It’s an amazing life when you go to West Virginia to trail ride
and end up in a mansion listening to a famous pianist serenade on a Steinway.
It’s all because of Thomas Edison, the dahlia that is.
We were strolling around the charming town of Bramwell, West Virginia
after enjoying a milkshake at the Corner Cafe’
when I spied my friend Thomas Edison over a fence.
Of course I had no choice but to intrude into the lovely garden to speak with the owner.
He turned out to be the world renowned pianist, Harold Brown.
After introducing me to his dahlias ( later post), he invited us in for a quick concert
He gifted us a signed CD which we listened to on our ride home.
The magic is back.
Thanks to Harold Brown, Thomas Edison and Mr. Flower.
Stay tuned folks. There is much more to come!
Dahlias need four things to thrive.
First, they need rich soil. I enrich mine with homemade compost and mushroom compost.
Second, they need a lot of water to grow. Mine are at the bottom of a hill with a berm.
Third, they must be supported. I have been negligent in this so excuse the messy stake job.
The fourth thing that MUST happen is cool weather. Dahlias struggle until it cools down.
Then they show off with giant, heavy blooms.
These are my three favorites, Thomas A Edison, Snow Country and Firepot.
I love the cool weather, also. I have wilted and withered all summer. Hooray fall!
I have had to water these dahlias during the drought.
I knew if I could just get them through to cooler weather
they would return to their glorious blooming condition.
I have been rewarded for my efforts.
They have pulled through and prospered.
Definitely worth the water.
I usually do not plant in rows.
But I envisioned a bed of tall dahlias along this walkway through a hill.
I thought it would be great to look down on the blooms.
Last fall I amended the soil with all the ingredients dahlias love…
compost from the kitchen, bunny poop and mushroom compost.
I even topped them off with a special stinky concoction that included fish emulsion and Epsom salts.
They have grown wonderfully.
They were so beefy they needed extra staking.
I think my dahlias are happy in a row.
Dahlias cannot survive our winters here in North Carolina,
so they must be stored inside over the winter.
There is a process to doing this. I call the steps of the process the “Dahlia Four D’s.”
The first D is to let them die. Okay not really, but they must be killed back by frost to know to go dormant.
The second D is for dig. I chop off the dead stems to about three inches height. Then I dig around then down. That way I do not chop the tubers with my shovel.
The third D is for dry. They need to spend a few days drying before the soil is removed.
The forth D is for divide. Once the tubers have dried a bit, they shrink a little. This makes it easier to untangle the separate stems.
Store these in peat and/or vermiculite. I use boxes that I can stack on shelves.
Leave room for air. I shake these boxes periodically and open them every few weeks to make sure none are rotting or shriveling.
So if you have dahlias, it’s time for the four D’s.
Die, dig, dry and divide.
FLOW in the Know
I have many dahlias. It may not surprise you that most of them are purple.
I have three favorites. Only one of which is purple.
These three are the most trouble, because they are dinner plate dahlias.
The blooms are so large that plant must be supported by stakes and fences.
These three need more water that the smaller dahlias. They need more nutrients.
It takes a lot of work on my part and the plant’s part to produce those big beautiful blooms.
I have decided to let some of my dahlias go. I can’t bring them all in.
There is not enough space… or energy… or time to save them all.
So which three will be dug up, stored and treasured?
The three big, needy ones will.
Because when we work together, we make something beautiful.
Synergy in the garden.
I hope this cool Monday morning is a sign of things to come.
There seems to be a collective sigh from the garden.
This summer has been a struggle.
I have constantly pruned and watered in an effort keep things alive.
The stress has shown in yellowed leaves, fragile stems and smaller and fewer flowers.
The tide seems to have turned this morning.
A light rain has plumped up the plants and made them glisten.
My favorite dahlia, Thomas A. Edison has decided to stand up and bloom at last.
Let’s hope that we all can thrive for a bit in this cool.
Except for the weeds. They will be killed as usual.