Monday, October 22, 2018

In a Vase on Monday: Bidding adieux to my dahlias and zinnias

I'd hoped that I could keep the dahlias and zinnias in my cutting garden going until the end of the month but last week's Santa Ana winds, also known as "devil winds," knocked out the blooms of all but one variety of the dahlias and badly dried out the zinnias.  That's not to suggest that these plants were looking great before the wind arrived.  The dahlia blooms had steadily decreased in size; weak stems caused most of the flowers to flop; and leaf-miner had begun to badly mar the foliage.  The zinnias' foliage has mildewed and foraging raccoons have already trampled some of the plants.  So, with one possible exception, I expect to pull all those plants this week to make way for my winter cutting garden.  It's already running late to sow sweet pea seeds here and I have a number of other seeds I'd like to direct sow, as well as ranunculus corms that need planting.

I'll store the dahlia tubers for use next year but I want to bid them a fond farewell for the season.  Despite the hot, dry winds that blew all last week, Dahlia 'Punkin Spice' manged to produce another bumper crop of flowers.  As the foliage I used in last week's vase was still in good shape, I've reused it for my first vase this week, simply refreshing the floral elements.

'Punkin Spice' was the best performer among this year's dahlia crop in my cutting garden

Last week's vase containing these dahlias had landed on my dining table so I'd planned to move this week's version to the front entry but, as the back view looks so good, I had to give it a position where it can be viewed from all sides

This view from the top highlights the variations in the dahlias' petal color

Clockwise from the upper left: Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', berries of Auranticarpa rhombifolium (now splitting to reveal the seeds inside), Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder', gold Zinnia elegans (looking just a little like sunflowers), an assortment of other Zinnias, and 2 views of Dahlia 'Punkin Spice' (again showing off its color variations)


The berry and wine-colored zinnias were also still blooming well, even if the foliage looks horrible, so I cut most of those for a second vase.

In retrospect, these flowers might have looked better in a vase that allowed a looser arrangement

The back view shows off the Leptospermum flowers that began blooming in earnest again this past week

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Zinnia elegans, Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey', Gomphreana decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom' and Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl'


The bush violets (Barleria obtusa) began blooming last week so I decided to make use of them and my beloved Plectranthus 'Zulu Wonder' before their relatively short bloom periods are over.

I had a few more lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) make an appearance following our recent rainstorm

The bush violets drop continuously but luckily those in bud continue to open

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Barleria obtusa, 4 varieties of Eustoma grandiflorum (the darkest one is 'Black Pearl' but I don't have cultivar IDs for the others), Symphyotrichum chilense, and, in the center, Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Wonder'


Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to find other IAVOM arrangements created from materials on hand.  Have a colorful week!



All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

36 comments:

  1. Wow! Those are all lovely, but the first one got my heart racing.

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    1. 'Punkin Spice' is definitely made for you, Loree!

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  2. Goodbye sweet Punkin' Spice. Farewell Loverboy. Adieu Terracotta. We'll miss you Strawberry Ice. A trio of gorgeous arrangements!

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    1. Hey, do you have something against 'Otto's Thrill'?! ;) I'd hoped for one more round with 'Loverboy' but a week of high winds took a lot out of him and he needs a long winter's rest before he'll be presentable again.

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  3. Kris, lovely as always and I like the vase with the Zinnias, just planted a Heirloom Lavendar Cactus Zinnia, fingers crossed. I think if you can grow Dahlias I should be able to!! Punkin Spice is lovely and I think the first vase is my favorite.

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    1. Dahlias DO love water (at least once the tubers have sprouted) and you have plenty of that, Amelia!

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  4. Kris, I love all three of these richly colored vases. The purples/blues make my heart sing!

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    1. I'm hoping the purple and blue flowers will last awhile yet, Susie, but we do have another round of Santa Ana winds on their way so I'm not laying odds.

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  5. Love your zinnias Kris! They are one of my favourite summer flowers and I really must get some in my little garden next summer! I remember my grandmother extolling the virtues of their 'artistic' colours! And she was right - they do have the most glorious colours ranging from knock-your-socks-off vibrant to beautiful subtle arty pastel shades. Love them - and the aster in your Monday arrangements this week! Thank you. Amanda

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    1. I've fallen head over heels for dahlias, Amanda. I don't think late summer and fall would be the same without them.

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  6. I love them all....but oh those blues! We just don't get many blues that do well here, and having come from the land of Delphiniums in the Northeast, I have a soft spot for them!!

