Big decisions

katob Z6ish, NE PaFebruary 11, 2013

So last year I made the mistake of coming here and looking at a bunch of dahlia pictures. Now I'm back and I'm trying to settle on a dahlia order.

I'm on a certain swan site and they have a nice cut flower collection, but it's a few more than I want and also has a couple that I wouldn't normally pick. It's a good price though and easy to order.

Or I can pick a few less, pick out just what I (think) I want and order that way. They have a sub category of good for cutting types and if it also says good garden plant then that's probably just what I'm looking for.... nice in the yard and in the vase.

Any comments? I guess I don't really have any legitimate questions but just wanted posters on this forum to maybe feel a little guilt over causing me these problems. Just a little, LOL, once they bloom I'll be thanking people.

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Allright Kato - don't blame us next year when you fall in love with dahlias and start this process over again! I started with with maybe 6-10 dahlias and have almost 100 now.

Swan Isl. is a great vendor. What you are seeing though is their 'in house' cut flowers that they offer for weddings, parties, or anyone passing by that wants blooming dahlias. (In Ore., you will see many houses with blooming dahlias selling bunches on the street for a small fee if not voluntary donations.)

Most of us, however, order the bare tubers and plant them every Spring and keep our fingers crossed that they actually bloom, are vibrant AND are the dahlia that you ordered. (Misrepresentation is more common with box store bought tubers in packages but it has happened to me from dahlia vendors occasionally.)

So what you want to do is PLAN AHEAD. If you want to maximize space and maybe plant 2 dahlias in a spot (one behind the other) then you need to plant low growing ones in the front. (Bad idea to plant a 5 foot dahlia in front of a 3 foot dahlia). Also, if you have a color coordinated yard, you want to keep yellow blends with yellow dahlias and not have a yellow 'section' suddenly erupting with a purple dahlia.

That is why S.I. is great with telling you not only the size of the plant but of the bloom as well. This way you can keep the big-uns (dinnerplates up to 14 inches) separate from other plants because those big ones need their space.

S I is infamous for saying in the description "great dahlia for cutting" when in fact I have yet to see a dahlia that DIDN'T look great in a vase. Except maybe for 1 1/2 to 2 inch bloomers that get lost in a large vase, especially when next to 8-10 inch blooms.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:55PM
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I dont think anyone here is going to feel guilty :)

Dahlias are one of the healthier addictions that I can think of and most of the people here have succumbed. I personally have taken great pleasure in getting friends and family "hooked". Just wait until you get good at storing and dividing those tubers - then you can trade them.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:23AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Thanks for the comments, it makes sense that most all dahlias are good cut flowers, maybe I should just bite the bullet and pick through all their offerings. It's just a little easier if I stick to the one smaller category though!

Good advice on the planting locations too, space might be a problem since a good sunny (empty) spot with nice soil is always a little hard to find in May. I guess I don't really need all that many vegetables anyway, dahlias would be a much nicer thing to fill the beds with!

Dahlias have come and gone in my garden. The one variety I have now has been with me for a couple years..... I think it's about time it got some company :)

btw, I'm not really picking up on any feelings of guilt. I'll let you know what I pick out, probably not till next weekend though, I'm going to need some quality time to go though all the offerings and then narrow down the list....

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:43PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I held out for a while, but cracked this weekend. Here's the damage.


I was trying to be responsible but then saw postage was a flat rate.... so adding a few more actually made it less expensive per tuber. Then I saw a $10 off a $60 order offer..... next I saw I could also pick a free tuber on an order over $60. It would have been foolish NOT to get a $60 together so that's what I went with. I'll report back once they start blooming!

