REAPING THE HARVEST
It has been quite a while since we put the tubers and plants in our gardens. Some of us have encountered drought, pestilence, heat, and flood - the dahlia growers four horsemen. Nevertheless, we soldier on and greet each morning with a happy look at the dahlia blooms in the garden. You will find that if you move about 60 feet from the plants, all the blooms will look like prize-winners.
One of the folks here in New York's Adirondack Mountains grew an 8-inch yellow bloom in what appeared to be a 10" pot. The plant was 5 feet tall. A real triumph for this area with late and early frosts. I have grown a few potting dahlias in pots by the lake. The blooms over three months bring pleasure to the folks that pass by in kayaks and boats.
Please be sure to remove the spent blooms. That will encourage new blooms rather than tubers. You are still telling the plants that there is work to be done to create future generations of seed.
As the weeks go by you will probably see the plants get "leggy" and more open than closed flowers. This is a result of the shorter days and their inherent need to get pollinated, so viable seed will result. Mother nature does not depend on us. If the plants get floppy add another tie.
Open centered "bendy" blooms look great in a vase. On the plus side, the weakening sun, make the colors brighter and more complex. It is something like the trees, but a different process.
I generally have a lassiez-faire attitude in the dahlia patch after the shows, except for collecting some seeds for next year.
One last thought. There are still dahlia shows on the East Coast and Mid-West. You can find them on the American Dahlia Society website,
. Even if you grow just a few dahlias yourself, visiting a show and seeing tables of first class blooms is a staggering experience. And you never know who you will meet. Also check out local society meetings. Many will be demonstrating how to process and store your tubers.
Here are some links of interest:
Overwintering Dahlias in Cold Climates
Digging and Dividing Dahlia Tubers
Enjoy the rest of the season!
From the dahlia patch,
Join ADS and a local society