Summer Dahlias!

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Last summer I visited Swan Island Dahlias in Canby, Oregon and walked through their gorgeous Dahlia beds for hours. (You can see the trip here.) Eventually I selected six of the many I loved and placed my order. Since the total for these six was $56.00, I thought I’d try just a few before I went crazy!  The large healthy tubers arrived in the mail in  perfect condition this spring and I planted them on April 18.

I planted Mikayla Miranda, October Sky, Sheer Heaven and Mango Madness in a 2′ x 8′ x 12″ raised full of  a good container mix (from Grab N Grow)  and compost (from Sonoma Compost),  and Bride to Be and Innocence in some not so good soil in a hot sunny spot on the side yard. Each received a study pole or cage  and I tied them up  as they grew. What a difference:

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As you can see, those in the not so well prepared soil didn’t fare as well! Bride to Be, on the right, has barely grown at all!  When I dug around to see what was going on I found that there is a concrete ledge about eight inches below the surface! We are preparing a new dahlia bed now that I’m addicted so these will be moving!

Mikayla Miranda is a very vigorous grower and the earliest to bloom followed by October sky, Mango Madness and then the others trailed along after them.  Mikayla is the most vigorous with up to 10 blossoms at a time. The others open a few at a time except for Innocence (a total of 2  blooms) and Bride to Be (none yet) since they are in less than ideal conditions. You can see the need for well prepared soil before planting even the best tubers!

The booklet that comes from Swan Island with the tubers is full of great info and mentions not using too much compost since it adds a lot of nitrogen and may produce lush green growth at the expense of flowers.  We just top off our beds so it wasn’t compost heavy and the blooms just keep coming!”

Dahlias have been so easy to grow and so rewarding! Cutting bouquets for work is fun and the patients in our office love them! Here are a few to enjoy!

In the garden or in the vase Dahlias are my new love!  If you have favorite varieties please share in comments!

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