Friday, November 14, 2014

Daffy for Dahlias

The days are inching closer to winter and when I go into the garden these days my fingers tend to go numb.  Luckily I managed to complete my list of garden must dos last weekend.  The last chore on the list was digging up my dahlias.

Just a sample from my garden
Every year I wonder why I bother with these tubers.  They are a lot of work to plant each spring and dig up each fall but something in my DNA just cannot resist.  It must have something to do with the fact that they are reliable plants that produce multiple blooms in every colour and shape imaginable.

White dahlias mixed with rudbeckia
Back in the spring I visited Vancouver, British Columbia for a couple weeks.  While there I popped into Van Dusen Botanical Gardens.  I love visiting Van Dusen and this time was no exception.  The day I was there turned out to be the annual Dahlia Sale.  How could I possibly resist??

Come On In!!

Tables of tubers sorted by size
Since I was travelling I had to keep my purchases small but I still managed to walk out with Ferncliff Cameo, Ferncliff Copper and Longwood Dainty.

Longwood Dainty
Longwood Dainty has done very well for me, the plant itself was very strong and by September was covered in blooms.  Unfortunately Ferncliff Cameo did not survive the trip home as the bud broke off the tuber.  Ferncliff Copper had a pretty rough start, the plant broke in a storm and although it recovered it never did bloom.

Despite those setbacks I still had a lovely show of plants this year.


I like to plant my dahlias together.  Combining yellow, white, orange and pink.  A few sunflowers, rudbeckia, gladiolas and canna lilies filled out the bed.

Unfortunately what I've discovered is that my lower garden gets hit with frost before the rest of the property.  The blooms were all killed in September leaving me with blackened plants.
Frost kill in the dahlia bed
So next year I'm contemplating moving the dahlias to the front yard.  Plans for a new bed are underway in a more protected spot.

Of course, that might mean I have to purchase some more dahlias.  That shouldn't be a problem though.  I also visited the Halifax Public Gardens this summer and did you know they have a dahlia collection?

Halifax Public Gardens
The garden contains dahlia cultivars developed by Nova Scotia gardeners, specifically geared towards our maritime climate.

Scarborough Brilliant dahlia
I photographed the flowers and their names to remind me for future shopping.  Just in case I happen to need a few more dahlias.  They're kind of like chips aren't they?  You can't have just one.

32 comments:

  1. Hi Margeurite,
    I love dahlias but have never planted. I can sense the addiction there. Lol I always say when I retire, I will plant them because I think they are, indeed, like chips! Lol Love Halifax Public Gardens. I know that you've lived in B.C. When I visited Victoria a couple years ago, I visited as many beautiful gardens there as I possibly could! It was pretty wonderful to be surrounded by such beautiful plants and flowers.
    Wishing you a beautiful day,
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

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    1. Thanks for the comment Linda! It was wonderful to visit BC again. It's home to me and it was a great respite from the long dreary winter here on the east coast. Be careful with dahlias, there's just too many sizes, shapes and colours not to get addicted to them.

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  2. I love dahlias but I rarely grow them. I guess I am a lazy gardener. If I could just go buy the tubers I probably would but I have to order from a catalog. I am tempted more with seeing the tubers in hand so to speak.

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    1. Lisa, I prefer looking directly at the plants myself too. Which is why it was so hard to stay away from that sale. Eyeing up the tubers and speaking with the growers was not an opportunity to be missed!

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  3. Marguerite, you have some wonderful photos here to dream on over the winter. Have you had snow yet at Canoe Corner? (I have a good sense of how the weather systems that come through here affect New Brunswick and Nova Scotia when they move on, but I'm less sure about what happens in PEI.) -Jean

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    1. Jean, we had our first snow just yesterday! 5cm came down overnight and it's a winter wonderland this morning. Won't last long though, there's rain headed our way in a couple days. How are things in Maine? Are you ready for winter yet?

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  4. Hi Marguerite, that IS an early frost, no wonder you want to move them. I am delighted to see that you have that typical gardener trait.... we manage to turn every problem into a shopping opportunity!

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    1. Hi Sarah, every year it seems there's one early one thrown in there. The weather was good for a month afterwards but unfortunately the damage was done. Now off to look at garden catalogues ;-)

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  5. "Kind of like chips"...I love that!! Too much work for me Marguerite but I love them, love them. A gorgeous cut flower as well. My dad had a green thumb with them. Your bed looks fabulous.