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  7. April violets ... but not up North.

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    1. Barleria obtusa is almost too vigorous here, Diana, but I'll forgive plants with blue flowers just about anything. I do have to hack them back each year, though, and they self-seed like crazy.

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  8. Oh how I wish I had flowers for that many vases but the cold has dried up my garden.....I have never experienced those winds of yours but they look brutal. I think my favorite is that first dahlia...what a color.

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    1. Well, as you know, cold is not a problem here, Donna! Those winds are nasty, though, especially as they significantly raise the risk of wildfires.

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    1. Dahlias and zinnias have really brightened late summer and early fall here, Lisa.

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  10. You sure have gotten plenty of mileage out of your Dahlias. I hear you on the floppy stems and the damnable leaf-miners.I can not plant Dahlias for a few years but the second I do the little devils are back at it.

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    1. I don't recall having the problem with leaf-miners last year, Kathy, at least not with respect to the dahlias. I didn't even notice any damage until about a week ago but, when they got going, they went to town!

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  11. You are a great designer, Kris. All three are so lovely. While hot winds did your dahlias in, frost ended mine. End of a great season. I'm surprised that you get powdery mildew with your lack of rain. Is there dew every night? I'm envious you will be planting sweet peas and ranunculus. Instead I'm heading into the jaws of winter! ;)

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    1. No sign of winter here, Eliza - the Santa ana winds brought temperatures up near 90F late last week! The return of the morning marine layer is probably the main cause of the powdery mildew. That's what causes the downfall of my sweet peas in early spring too.

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  12. Just amazing! I like them all; I really can't pick a favorite. All but a very few of my flowers are now former flowers because of this past weekend's freeze. It had to happen sometime, but it's always difficult. Soon I'll be digging out my Dahlia tubers, too, for the winter. :(

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    1. Dahlia tubers can stay in place in my climate but because I plant them in my cutting garden and wish to use the space for other "crops" in winter and spring, I've been pulling them up each year. It's time-consuming but then it provides me the opportunity to divide them too.

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  13. Three beautiful arrangements! I have a lot of weak floppy stems on all my Dahlias, I really should just cut them all back and use them in a big arrangement. I wish I had sown Zinnias this year. I'm going to really make sure I have a spot for them next year.

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    1. Yes, cut those dahlias, Alison, and share one of your pretty vases!

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  14. As always you have created some gorgeous arrangements Kris. I love the first one especially (the golden zinnia is a treasure!) possibly beacause I am in an autumn mood and those colours signify autumn for me. Interesting to hear the gardening problems you encounter. Thank goodness we don't have raccoons here! We do however have mice and slugs! I have only tried growing dahlias once and they also got mildew in the end. Your fond farewell to them for this year is lovely. :)

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    1. Thanks Cathy! I'm not going to say anything about being grateful not to have mice as the last time I said that about rabbits, they made the first appearance anyone in the area had seen in decades...

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  15. All three are stunning Kris,I love your selection of gorgeous flowers. Your dahlia, Punkin Spice is a lovely colour. My zinnias have bitten the dust now but the dahlias are still going strong.

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    1. I'm wondering if the combination of the return of our marine layer, our first rainstorm, and the arrival of our Santa Ana winds in rapid succession threw my poor dahlias into shock. Oh well, it was time to get the winter cutting garden planted anyway!

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  16. Everyone is killing me with their zinnias. ha Loving the blue flowers and of course the zinnias.

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    1. That's a good reminder not to skip the zinnias next year, Pat!

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  17. You do it every time, Kris! I start off admiring the first one, but then a second one comes along and I am torn - and then a third one! I know we don't need to choose a favourite and they each have their own special attraction. Have we seen the vase before that your first blooms are in? I love the crinkly shape of it, like one of those folded card lampshades.The pinks in your second vase are especially pretty but you know how I adore your blue lisianthus!

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    1. I've used that vase in the first photos before but those orange dahlias did an especially good job of showing it off, I think! Luckily, the lisianthus continue to surprise me with blooms here and there.

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  18. Oh what a fabulous show from your last dahlias and zinnias Kris. We had a mild frost last night but tonight's temperatures are predicted to dip lower so I will be bidding adieu to mine too.

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    1. I'd been hoping to hold onto at least one or 2 of my dahlias for a bit longer yet, Anna, but the hot, dry winds we had the week before took the energy out of them. If it's not one weather challenge, it's another it seems.

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