Cottage Gardening – The Grand Dahlia

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It’s a cold, rainy and generally gloomy Saturday in Cincinnati. I’ve managed to get a few errands done, but all I want to do is curl up and keep warm. Maybe do a bit of needlepoint…

Then there appeared a  bright spot – the blooming of a spectacular Autumn-colored dinner plate dahlia!!  It loves the miserable weather.  A gorgeous reminder that even a dark and damp Fall day can be beautiful!!

The Daily Dahlias

These blooms are the sweetest because they are the last soldiers in the garden.

Dahlias And The Last Of Summer Blooms

The emergence of my dahlias soothes the pain of losing all the other blossoms…

What’s Blooming In The Garden On July 28

There’s still plenty of nectar for the bees. I can’t wait for my dahlias to start blooming en masse!

Flowers For The Bees

The nectar flow is strong right now, but we worry about August, September and October. We want our ladies to go into winter with a big store of food to carry them through the winter.

My dahlias and everlasting peas will bloom until fall, but my roses and hostas will be done by then.  Thank goodness for my neighbor who’s a wonderful gardener!

She grows the most gorgeous hibiscus which the bees just love! While not a staple of the English cottage garden, they are beautiful just the same!

They are just now coming into bloom and will continue as long as the weather is warm, which, around here, can last until October.

Here are some pictures, along with a few from my garden as well:

What’s Blooming In The Garden On July 3rd

It’s broiling hot, and we have to water almost every day. Thank goodness for flowers that like the heat and humidity! Lots of nectar and pollen for the pollinators…

Daylilly

Monarda With Bumble!

Old Fashioned Hydrangeas

Everlasting Peas

Dahlia

Geranium ‘Rozanne”

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

The Noble Bayard tried to drink out of the Italian Bees’ birdbath and got roundly spanked!  I will be administering Benadryl with his kibble tonight!!

The Noble Bayard

More About Dahlias

On my recent dahlia post, fellow blogger and organic gardener Oceannah commented:

Dahlia’s never do very well here and I’ve stopped growing them. It may be the cool mountain nights, not sure.

Oceannah lives in the mountains of New York.  I live in the hot and humid Ohio valley.  Dahlias grow like weeds here, while I struggle to get a few blooms from my foxgloves and delphiniums.

That started me wondering about the history and origins of dahlias.  What I found was very interesting!

Dahlias are warm weather plants, occurring naturally in Mexico and South America, where the Spaniards first “discovered” them. They are the national flower of Mexico.

The earliest reference to them occurred in 1615, but were then considered as an edible tuber rather than an ornamental flowering plant. At first, they didn’t attract much notice in Europe and weren’t recorded again until the late 18th century when the first tubers were sent back to Europe.

The dahlia was considered primarily an edible plant until 1815 when the first double flowered varieties were bred in Belgium and they quickly became a popular garden plant. They hybridize very easily and by the late 19th Century more than a hundred different varieties were listed.

 
They were common in the Victorian gardens, and persist as a popular cottage garden plant. They are easy to grow in fertile, well-drained soil. They favor sunny locations, and thrive in heat and humidity.

 
Today there are over 50,000 different dahlias in cultivation, and to try to bring a degree of order to the bewildering array of shapes, sizes and colors of dahlia flowers they are classified in ten different groups, ranging from Single and Anemone Flowered types to Pompoms, Large Decorative and Cactus flowered dahlias. At this point the classifying committee seems to have given up, and the tenth group is named simply “Miscellaneous”.

Dahlias love heat, humidity and sun, all present in abundance in southern Ohio. South America’s gift is much appreciated in my garden!!
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