February 5, 2010 § Leave a comment
I’ve been admiring dahlias from afar since we moved to Washington over the summer and I first set eyes on a real plant rather than just cut flowers. After that I saw dahlia plants everywhere- the grocery store, the home improvement warehouse and a neighbor’s yard. Their beautiful, vibrant hues and unusual petal shapes inspire just a little bit of lust in me. What’s not to appreciate about a flower that looks like it’s headed out to a old-fashioned costume ball? If that weren’t enough to inspire my infatuation, even my husband admires them, and he rarely notices flowers.
It turns out that dahlias are quite a lot of work and just a little bit indulgent. Once established, they need quite a bit of water. The Swan Island Dahlias catalog that I picked up at the Northwest Flower and Garden show recommends a 30 minute sprinkler soaking a few times a week. Though I do wonder if that is truly necessary here in the rainy Pacific Northwest . And if you live any place where the ground freezes beyond 6 inches at some point during the winter, dahlia need to dug up after the first ‘killing frost’. And of course, don’t forget to label your tubers, so that you can tell what variety they are when you plant them again in the spring.
All this is much too complicated for me with this being my first official year of gardening; I rather not get in over my head. Then again, to have lovely dahlias this summer, it might just be worth it. For the moment, I’ll have to content myself with bringing dahlias into my life another way.