seen. He told me the problem was that part of the ear was nothing but cartilage so no regeneration was possible. I can't remember how he fused the thing back together. Maybe Super Glue. lol

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Oh my. I will be sure to pass that on to my daughter. I used to have four piercings in my ears from lobe to up around top. Let them all heal but the two in the lobe. Glad now.

I am so glad you sent to the doctor Dan. I suspect she would have thrown in more stitches had you gone immediately but three is better than a butterfly bandaid.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

The thought of infection is what scared me, Dan. I'm relieved that you did go, got stitched and ordered that glove for the future.

Only my ears are pierced - one per ear. We had to stop going to a favorite restaurant because the waitress had her tongue, lips and nose pierced. It's gross to us.

Eek! And people talk about what women do to their bodies!?

I did get to work outside for three hours today (at 51 degrees) but it was saving lilies, potting a daylily, potting a JI that has a clematis growing through it and then cut back JI's for hours until I thought I might be frozen in place (at 41 but very breezy). Good weather coming after the return of 30 degrees tomorrow.

Mentor, OH

A few years ago I went in a local hardware store. They had a gorgeous young cashier I had never seen before. When I went through the check out line, I had to ask her to repeat everything she said several times. I thought maybe she was handicapped and I'm sure she thought I was deaf. I looked a little closer and saw that she had a round tongue stud about the diameter of a nickel. I don't know how she could stand having that thing in her mouth. I'm certainly not one to tell anyone else how to dress or decorate their body. But if I was the owner of that store I would never allow something like that. As my employee, you are representing me and my business and this is not acceptable.

The tubers are bagged, dusted and stored in the attic. HALLELUJAH!!!! I can't wait to do this all over again next fall. lol

I didn't see very many eyes on the tubers when I divided. Maybe that partly due to the fact I didn't cut the stalks and wait a week to dig. As I've mentioned before, I really don't look for eyes unless they happen to be prominent. As long as a tuber looks healthy and plump and I can get a decent size piece of the collar, it goes into the bag. It's always interesting to see how many will eye-up the following spring.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

As awful as it might be for the girl to have that stud in her tongue, can you imagine being the "artist" who gets to pierce tongues and other body parts?

I agree with you - totally unacceptable.

If you're feeling in need of working on more dahlias you can come over and dig here.

I think eyes would need neon flashing lights for me to spot them.

Today I went shopping and was looking for socks. I saw many packages that had "Action Socks" on the labeling. I watched them for a good minute and they didn't do a thing so I didn't buy them.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I can always count on you Arlene. It has been a bit dreary around here lately so I got a good laugh out of your last sentence. Thanks

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

The other thing I saw that stunned me was mascara and the color was labeled "very black". Excuse me? What alternative could there be...light black, medium black, sort of black??? I know there are other colors but that one confounded me. Almost as good as "very unique". I can see Sister Mary Rosalita glaring and wondering where she failed.

Mentor, OH

I worked with a guy who had his own tattoo studio which he operated part time. He was located in an area that was very popular among bikers. He told me a story about two bikers and a girl coming in one day for tattoos. Serious amounts of alcohol were involved. Each was apparently trying to "out-tough" the other to impress the girl. The first chose to have a tattoo put inside his lip. The second guy, not to be out done, asked for a tattoo (yellow rose of Texas, iirc) on a very sensitive part of (ahem, cough, cough) his male anatomy. Norm agreed to do it and said the first time he hit him with the needle the guy's eyes rolled back in his head and he passed out for 15 minutes. I told Norm, "Remind me to never shake hands with you." Norm is the kind of guy who can entertain you for hours with his crazy stories. He had a lot of photos of his work. Fortunately, none of the last one I mentioned. Great artist but just not my thing.

Thanks for the offer, Arlene. I think I've had enough of the dahlias for a while. My cousin just mentioned that with the snow cover I might still find a lot of unfrozen tubers to dig. NOT!!

