I am a weekend gardener. I am immensely happy to spend all my time digging in the earth. It always amazes me that I can put an unattractive hairy tuber in the ground and within weeks a plant will grow that produces truly amazing flowers.
I grow Dahlias. Actually, I grow a wide variety of flowers, but dahlias are my favorite. They are also the most labor intensive flowers to reproduce. Most perennials come back year after year. They sometimes need splitting. That’s a piece of cake compared with the work involved in growing dahlias. It is without a doubt, a labor of love. For me, they are irresistibly beautiful.
Where to start?
Dahlias require a cool dark home for the winter. I dig them out of the ground after the first frost. I wash and dry them for a week, and then cut them away from the mother dahlia. A mother can produce as many as 9 offshoots. I pack the offshoots in boxes filled with peat moss and put them in my basement wine cellar. Because I am obsessed with my flowers, I check on the dahlias every time we go to Michigan.
In the spring, I turn my garage into a hot house with heaters and pot the tubers in dirt. Then I wait for a sign of life. What I’m looking for is a baby plant peaking through the dirt. I replant the dahlias outside when the ground is 60 degrees, and they start blooming about the third week in July. Then the fun starts.
I love love LOVE arranging the dahlias. I have a pink Yves Klein table in my living room in Michigan, which is a perfect backdrop for the array of pinks that I grow.
Homes have a seasonal clock of their own-- my dahlias are a celebration of summer.