The dahlias beside Richard’s studio had been in place for four years, so I thought it was about time to dig up at least one of them. All of the tubers you see here came from one above ground plant. We had a number of freezes during the winter that we are having a hard time putting behind us. Expecting a cluster with many gone mushy from the cold, I was surprised to find nothing but plump, healthy, yam-like tubers in a cluster of about three feet across. Every article on dahlias calls for digging after the first frost. When I did that, they did not overwinter well…so I am going my own way here. The mud ball I unearthed required a lot of hosing, prying and more hosing, but I finally had about four dozen individual tubers of varying sizes. I spread them out to dry for a day or two. The size of the tuber is said to be immaterial to the size and vigor of the resulting plant. I potted up a few of the smaller ones, just to test out the theory. A few of the big ones went into the fence line border. The rest will go into a basket, free for the taking, when I open the garden for the first time Sunday next.
Lots of people “in the know” find dahlias garish and tasteless. Not me. In late summer, when things are looking a little tired and dusty, along come the can can dancers with their flirty skirts of many colors. They alone can hold their own in the harsh August sun and heat, and oh, what dramatic bouquets! This is one gardener (vulgar, perhaps) that could not do without dahlias.
I will keep you posted on the ongoing experiment.