Monday, September 20, 2021

In a Vase on Monday: It's all about the dahlias

At last, the dahlias seem to be getting in gear.  My zinnias are already giving in to mildew and I expect that the dahlias may soon follow so there's little reason not to grow for broke and cut nearly every bloom as it makes an appearance.  That philosophy led to the creation of three arrangements this week.  I was tempted to put together a fourth but that was too much even for me.

Dahlia 'Gitt's Crazy' takes its time reaching bloom stage but, when it does, it doesn't seemed inclined to stop.

The dahlia's flowers start out a fuchsia-pink berry color but turn a soft gold as they mature

Back view: I planted Zinnia 'Queen Lime Orange' at the base of 'Gitt's Crazy' in a half barrel on a guess that the two would look good together so it seemed natural to use the zinnias as a filler in this arrangement

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Abelia grandiflora 'Hopley's Variegated', Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Eriocapitella hupehensis (aka Japanese anemone), Dahlia 'Gitt's Crazy', and Zinnia elegans 'Queen Lime Orange'

Like 'Gitt's Crazy', Dahlia 'Loverboy' is a holdover from last year.  The tuber I saved was small and I almost tossed it in April but I decided it wouldn't hurt to pop it into a small plastic pot to see what happened.  It sprouted and, when space opened up in one of the raised planters in my cutting garden, I moved it here, not really expecting much.  To my surprise, it produced buds and, late last week, its first bloom.

I hadn't remembered that 'Loverboy' was as dark as it is.  It leans toward the blue end of the red spectrum, which ruled out pairing it with the first blooms of Dahlia 'Waltzing Mathilda' as I'd originally planned.  The latter is more a scarlet red with an orange tinge.

Back view: As Zinnia 'Queen Red Lime' is now heavily mildewed, I cut as many flowers as I could in the interest of using them before I feel compelled to pull up the plants

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Correa 'Wyn's Wonder', Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum', Dahlia 'Loverboy', and Zinnia elegans 'Queen Red Lime'

Dahlia 'Enchantress', also a holdover from prior years, is challenging 'Gitt's Crazy' in the bloom department, winning it inclusion in another arrangement this week.

I added one stem of Zinnia 'Benary's Giant Wine' to the mix.  Interestingly, some of these seed-sown zinnias are purplish in color like this one, which others are more definitely red.

Back view: This white gladiola is the best flower I've had yet from the mix I ordered last year.  Perhaps last week's cooler temperatures helped to keep the bloom looking good for more than a day.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Angelonia 'Archangel White', Cosmos bipinnatus, noID Gladiolus, Dahlia 'Enchantress, Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', Pelargonium peltatum (aka ivy geranium), Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata', and Zinnia elegans 'Benary's Giant Wine'


We had a lovely stretch of cool temperatures last week, allowing me to start some of my fall garden projects.  It's expected to get warmer again this week but then that back and forth bounce between summer and fall is par for the course here.  However, work in the garden may be confined to early morning and late afternoon hours until cooler temperatures return.

For more IAVOM creations, visit our host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party






30 comments:

  1. A lovely mix of summer and autumn in your vases Kris! So pretty and diverse - as always! My favourites are the zinnias - the colours are just so interesting and arty! Love them! Amanda. /therunningwave290580645.wordpress.com/2021/09/20/hanging-on-to-summer-in-vase-on-monday/

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    1. Sadly, Amanda, the zinnias always seem to be the first to collect mildew. Both the varieties I used this week have foliage that's more white than green now. I won't be able to stand them much longer :(

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  2. I am so pleased your dahlias are proving their woth for you now, Kris - definitely worth waiting for. The ones in your first vse really do some to glow, but I especially love the shades in your third vase today. At first I thought Enchantress looked like some sort of strawflower!

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    1. Of all the dahlias that sprouted for me, only one, 'Iceberg', has yet to produce buds, although it looks very much like it's getting ready to do so. Now, the race is on for those in bud to produce blooms before the seasonal shift leads to the plants' decline. Plant drama!

