The freshness of Spring weather, the greening of the grass and the Dahlia tubers showing their knobby eyes are the days we are bursting with ambition and hope. We can’t seem to get things accomplished fast enough.
March and April also brought news of Covid 19 and staying home most of the time. The good company of Dahlias who only seemed to care about good soil, rain and warm sunshine. Our world got smaller in one sense and larger in another. Hearing about people all over the globe getting the virus enlarged our little world and the care we have for people, but at the same time, our little circle of movement at home got a lot smaller. It did however mean more time to work with Dahlias. There would be no excuse for fails.
We had a wet Spring, like Oregon weather, and then we had weeks without rain, also like Oregon weather even though we are on opposite sides of the continent. It seemed like the first thing we checked in the morning was the forecast and the last thing we checked lying in bed at night. The forecast. It was forever changing. Who knew the forecast app on our phones would be tapped so many times in a day? All those cookies on my phone filling up with weather data.
Neglect is not a good grower, just as too much moisture is not either. One small row we (mainly myself) decided not to water regularly after burying the tubers. They’ll just stay cool and be mellow til rain comes; right? We never saw them again. The other possibility is a raccoon retrieved them which is a valid possibility. They would have been snack size and a hit with their littles. So that little row was a fail in capital letters.
Peaches N Cream and Linda’s Baby were the very first Dahlias to bloom in July. Yay. The last to bloom were the big ones. The ones you don’t want to count the flower petals on because it would take forever. They are the ones people stop and ask, “What kind of a flower is that?” We like proud parents, cannot get out of our mouth, “A Dahlia,” fast enough.
Surprises. There are always surprises dealt out when ordering Dahlias. The joker card. This year it was when some of the “big ones” budded up and started to open. We ordered Nick Sr. and when they started unraveling we questioned “Does this plant have a virus?” The flower petals were so thin. The plants were tall and healthy. No signs of virus on the leaves. There was head scratching, but then when the buds fully opened we were awestruck at the beauty. The same coloring as Nick Sr. but a totally different flower—which turned out to be Show N Tell Dahlias.
Other surprises, yes more. A bummer that all of the Gerrie H. waterlilies we ordered turned out to be white flowers and not waterlilies. Sob. Surprises dealt to other growers as well. Holly of Hope Flower Farm in her email said all of the Cafe’s they ordered and planted turned out to be white flowers and not the sought after coloring of the Cafe Au Laits. It’s frustrating, planting and waiting months for the blooms, we know very well the feeling.
“Pivot,” is the second most typed word after “Forecast,” this Dahlia season on my phone and everywhere on social media. Pivot was a word politicians used not Dahlia growers or so we thought.
Frost has come and many Dahlias in the field are ready the be lifted and chill. Rest is good. Some Dahlias we just can’t let go of yet and those are the regal Cafes. Their coloring is the best right now and their petals get curly in the center with cool weather. It’s like a picture of many flower-petal-music-conductors orchestrating the songs of Fall.
When all the dust settles we can be thankful for many things. We have mature Dahlia seeds to plant next season and dream about what they might look like. Ones with fully double, high petal counts and and without green centers. Yay. The Dahlia tubers have multiplied and have donated more tubers for us to grow. Yay. There aren’t any Dahlias here with virus after all. Big Yay.
I’ve been going on and on…How did your Dahlias fair?
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Where are you located?
We are farming in Middletown Valley.
Beautiful Maryland. Rich soil and it usually rains twice a week.