Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Dazzling Dahlias October 1, 2008

It’s foggy here today, so I thought I’d put up some pics of a couple of really impressive dahlias I saw in a street garden near my house recently, to chase the blahs away.

I will come straight out and say that I’m not much of a dahlia grower myself. I have a few dwarf annual ones that my mom gave me this year, but I think my garden lacks the proper combo of good soil, excellent drainage and regular watering to provide a good home for them. That’s just way too much cultivation for this lazy gardener! But for those interested in the basics of dahlia growing, one of the local dahlia groups near Seattle has this handy list of do’s and dont’s to get you on the right track.

Part of my resistance to this plant is that it’s one of those that has a “society” devoted to it, or many societies as it happens. I’ve seen entire home gardens devoted to dahlias, and while I admire the dedication of folks who specialize in one flower or kind of plant, it seems a little sad to me to pick one that is only in bloom for a few months and goes completely below ground for much of the year, leaving a bare patch of nothingness in its wake.

That said, I always enjoy seeing the really pretty ones my neighbor’s on-street garden produces every summer. This orange one had the shaggy look of Dorothy’s friend the Cowardly Lion:

Orange dahlia

I’m pretty hopeless with dahlia types. I know there are many, but I’m not up on them so won’t even try to categorize the ones shown here. If you really want to get into the minutae, this site has photos of all the different dahlia classifications.

I loved this one for its gentle lilac edging and lovely white and greenish-tinged underlayer.

Lavender dahlia

What about you? Love to grow dahlias or prefer to admire them in other people’s gardens? Or do they just leave you cold?


9 Responses to “Dazzling Dahlias”

  1. Racquel Says:

    I love their blooms but they can be quite finicky about soil & moisture levels. They are perennials in my zone 7b garden, I never dig them up.

  2. Willi Says:

    I love dahlias! I’ve never grown them myself, but I think I just might next year. I planted a bunch of cut flowers this summer, and dahlias are so pretty, that it would be nice to have them in the mix. Thanks for the pretty pictures!

  3. tina Says:

    They are absolutely beautiful. I have to dig mine here in Zone 6/7. Next year I think I’ll go with dahlias only in pots.

  4. Megan Says:

    Bah humbug. They’re too bright and cheery for my garden, but I think they’re lovely when I get to cut them out of others. I find the shape of the plant difficult to work into the landscape, they’re so straight and stiff, they don’t blend easily with surrounding plants.

  5. Anna Says:

    Those pictures are stunning. I can not grow them so it’s nice to see a pic every now and then.

  6. Kanak Says:

    Beautiful colours! The second one especially!!

  7. nancybond Says:

    I adore dahlias and have always found them quite easy to grow. These ones are beauties!

  8. Philip Says:

    I took some photos of a garden that had dahlias as well recently, though I did not post yet. I find that I have come to appreciate things that I rejected in the past, and I now admire dahlias for their late blooming effects and glorious colors. They do not work texturally for me in my garden, as I am going for a more loose feel, but I could see if I had a larger garden it would be fun to experiment with. I love seeing them, and enjoyed your post here!
    Best Regards,

  9. kristi Says:

    Love the dahlias especially that big pink one.

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