Monday, September 14, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Dahlias, dahlias, and more dahlias

As the title indicates, this week's "In a Vase on Monday" post is all about dahlias.  They put a positive spin on what has otherwise been a dismal week.  We're luckier than many people in California and the Pacific Northwest but it's hard not to get depressed when everything around us is shrouded in a smoky haze and our air quality vacillates between "unhealthy for sensitive groups" to flat-out "unhealthy," coming close to "very unhealthy" at some points when the wind shifts.

When our view of the Los Angeles harbor is obscured like this, the cause is usually the marine layer that helps keep temperatures down; however, it's smoke blown in from wildfires both north and east of us that has kept the harbor partially or entirely hidden for days now

While the smaller dahlia buds in my cutting garden were scorched during our recent heatwave, the larger buds and those already starting to open fared relatively well.  One of these, Dahlia 'Iceberg', mocked its name and bloomed despite the fact that its outer petals were badly singed the week before.

I took this photo of 'Iceberg's' bud on September 8th, as our heatwave was waning.  I considered cutting it on the spot to encourage new buds but I decided to wait it out and see if it would bloom anyway.

Unless you saw the back of the flower, you probably wouldn't know 'Iceberg' had been damaged at all.  Dahlia 'Enchantress', which joined 'Iceberg' in this arrangement, was wholly unaffected by the heatwave.

Back view: Cosmos and Zinnias served as fillers

The top view allows 'Enchantress' to strut her stuff

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Enchantress', Cosmos bipinnatus, Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata', Dahlia 'Iceberg', and lilac and purple Zinnia elegans

Dahlia 'Labyrinth' has also defied expectations.  I grew a dahlia labeled as 'Labyrinth' last year that flowered with blooms that were a pale imitation of the blooms I got this year.  This dahlia, grown from a new tuber, has also been the most prolific in my garden by far this year.

There were eight flowers in full bloom on 'Labyrinth' this morning and I cut five of them for this arrangement

I was tempted to accent the dahlias with foliage alone but, in the end, I couldn't help throwing in a few things to dress up the back view

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Labyrinth', Abelia grandiflora 'Hopley's Variegated', Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum', and Zinnia elegans.  I sowed my Zinnia seeds haphazardly again this year so I can only guess that the first two Zinnias are  from the 'Unicorn Mix' and  the last is 'Envy'.

Dahlia 'Mr Optimist' has also been an exuberant grower, although the open blooms I failed to cut last week shriveled when our temperature reached 108F (42C) during the worst of our heatwave.  I therefore felt I owed it to him to showcase a few of the blooms that made an appearance over the course of the past week.

I kept this arrangement relatively simple

I used two varieties of yellow-flowered Lantana to pick up the yellow touches in the tips of the dahlia petals

Top view

From the left: self-sown Amaranthus, Dahlia 'Mr Optimist', and variegated Lantana 'Samantha'.  (I also used Lantana 'Lucky Yellow'.)

For more IAVOM creations, visit the woman leading our parade, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.



All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. Kris, you've been in my thoughts this week. The fires and smoke are a tragedy. Your Dahlias look quite beautiful. All are spectacular in their own way.

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    1. Thanks Susie, we're okay, at least as long as we don't spend gobs of time outside. I hope your daughter and her husband are okay as well.

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  2. Your dahlias are gorgeous. Love them all. My dad used to allow my brother and I to each choose a tuber at the Pacific National Exhibition Dahlia Show. He would order them and grow them in his dahlia bed. For me dahlias are hit and miss but I still try and grow them every year to remember my dad. Stay safe.

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    1. Thanks Elaine. A new dahlia tuber (or rather two) every year seems like a good plan to me, or it will be if I manage to take care of the tubers I've got that are worth saving to replant next year. I'm already skinnying down the number in this year's crop I intend to keep.

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  3. Wow, truly awesome Dahlias. Well grown!

    Mine are badly scorched.

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    1. While I lost most of the smaller dahlia buds to scorch during the heatwave, the larger ones and most of the open blooms survived the experience relatively well. I think the fact that I keep my dahlias in the cutting garden on the north side of the house and water that area more lavishly than any other area of my garden may have helped.

