Taking Notes for Next Year
How’s October treating you guys so far? Although the winds are colder and a bit stronger, the sun still packs enough power to make the autumn days here in Belgium enjoyable. To capitalize on the sunny weather and because, let’s face it, you never know when that first frost is going to hit, I decided to dedicate the afternoon to tagging all of the dahlias and jotting down little thoughts for next year.
How did the flowers turn out this year? Nice colors? Strong stems? Bushy growth? Good vase life? These are all things I’ll need to take into consideration when planning out next year’s borders. I’m usually lacking in the “organizational” department, so it feels good to be proactive now, when my memory and the flowers are still fresh.
As always, Dieter was there to lend a helping hand… or mouth.
I brought a few samples inside to give you guys an idea of the ideal attributes I’m weighing when prioritizing the placement of next year’s tubers. Red Fubuki (left) and Hillcrest Contessa (right) offer really neat style and texture. It’s fun adding these unique(r)-looking dahlias to arrangements.
Jescot India (left) and Barbarry Dominion (right) are both examples are great color combinations found within one flower. I’ve used both of these blossoms extensively in arrangements throughout the summer. Their colorful hues and subtle blending of shades lend them to a variety of different color schemes.
Then you’ve got the frilly pretties like Ida Gayer (left) and Gitt’s Perfection (right). Although they lean toward the larger side of dahlia flowers, both are easily incorporated into flower arrangements thanks to their long stems and subtle, solid hues. It’s just a pity that they don’t have a longer vase life. I’ve noticed that the frilly, pretty, decorative dahlias tend to last for about 3-4 days vs. the ball types which have a vase life of 7+ days.
Last but not least, you’ve got the disappointments. Great color? Short stems. Long stems? Difficult color. Case in point, Alloway’s Cottage. The soft, creamy yellow tinged with a touch of lavender makes for such a lovely flower… but the stems on nearly every flower are unusable. You’d have to sacrifice nearly half of each sprouted branch to cut an adequate length for bouquets. Bummer.
This has been my major gripe with most of the tubers that have failed to impress this year (Inca Glamour, D Day, Amaran Pico..). With such tough competition like Karma Serena, Cornel, Sylvia, Sandra, Wizard of Oz, Cornel Brons, Gitt’s Perfection, Ferncliff Illusion, Barbarry Dominion, Cryfield Rosie, Tohsuikyou, and Sundert Mystery Fox… you’ve got to put on one heck of show to make it into the cutting garden next year.
That being said, I’m not quite callous enough to toss unwanted tubers aside. I always have this sneaking feeling that they’ll perform better next year… maybe if I just give them one more chance. It’s always such a dilemma come planting time in the spring!
How do you guys deal with unworthy contenders for precious space in the garden?