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    1. Thank you Brenda. You're too kind. I don't mind the work, it's the storage space! If I had proper cool storage I would be in trouble, there's be no holding me back.

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  6. You've inspired me to have a go at dahlias...I've never tried them but always admired them

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    1. I'll warn you now Annie, they're addictive!

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  7. Beautiful. Dahlias have never been a flower I have luck with. Tips??

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    1. Isn't that funny? I can't think of an easier flower to grow, but then what works for one person doesn't always grow for the next. All I can say is full sun, and well draining soil. They don't like it too wet or damp, the slugs will go after them otherwise and the tubers will rot.

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  8. They are like chips. Dahlias seem to be one of those plants that people tend to collect, like day lilies or roses. I only have one kind now, since I don't have a good place to store them in winter (and they will die here in a cold winter), but they have such beautiful flowers and I always enjoy seeing all of the different dahlias at the state fair. Your dahlias looked great this year!

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    1. They really are a collector item, you're absolutely right. I think it's the crazy number of colours and shapes and sizes. There's always another one that catches your eye.

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  9. Oooh, love the look of Longwood Dainty... No! No more room for more dahlias!! Look forward to seeing the new bed next year, no doubt crammed with new acquisitions...

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    1. oh Janet, it really is sweet. Small flowers but soooo many of them. The plant was just coated. and it grew like crazy in one year. It's a bright orange too, paired nicely with pinks and yellows (not to everyone's tastes I know but I liked it)

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  10. Sounds like you and dahlias are fated to be together. I admire them but do not grow them - can't get motivated to store the tubers, etc. But I will say that they are definitely cuddly flowers. My favorites are the red singles like 'Bishop of Llandaff'.

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    1. Cuddly flowers they sure are! I must admit the doubles are my favourite when it comes to dahlias but that Bishop sure is a beauty. The problem with there being so many shapes and colours, I want them all.

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  11. Oooooh I didn't get to the public gardens in Halifax when I was there in July - guess I'll have to go back :) They sure are gorgeous and such a wide range of colours. But they do sound like a lot of work.

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    1. Definitely need another trip Jane! The gardens are small in Halifax but really well done. I spent a nice couple hours wandering around in there.

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  12. Hello Marguerite, no I wasn't aware that Halifax had such a show of Dhalias, yes I remove and dry mine each year and often wonder why. However, each year the blooms get larger and seem brighter than ever. This year my garden clean out/up was early September as we headed out on our Across Canada Road Trip in September. Stop by and have a look at the mountains when you have time, they are lovely 2fromaway.ca bye for now

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    1. There were a couple areas dedicated just to dahlias and all the flowers were locally cultivated. I was particularly interested since that means they'll be suited to our climate. You should take a look sometime, beautiful spot to visit.

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  13. Your dahlias are gorgeous, and I'm sure worth all the effort you put into them, Marguerite. They are difficult to grow here and plagued by Japanese beetles, so I don't have any. Of course, there are many other plants I can't resist buying ... P. x

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    1. Japanese beetles? I have never heard of that issues but will need to keep my eyes open. I know what you mean though. I have the red lily beetles and keep wondering if I should just chuck my lilies as it's so much work to chase after the beetles every day.

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  14. They are so well worth growing, Marguerite! They are my favourite flowers I think. I grow them from seed every year too, and they bloom well in their first year. It is always so sad when the frost finishes them off !

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    1. That's wonderful! I've seen the seed before but have never heard of anyone growing them that way. Amazing you've seen blooms the first year. The frost always gets them way too quick here. They're such long bloomers otherwise.

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  15. I am not sure if we have many dahlias around here. Wow, they are beautiful! I hope you have a great Tuesday! :)

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    1. I hope you're having a great day too! I'll bet there are dahlias in Kentucky. In your warmer climate the tubers wouldn't need to be lifted at all. Just plant like any other perennial and away they go. I miss warmer climates some days :)

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  16. Dahlias are pretty spectacular flowers, so I can see why you might want to add more. Digging them up every fall is lots of work, but judging from your pictures is well worth the effort.

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    1. All flowers present some kind of work don't they? I guess we just pick our poison :)

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