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  4. "Labyrinth" is just incredible. I never thought to pick cosmos for vases.

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    1. 'Labyrinth' is truly gorgeous, Lisa. Cut Cosmos flowers work fairly well in floral arrangements, although the blooms last only 4-5 days in my experience.

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  5. The air quality must be a constant concern. particularly for those with exisisting breathing and chest issues. It is fascinating to see your contrasting dahlias this week - I especially like the vase with the cosmos and zinnia supporting the dahlias

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    1. California, including Los Angeles, has expressed pride in the progress we've made in combating air pollution in the past but that's gone out the window during the last few years as wildfires have become worse and worse. I don't have any significant respiratory issues but the smoke has been really bothering me this past week - and our situation isn't nearly as dire as that faced by Oregon residents.

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  6. What stalwarts! Your delightful dahlias and zinnias are an inspiration! Sitting there looking so fresh and pretty having had such difficult conditions in which to bloom - heat, smoke and scorching sunshine! I am sure all the love you have for your flowers and your garden have encouraged them to shine for you today - and us! Thank you for such beautiful flowers today Kris. Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2020/09/a-simple-vase-on-monday

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    1. I don't know if it was love or all the extra water they received leading up to the heatwave that made the difference, Amanda - but maybe those are one and the same thing to a plant!

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  7. Dahlias are the most luscious flowers and yours are perfect! I do love the cactus varieties best with their wildly curling petals.
    I am sorry about your air quality, and the grim daily news all up the coast. Portland is purported to have the worst air quality in the world today. Such a nightmarish, eerie quality of light. Stay safe and well, Kris.

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    1. Portland is having a MUCH harder time with air quality than we are, Eliza, but it's still tiring and depressing to be forced indoors here. I can now sympathize more closely with apartment-dwellers who don't have gardens to retreat to during this pandemic.

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  8. Your vases are so fresh and beautiful - such a contrast to the smoke filled atmosphere outside. My thoughts are with you. I hope it is not causing you any health problems, but having to stay inside must be hard.

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    1. Thanks Sandra. The poor air quality causes some minor health irritations but our circumstances aren't nearly as bad as those of people living in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

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  9. All gorgeous Kris! Even the Amaranthus, which I am not so keen on usually, looks fabulous the way you have used it. So lovely that your dahlias don't mind the heat. The pink mix with Cosmos is my favourite today. :-)

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    1. Some people manage to make Amaranthus look interesting and dramatic, Cathy. I tried but I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge.

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  10. Your dahlias are beautiful as is everything that comes out of your garden Kris. Praying for all out west as the wild fires seem to be raging everywhere. As wonderfully beautiful as California is, this is when I'm always glad I live in the east. Be safe.

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    1. Every region has it's climate-related challenges it seems, Cindy, but, yes, those posed by California's hot, dry conditions and often fierce winds can be deadly.

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  11. Enjoying your blog over the last months, I’ve learned to prefer more bloom colors! I now find that I not only love your bright magenta pink blooms calmed with the white cosmos, but I also adore the more subtle peach tones of your 2nd vase. Labyrinth will be one of my top choices for dahlia tubers for next year. I was in Corona del Mar for a meeting yesterday morning and the air quality was rated “moderate” rather than “unhealthy for sensitive.” It’s strange not to enjoy our good air quality for so long, however, it is hard to keep spirits up knowing the suffering those directly impacted by the fires are going through.

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    1. I hope our air quality improves soon, Kay - and pray the same will be true for those up north as well! The government site shows an AQI of 167 here today, though :(

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  12. I am quite smitten with that Dahlia 'Labyrinth' and the arrangement you made around it.

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    1. This year's 'Labyrinth' is so NOT last year's 'Labyrinth', Loree!

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  13. Beautiful - especially "Labyrinth". Reminds me of a sunny, summer day (with clear skies!)

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    1. I'm longing for those clear skies myself, Hans. We're in the "unhealthy" category again this morning.

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