Those action socks have to be wound up with a key. Some operate with batteries. lol

Mentor, OH

One of my uncles was telling once about a guy who had a hot Camaro. I couldn't think of who he was talking about. I asked him what color the car was and he said," Dark black." Oh yeah, that guy! lol

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Getting my ears pierced was not painful but as far as I'll go with any needle work that isn't done by a qualified physician. I am chicken. Not that I want two dahlias tattooed on sensitive areas of my body!

The inside of the lip is bad enough but the other guy was certifiable!

We're due for 60 on Sunday...but with rain. That will be a first for me - digging dahlias as the rain washes them for me (upside down, of course).

The socks remained in the sock aisle.

Dark black is nothing like very black! I thought you'd know that.

At the store I picked up paint samples (just the color swatches) for purples, lavenders, gold, peach and wine colors so I can play with color echoes for a few months. If I behave I may work my way up to scissors.

Mentor, OH

The guy was originally from Texas, which I suppose is why he chose the yellow rose. He told Norm, "I'm so tough, there's no way you can hurt me." Yeah. Okay! I'm sure that Jack Daniels was doing the talking.

Chevrolet used to offer cars in a couple "shades" of black. I remember one was called Tuxedo Black. I can't remember the other. I couldn't see a dime's worth of difference in the two. To me, black is black.

I remember one of the dahlia vendors selling very sharp pointed scissors like they used to divide the tubers. I'm going to search and see if I can find them. I bought two pair at Home Depot last week. They call them Floral Snips. They were about $11 each and are made by Fiskars. They worked great for a short time and then seemed dull. I might be able to sharpen them. I'm afraid I may develop a phobia about using the hobby knife again. lol

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I think I mentioned that reputable shops here won't touch a person is they smell or suspect alcohol has been imbibed prior to arriving at the shop. I would think the owner would be concerned with being sued by someone claiming they were non compos mentis (all the species of madness, whether it arise from, 1, idiocy; 2, sickness 3, lunacy or 4, drunkenness. - which about covers it.) and never should have been tattooed.

Wyoming, MN

Just supposing I were to purchase "Action Socks" would I need to lock them in their drawer,especially at night?
Arlene you made my day thanks!

Wyoming, MN

I received an email from SI telling about dahlia storage. It said that the eyes are really only prominent for a few days after digging. I guess after that they close them and go to sleep for the winter?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'm thinking about that rose in bloom and then when the bloom is over. I could get silly with that vision.

Precisely! I've seen dirty black but other than that black is black.

I do recall seeing that on a dahlia site, Dan, and I do have two pair of the Fiskars but they didn't cut through the stems for me. Mine may need sharpening as well but I'd rather just buy new because they charge so much to have them sharpened (our guy is a thief).

Mary - it's a good idea and yet the morning after probably brings much misery to those who wish they hadn't gone along with buddies and the idea of tattoos.

Gary - careful where you put those socks and lock them up before they take off on you!

No idea on that one, Gary. I am obviously not meant to see any eyes.

One tuber did break off one stem and it appears to have a little chunk of stem, possibly an eye. Time will tell.

How I wish I could sleep through winter, save up all the energy from all that sleeping, and wake to garden from March through June non-stop with only the aid of outdoor lights.

Mentor, OH

Arlene, Lobaugh's Dahlias sell Zenport garden scissors. They were $15.00 but there was no mention of shipping charges. There is a video on Youtube with a guy who calls himself Lance the dahlia guy. He is dividing tubers with scissors that look like the Zenport ones. At least they have one red and one white handle. I can't believe the ease in which he cuts off the tubers. They seem extremely sharp. I went on Amazon and ordered them for around $15 including s&h. I might even have to go back out and dig more tubers so I can try the scissors out.

I always got a kick out of the t.v. commercial (can't remember the product) where the guy goes into a tattoo studio to have his girlfriend's name, Donna, tattooed on his arm. He runs short of money and only has enough to get "Don" tattooed. Oops! Always get an estimate first. lol

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'll give it a look. Thanks, Dan.

How funny!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Just ordered my Zenport scissors through Amazon. Thanks, Dan! You're a gem.

I paid $20.80.

