Recently, I attended a lecture at Gunston Hall, the historic home of founding father George Mason. All about the house and patio were beautiful colonial style arrangements that included large and small dahlias. I learned that the dahlias had come from the cutting garden of an old friend.
By coincidence I visited Helen a few days later, and the first thing she did was show me her dahlias. There were about a dozen plants in her cutting garden, staked and tied but not disbudded. Helen knew I was a dahlia-fanatic, and was pleased that I was impressed by the blooms.
|Dahlias integrated into the Garden, Paris, France
I am writing about this, because Helen is a fine gardener, but to my knowledge had not grown dahlias. Sometimes I lose sight of the dahlias versatility. They are easy to grow with minimal care and have a long blooming period. The dahlias in the mixed arrangements had lasted five days. If left on the plant they will be attractive even longer.
September brings opportunities to visit dahlia shows. The ADS web site (
has a nation-wide list of local dahlia societies' shows. Even many general flower shows and county fairs have a dahlia section. All these shows illustrate the flower's diversity and are good sources of ideas for next year's garden. The ADS site also has a list of retail dahlia specialists and in the spring will have a list of tuber sales conducted by local societies. These sources offer many, sizes, types and colors, different from the Dutch imports available at garden centers and from catalogs.
As the days get cooler, I hope, and the nights longer, the colors of the dahlia blooms will be more interesting, the centers will stay closed longer, and the flower will have more depth. Just keep watering in the absence of rain and watch our for powdery mildew.
Here are a few links concerning powdery mildew on dahlias:
Enjoy any dahlia gardens you may visit this fall and if none of these is yours - start planning for next year!