Monday, October 12, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Sprinting to the finish line

Most of my dahlias are showing signs of finishing up their season.  Flower stalks have grown overly tall; blooms are getting smaller; and foliage is mildewing.  The majority peaked right in the middle of our last heatwave.  Some bloomed out so quickly they ended up in my compost bin.  Faced with too many blooms to use even after handing some off to friends, I left six bottles filled with dahlias and zinnias on the curb for neighbors and other passers-by to take last week.  Yesterday morning I cut all the dahlias that were in full bloom, filling six vases for the house.  Two of those contained blooms that were past their prime but I'll share the other four here.

Vase #1:

Dahlias 'Belle of Barmera' and 'Labyrinth' played the starring roles in this arrangement

'Belle of Barmera' has pretty blooms but its foliage is hideous and I don't think I'll be making room for it next year

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Labyrinth' (a winner by any measure), Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Correa 'Wyn's Wonder' (aka variegated Australian fuchsia), Dahlia 'Belle of Barmera', and Zinnia elegans 'Queen Lime Blush'

Vase #2:

Dahlia 'Mr Optimist' was the inspiration for this vase but, when I discovered aphids on two of the blooms and tossed them, I added two other dahlias to fill out the arrangement, using Alstroemeria 'Inca Sunshine' to mediate their differences

Back view: I also used zinnias as fillers

Top view: I initially had reservations about this arrangement but now it's my personal favorite this week

Clockwise from the upper left: Abelia grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope', Dahlia 'Mr Optimist', D. 'Loverboy', D. 'Candlelight', Lantana 'Samantha', Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', red and yellow Zinnia elegans and, in the middle, Alstroemeria 'Inca Sunshine'

Vase #3:

Dahlia 'Rip City' is running neck and neck with 'Enchantress' as the most prolific bloomer among this year's dahlia crop but the zinnia blooms may have eclipsed it in this arrangement

Back view: Very similar to the front view

Top view

Clockwise from the left: Dahlia 'Rip City', Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', and Zinnia elegans 'Benary Giant Lilac' and 'Benary Giant Purple'

Vase #4:

With another heatwave in the offing, I couldn't bring myself to leave the very large Dahlia 'Iceberg' bloom to face incineration.  The blue Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) blooms are holdovers from one of last week's vases.  The buds on cut stems open in a lavender color rather than dark blue.

Back view: In retrospect, the arrangement might have looked better without the Salvia stems

Top view

Clockwise from the left: Dahlia 'Iceberg', Baleria obtusa (aka bush violet) with Eustoma grandiflorum, Salvia leucantha, and Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light'

Although yet another heatwave it expected to start today and continue for several days, I expect stray blooms out of many of my dahlias before I give up on them in November and dig up the tubers to make room for cool season flowers in my cutting garden.  Dahlias 'Labyrinth', 'Enchantress', and 'Rip City' certainly seem ready to continue blooming for awhile yet.  I still have high hopes for 'Gitts Crazy' which finally has bloom stalks (five of them!) studded with buds, and I haven't entirely given up on 'Rancho', part of the last, very late shipment of tubers I received in early May.

For more arrangements this week, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to find links to other IAVOM posts.



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



34 comments:

  1. All absolutely gorgeous - as always Kris - but I do think Rip City has the edge for me! What a velvety and sumptuous bloom! Just lovely. Four vases! I managed to scrape together just one this week which I can only display on Instagram, so hope to 'see' you there! Amanda

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    1. I'm sorry that your problems with Blogger continue, Amanda, but I always check out your posts on Instagram.

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    2. Thank you Kris! It's always lovely to see you there. Instagram is good fun and there seems to be quite a good handful of IAVOM bloggers there these days. I am trying to set up a new blog, same name, with WordPress but haven't got very far so far!! It will happen!! A

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    3. Best wishes in getting things rolling with WordPress!

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  2. Picked the last of my dahlias last night which is a good thing as woke up to a white winter wonderland this morning. I have grown Rip City before and after looking at your lovely arrangements will try it again this year.

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    1. I'm very impressed with 'Rip City', even if the blooms aren't as large as some others. I'm sorry that the cold has enveloped you already, Elaine. Here, we're once again in heatwave territory.

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  3. Those are really beautiful. I love all the color combinations.

    I was thinking this morning while chopping down more dead Dahlia stems, that Dahlias mean two things: Summer, when they are flowering, and the End Of Summer, when its time to chop them down.

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    1. All I could think of when I was looking at my deteriorating dahlia (and zinnia) foliage is that I've got to get the ball rolling in planting my warm season cutting garden much earlier next year, HB. I let the timeline get away from me this year.

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  4. Gorgeous dahlias, Kris. I think my favorite vases are #2 and #3 - the bright cheer of #2 and burgundy and pink combined for #3. I'm seriously considering Labyrinth, Rip City and Candlelight for next season. Do you recommend them?

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    1. I think all three of those dahlias are winners, Eliza. I grew what was reported to be 'Labyrinth' last year but clearly wasn't - this year's tuber performed much better and had deeper color. 'Rip City' has smaller blooms but it's vigorous and very dramatic. 'Candlelight' is unlike any others I've grown in form but I've come to love it, although it's less prolific with its blooms than the other two.