I tried to stay with 4 footers or under, only because I think they'll fit into my garden better, but even at 4 I was looking for shorter since I think the ones I have now are closer to 3, and I like the way they look. Here's a patch from last year.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 7:31PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

That's not right. Why did they send me a full color catalog? I already ordered, why won't they leave me alone! I got it this afternoon and have already gone through it a couple times, there are a few I missed. I really should just toss it in the trash, but that would be a shame. I hope it warms up quick here, if we get another couple weeks of winter who knows what stupid decisions I could make?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 7:03PM
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Hi Kato. I too was moved to plant some dahlias this year after seeing the beautiful pictures on this forum. I also placed an order with Swan Island Dahlias. for the following:
Ahoy Matey.
White Nettie
Sweet Dreams

Please let me know how your Plum Pretty and Bride to Be turn out. They were on my wanted list but because I do not know how much success I will have with dahlias, I do not dare to overdo it. But I tried to get every color and type representation that I could with the above tubers. Best of luck with your dahlias.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 8:28PM
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Hello! I just received the 16 tubers I ordered from swan island and the 2 I orders from lynch creek(not to mention all the tubers I bought from the stores) My small urban garden is going to be bursting with blooms.....hopefully! I noticed in your picture kato, you have a gigantic yard! Go crazy and plant more dahlias! I wish I had space like that! I'm going to fill what sunny spots I have in the yard and then plant what's left into containers on the deck:-)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Oh! And not to make it any harder on you, lynch creek is having an overstock sale on tubers. I may buy more even though my little garden is already bursting at the seams.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:10AM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

Oh, Please give the state you live in--I got all excited when I saw you had recieved your Swan Lake order, and all it said was United States.. Thats OK, you're probably southern, and you get your order before I do.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:10PM
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I'm in Northern California....we get early delivery. I think with swan you can request an earlier ship date and pay a fee. Then you can get your tubers early and start them inside:-)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:52PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Hey I don't remember getting these follow ups! Sorry to be ignorant and not keep up with the comments...
After a late planting I'm getting blooms. Kousa if you're still watching this, I LOVE plum pretty. Maybe a trade is in order!?
Here's what's blooming as of this morning.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:38PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

plum pretty looks great in the garden too, but the first bloom is hidden down in the foliage.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:41PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Pink Petticoat. Nothing manly about fluffy pink dahlias named after undergarments, but I like it... lots.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:42PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I might have to order just a few more next year. Just to round out the collection ya know? ....and as Grace has pointed out, I do have a big yard and so far the dahlias really aren't much trouble at all :) sure beats growing corn!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:49PM
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Kato, you had me cracking up on the undergarment comment... It seems to me that growers of dahlias are pretty evenly divided between the sexes., so I think you're safe! ;-)

One grower-that-will-not-be-named had at one point postulated that women growers didn't like the ball dahlias, and was promptly shouted down by the ladies that they DID in fact love their balls!

Glad to hear you've been hooked. When you start estimating the cost of a bulldozer to take out your house in favor of a dahlia bed, we'll all know you're a life-er!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 11:09PM
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Noni Morrison

And when the above mentioned grower made his infamous statement. I immediately went and ordered every pom. mball and ball dahlia I could find and put them together in their own garden space...which became a great joy and so much fun last year!

Gee, I wonder what he will say next to get me off on another tangent, giggle! I think I am growing everything but giant ones now and he is proposing we try those this year....

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 9:29PM
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kato, your dahlias are so beautiful! I love your Plum Pretty and the lilac purple toward the back. How are you doing with overwintering your dahlias? Unfortunately, the cold temps during the polar vortex completely wiped out all the dahlias stored in my garage. I had left some to overwinter in the soil with bags of leaves on top but I would not know if they survive until spring. I have on order for spring delivery, Dahlia Purple Taihejo and Dahlia Lilac Time. I am into purple and lilac shades dahlias this year. IF you are interested to trade for these two, please drop me an email.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 5:22PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Kousa, sorry to hear about your freeze! I tried emailing but couldn't find an address for you, if you'd like, just click on my member info and you can drop me a line. So far my dahlias tubers look ok, if a little bit dried, they seem to make it ok though so I should have something to share. The only problem is I'll need to divide clumps... it shouldn't be a big deal, but I usually just replant, so this will be something new for me!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 10:35AM
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I have ordered from Swan Dahlias last year and Bahama mama was beautiful. It is a great cutflower.
I don't have any picture, but if you to their website, you will see what I mean.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:53AM
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