My dad has a green thumb. He always has. For the past few years he has been using it to not only grow a bountiful vegetable garden but to grow dahlia's too. Dahlia's are not for the faint of heart. They aren't easy. They take care and doting and work. Perfect for my dad. He is a scientist. And in the garden he is constantly trying out different solutions to keep the animals at bay. I can attest that they LOVE to eat dahlias. Very few of mine made it this year. The bunnies munched them down to the ground to the point that I thought I was losing my mind and hadn't really planted them there. My dad is Mr. McGregor in the garden. He has all sorts of traps and netting and wire to keep the animals at bay. And his dahlias thank him for it. An entire corner of his yard is dedicated to the dahlias. They are planted and staked and protected more than Fort Knox and left to their own devices with a little watering and pruning and futzing by my dad.
Dahlias are not annuals and they are not perennials either. You need to take the tubers out of the ground in the fall after the first frost when the gorgeous blooms finally stop producing. Then you have to split the tubers up, throw away the biggest one, and save the rest in a cool dry place over the winter. In the Spring some people just plant them right outside. Not my dad. He plants them in pots inside so they get a jump on growing before it is safe to plant outside in New England. Thus his huge dahlias. Many grow taller than him! Of course he grows so many that he shares the small seedlings as well. We bring them home and plant them in our gardens and our containers but they don't seem to have the impact that they do in his garden. They don't grow as tall or fill out with as many blooms. And if they survive the rabbits munching they bloom too close to frost to get a bounty of blooms from them.
He married the right woman for many reasons. One being that Penny is an extraordinary flower arranger. His flowers and all their beautiful colors are her palette to create her art. Come August the two of them arrive everywhere with buckets of flowers to share. There are so many they couldn't possibly keep them all for themselves. He has 30+ different varieties of flowers from small tight blooms to large "dinner plate" dahlia's that are literally the size of a dinner plate. They are all gorgeous. We are so lucky to be the recipients of their gardening generosity. I would like to learn how to overwinter dahlias. Hopefully this year he lets me know when he is going to bring them in and do his magic. This is a skill I would like to inherit from my dad. The gift of gardening and patience and creating and giving beauty. They have given away the flowers for their nieces fall wedding, for church displays and for countless neighbors tables. What a gift it is. Thanks Dad!
|Pies & Penny in their Dahlia Patch.|
|Snapple jar displays in the cottage window.|
|A water jug full of their summer beauty.|
|A touch of color to add to the coffee station. What a nice way to wake up!|
|A little beauty added to washing dishes. We don't have a |
dishwasher at the cottage so we spend a lot of time at that sink!
|The view out the back window. Sunflowers and Dahlias mixed together.|
|My favorite wall vase filled with dahlias.|
Flower design by L!