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  5. Beautiful dahlias Kris. Your neighbours and passers-by must have been delighted to come across your spares. Do you lift all your dahlias? I thought that maybe it was mild and dry enough over winter with you to be able to leave them all in the ground.

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    1. Technically, I don't need to lift the dahlia tubers in my climate, Anna, but I do as I use the raised planters in the cutting garden in which they're planted year-round. Dahlia tubers rot easily if they get a lot of water and fertilizer while in their dormant state before they produce new roots and I'll be replanting the cutting garden with cool season flowering plants soon (sweet pea seeds, anemones and the like), fertilizing and watering as necessary to get those plants going.

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  6. Gosh - 4 vases today, Kris! Well you did say you cut ALL your dahlias! They have certainly done you proud this year. Onreflection I think I like the second one best too - the alstroemeria pulls everything else in it togather

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    1. I struggled with that second arrangement, Cathy, but I was happy with how it came together.

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  7. Wow, this looks like a grand finale post for the dahlias! Aren't they all wonderful! I am surprised that I like the white one best of all. I am also very impressed with the neat stems in your glass vase number two. ;-)

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    1. There probably will be a few more dahlias, Cathy, but we're definitely nearing the end of the season. I'm looking forward to 'Gitts Crazy' providing blooms for at least a couple of vases before I dig it up. The experts say it's a "late" bloomer and they weren't kidding!

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  8. Kris, what a bounty of blooms. It's nice seeing that last image of all 4 vases. I like them all, each vase is filled with joyful color and texture. I really like the way you've used Rip City.

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    1. Thanks Susie. The season seems to be coming to an end all too soon but my delay in getting started this year was the biggest factor there.

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  9. Those are some frilly, fluffy dahlias that certainly would brighten any room. They are really pretty, and I'm not even a dahlia fan. It is always sad to say good-bye to a flower for the season. I'm spending lots of time in my garden trying to soak up every last minute I have with them. Maybe the frost will hold off, but it's supposed to get down to 37 one night this week.

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    1. I'd love it if we'd get a bit cooler, Cindy, but 37F would be taking things too far. Even our "cool spell" last week could hardly be described as "crisp" fall weather.

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  10. They are so beautiful, Kris. I'm going to have to try more Dahlias next year. The ones I overwintered in peat moss, survived and grew again but they never flowered. I don't know if it's because of lack of sun or because it was only the second year for the tubers. I'll try them again, and maybe I'll buy some new ones because they are so beautiful. :)

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    1. I've heard other gardeners speak of dahlias that produced good foliage but never flowered, Beth. It could be that the dahlia tubers in question didn't have proper "eyes," from which the bloom stalks start but, this year, I noticed that some of mine didn't produce buds until I provided a couple of applications of "bloom booster" fertilizer. They're heavy feeders and, once they've sprouted, they benefit from applications of fertilizer with a high "P" count.

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  11. Oh my! Four floral arrangements? I saw your IG post first today, and so I knew your favorite before looking through this blog. I like the first 3 arrangements for their own merits! The first with that gorgeous vase is sublime! I like each component in it. The 2nd arrangement with Mr. Optimist has warm red and yellow colors of my alma mater. The 3rd has the gorgeous Rip City with and those bright zinnias with Leptospermum stems and leaves that perfectly blend with the flowers. I’m also loving the silvery Westringia with the Dahlia Iceberg of the last vase. Very impressive!!!

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    1. Thanks Kay! That first vase came from The Huntington's gift shop 2 or 3 years ago. My husband took me to the garden on my birthday and bought the vase for me when I admired it.

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  12. Hi Kris, all your vases are beautiful as always. My favourite is no. 1 :). I certainly wouldn't be able to fill four vases with such lushness. I know from experience that Dahlias don't appreciate heat waves and are fairly thirsty so it must be quite a job to keep them going where you are. I wonder if you have problems with mildew? I hope you'll get a cooler spell soon. Happy October days, Annette

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    1. We're still waiting for our all too short rainy season to start, Annette, but we've seen a return of our morning marine layer, increasing our humidity at least in the early hours of the day. That moisture, followed by high temperatures, brings on mildew with a vengeance, which is happening now, affecting both dahlias and zinnias.

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  13. You still have some pretty flowers for your vases. It is always fun to see what is happening in those vases. Have a good week.

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    1. I struggle at this time of year, Lisa, as I hate to see the dahlias and zinnias go but, at the same time, I really need to clear the raised planters in my cutting garden to make way for foxglove plugs, anemone bulbs and seeds to get my cool season garden off to a good start.

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  14. Dahlia 'Labyrinth' is indeed magnificent. If I have to select a favorite, it will be the first vase, although sometimes it's hard to point to the exact reason, as all of them would look great in my home!
    You may cut your Dahlias to save them from a heat wave, I lose them to multiple days of rain in Seattle, which turn the blooms to a special kind of ugly mush.

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    1. There's little chance of my dahlias coming to a wet end. It's the diminishing flower count and mildewed foliage that'll have me digging up the tubers all too soon.

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  15. Six vases! Sounds absolutely wonderful.

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    1. My cutting garden is barer than it's been in months at the moment!

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  16. Encouraging to see beautiful. Things here are so scorched.

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    1. I noticed plants really struggling today, even though temperatures haven't been quite as high here during the current heatwave as they were during the prior ones. I don't know if that's because I did less watering in advance of this event, or if the plants are just tired of coping with the heat.

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