22 July 2008

more on the dahlias

I am dee-lighted but can’t figure out why the dahlias are blooming as early as they are this year when in years past I’ve considered myself lucky to have a blossom or two by mid-October, right before old man Winter comes along with his frost gun.

This year I have given every possible advantage to the dahlias, including:
  • Starting them early on the fire escape
  • Bringing the pots inside on coolish nights
  • Devoting an entire bed to four of the dahlia plants (and a canna) and making certain that the fifth set into the perennial bed did not have to compete for room or light with the plants around it
  • Staking them from the get-go
The more-or-less perfect growing weather we’ve had upstate certainly hasn’t hurt, either. So far this summer, we’ve seemed to get rain when we need it, and B and I top the beds off with water from the hose on the weekends.

I guess all of that would do it. The dahlias have been the favored children this spring. And instead of becoming ungrateful wretches with all of the attention lavished on them, they have grown and grown.

So now all except the Kaiser Wilhelm are blooming. This is so cool. And Kaiser is setting buds, so I think we’ll be seeing some blossoms on him this weekend.

Our friend Randy came over to the house with Betty on Sunday morning to meet my parents and my brother and his family, who were all visiting. B gave Randy the five-cent tour of the gardens while I was watching my niece and nephew race to and from the mailbox. When he saw the dahlias, Randy (who is an experienced gardener) said, “Wow! I can’t believe you have blooms so early!” Which, of course, fills me with pride and a lot of gratitude for his actually noticing the miracle.

So all of this gets me to thinking about my dahlias in years past. Some I started indoors, all I planted in the perennial bed and allowed to get shaded by larger plants around them, and (I think this may be an important point, but I’m only speculating) I grew only dahlias with dinner-plate sized blossoms. Could it be that the plants needed to grow to a particular size before they could begin to devote energy to producing their blooms? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m going to give the same treatment to some large-flowered dahlias next year and see what happens.

Gina at work wants to see photos, but, alas, none yet. I’m waiting for all of the dahlias to come into bloom, and then I’ll start snapping!

1 comment:

  1. Howdy. I tagged you for the six-things-about-myself meme. Participate or don't.