Mentor, OH

Did you order the 8" ones with the red and white handles? There were only four reviews but one caught my eye. It said "one of the best tools ever for dividing dahlia tubers - strong enough to cut through dried stems ... ." We shall see.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

8" Zenport ZX 104 Deluxe. I hope that's the right one.

I did find Lance and had seen him before but now my sound doesn't work so I may go to the library tomorrow if I can't go to the garden. It should warm up by Sunday and stay warm for a few days.

Mentor, OH

That's the same ones I ordered. Let's hope they do the job. Poochella mentioned on here a couple times that one of her favorite tools for dividing was a fruit secateur. I had no idea what that was. (neither does spellcheck. lol) They appear to be pruning shears. I assume they had a very thin blade to get into the tight spots but all I've seen look much too bulky for that. Lee Valley Tools has quite a few but it's hard to tell what they really look like by just a picture.

Time to hit the shower. I'm supposed to go back to the ER tomorrow to have my stitches checked. I had planned to go early but I may delay that a little. We have an advisory for freezing rain tonight and early tomorrow before turning to just rain. That's worse than driving in the snow.

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

Wow You guys have been busy here. I lost you all when you got the new room. I thought I was watching this thread but apparently not. Anyway I am watching now. Dan, those razor knives are definitely dangerous! When I worked in retail I had a few close encounters with them. It gave me a healthy respect for them, for sure. I did learn to keep those adhesive butterfly closures handy, not just for myself but for co-workers ,too. Let us know how those shears work, that sounds like a little safer alternative. But I guess that depends on the operator...I once cut my finger with a plastic knife. lol

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I found the fruit secateurs on Ebay (it just came up on Google, I didn't go there to look) so see what you think of them.


The slim nose (if that's the right word for the tip) looks very good for getting into tight spots.

Driving on icy roads is no fun. I hope all is well with your stitches.

Nanny - welcome back! Supposedly, it's better to get cut with something very sharp rather than anything like a plastic knife. My granddaughter cut her finger with a butter knife when she was about three. Now, at 23, she still is very cautious with all knives.

I told my DG friend, Kim, about you since you live east of Lexington, KY (bet you know that!!!) and she's west, in Taylorsville. Maybe she'll drop in to meet you.

Dan - this is Rock Run Kathy (a gift from some supplier). Please let me know if the nice fat tuber (on the right) that I've marked, is the choice one to keep. I doubt the others, with stringy necks, are keepers. The second photo is the opposite side: I see no point in hoping for any good tubers there. I can practice on this one (and another of the same name still to be dug) since I wasn't thrilled with the blooms.

Thumbnail by pirl Thumbnail by pirl
(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Eye candy! I don't buy from them since all dahlias here, which I've seen, are offered at a "5 for" price and I have no need for five of each. Still, nice to look and you can buy elsewhere.


Mentor, OH

Glad to see you back, Nanny. We're a small group here and don't want to lose anyone. I'm doing a lot of searching looking for an alternative to the hobby knife. I'll search until I find something better. I did order a steel mesh glove but that only works for cuts and slices. It offers no protection for stabs or punctures. Besides the cut, I also had several close calls where I caught myself saying, "Whew, that was close." Sometimes when we're in a hurry we tend to let down our guard. I can remember traveling down Rt. 75 on our way to Virginia and seeing the road signs for Mt. Sterling. I've had probably a half dozen people or more in my family who have gone to college at Berea or Morehead State. I think those are not too far from you.

Arlene, I went to the ER this morning and everything looks okay. I was ready to leave home about 7:00 am. but everything was iced up and slick. I waited till the rain melted it. The stitches come out in eight more days.

The tuber you referred to looks fine. In fact, I see at least four tubers in those photos that I would probably save. Unless they are "danglers." The big tuber that is hanging down the farthest in the first photo might be the mother tuber. Even so, I don't see any damage to it or rot. If that's a dahlia you would like to have multiples of, I would save every tubers as long as the neck is bigger than a pencil. You never know which ones will sprout until spring. I never understood the rush to throw any away as advised by some experts. Throw them in a bag and check them periodically. If they don't sprout in the spring, introduce them to the compost pile.

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