Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Annuals I've Missed: Dahlias

This picture of a bug-free white dahlia was taken at Janesville's Rotary Botanical Garden.
I like dahlias almost as much as I like the big, blowsy Japanese peonies.  I have difficulties growing them.  This has not always been true.  Two things about dahlias I have not found a good way around.  I cannot winter over the tubers, which seem to be more expensive all the time (for smaller and smaller tubers).  The best flowers (number, size, all of it) seem to come from large, plump tubers grown on for several seasons.  Additionally, my growing season has shrunk.  Just about the time they have reached big, blowsy greatness, it will freeze here in central Wisconsin. 

The pale ones, like the white one pictured above, seem to be earwig magnets even when I could grow them when I lived in Elgin, IL.  One year I had a massive bouquet, picked on December 1, as the first hard frost was to happen that night; sensational when you can make it happen.

I've been thinking about starting the tiny, ambitious red ones of the Figaro strain next season and treat them like annuals.  This year I'll have to make do with vicarious pleasures.

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