The Dahlias in my garden are really hitting their stride, now that summer has begun its inexorable slide into autumn. Here on the west coast, we often have a dry and sunny fall, so I’m likely to enjoy their spectacular blooms until the end of October.
My front garden glows with colour at this time of year, in large part due to my Dahlias. Their reliable deer resistance encourages me to plant a couple new varieties each year. And I’m getting better at lifting and storing them successfully, a good thing because they aren’t cheap!
At some point in November, or whenever frost has begun to kill off the foliage, I’ll carefully dig the tubers and prepare them for storage. I prefer to brush the dirt from the tubers rather than washing them, because it can be hard to get them to dry out at this time of the year and if you store them wet, they’re sure to rot. I store my Dahlia tubers in dry peat moss, in a plastic bin with no lid, in my unheated garage (which is attached to the house and doesn’t freeze).
But right now I’m not thinking about that – I’m enjoying the beautiful, architectural blooms of my dahlias. I’m especially fond of warm-coloured dahlias, they’re so appropriate to the fall. Rich red, burgundy, claret, mandarin orange and golden sunset shades. One of the new beauties in my garden this year is a decorative dahlia named Moonlight Sonata, whose enormous orange shaded blooms do remind me of a full harvest moon, or maybe a heavily ribbed pumpkin.
Another spectacular new (for me) variety is Mick’s Peppermint. This giant dinnerplate Dahlia sports white flowers spotted and striped with candy-cane pink that are the size of a (not so small) child’s head.
I’m also loving the formal perfection of my Arabian Night Dahlia, whose dark burgundy-red blooms seem almost artificial in their precise shape.
The dark leaves of City of Rotterdam contrast with vibrant scarlet blooms that glow like hot coals against burnt logs.
Mystery Day dinnerplate dahlia pops in the garden with giant rich burgundy blooms tipped in white looking as though each flower was dipped in white paint.
Two unnamed dahlias on the south side of my front garden give a rich boost to the small (deer ravaged) Fireglow Japanese Maple which is struggling to maintain the size it was when I planted it in 2009. Their flowers of deep, almost black red and bright glowing cherry red almost distract me from the sad specimen behind them.
But, enough whining now, this post is about my beautiful (and untouched by the graceful vermin) Dahlias! Let’s avert our eyes from that which is unlovely and causes us grief, and cast our gaze upon the stunning magnificence of Dahlias in bloom.