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  3. Dahlias are definitely a flower that look best in excess. Well done!

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    1. Only a few have been truly prolific but I've found that to be true in prior years too. Oddly, the one I bought as a full size plant (with buds) from a local (Orange County) grower is not among those. It still has lots of buds but the few that have opened are wonky.

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  4. The second arrangement knocked my socks off! I'd say it's one of my all time favorites. The colors, the shapes, the vase: a blue ribbon winner.

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    1. That second vases makes everything that goes into it look good. It was a birthday gift from my husband several years ago.

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  5. All three vases are wonderful. Love the lilting arc of the second one withDahlia 'Loverboy' as the star. Your dahlias have been great this year and your zinnias as well.

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    1. The dahlias were SO slow to get going this year, Susie. It made me crazy. I'm wondering what kind of output I'm going to get before the season ends from those that have only now produced their first buds.

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  6. All three arrangements are winners. Nothing like dahlias to create such intense colours. Your Gitts Crazy is stunning. Glad to hear you are cooling down a bit. Weather has been lovely here so getting lots of Fall plants in the ground.

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    1. We climbed back to 80F (26C) today, Elaine, but I don't count that as bad. I was still able to get some work done in the garden this afternoon in relative comfort. Fingers crossed that's the worst this "warm up" is going to get.

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  7. All great vases Kris. I think that the second is my favourite for it's colours and the sense of flow. It does make sense indeed to rescue those attractive dahlia flowers before mildew spoils them.

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    1. So far, the dahlias are holding their own with little to no sign of mildew. It's the zinnias that are covered in it.

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  8. All three arrangements are different, yet equally beautiful, Kris. Two summer favorites of mine are dahlias and zinnias. Always happy to see them!
    I learned only recently that powdery mildew thrives in dry conditions, not humid as I once thought. We had a dry June and the PW is terrible this year. I really must get on a weekly fungicide spray regimen! Spring is a busy time here and that is one chore that doesn't always get done.
    Hope the Santa Ana winds aren't too bad this week. They really can whip things up!

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    1. My understanding is that powdery mildew flourishes when damp mornings, courtesy of our marine layer, are followed by warm, dry afternoons. We're getting a lot of that combination now. I appreciate the cooler afternoon temperatures we get as a result of the marine layer but I hate mildew. I'm reluctant to spray but I may explore than option next year. Fungicides can be harmful to bees so I need to look into organic fungicides using baking powder or something similar.

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  9. I lost some Dahlias this year so I'm glad to enjoy yours. I've decided that Dahlias aren't garden plants here and need to be segregated 'off-stage' so to speak. The flowers look great but between leaf-miner and spider mites the plants look crappy. Love the Dahlia-Zinnia combos !

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    1. I haven't had spider mite issues but leaf miner is a regular problem for me too, Kathy. This year, I tried spraying the plants with Neem oil early on, before anything was flowering in my cutting garden to minimize the impact on beneficial insects. However, even when it's not badly marred, I'm not really impressed by dahlia foliage. The exception is some of the dark-foliage dahlias. I think 'Waltzing Mathilda' is very attractive. It's flowers aren't very flashy, though.

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  10. The color change on 'Gitt's Crazy' must be exciting to watch, both on the plant and in the vase. I do love the way you've been able to dovetail the dahlia and zinnia colors, though it sounds like there won't be too much more overlap now. I've enjoyed seeing your combinations.
    I've also enjoyed seeing your glads this week and last. I've been wondering about trying some here, but if the blooms don't last long for you, they'll be even briefer here as we're still running more than ten degrees warmer. (Temperatures are supposed to stay down in the upper nineties this week... enough said!)

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    1. I had very good luck with gladiolas last year, Amy, but this year their performance could be called disappointing at best. I'm not sure I'll try them next year :(

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  11. Well it looks like your ship has finally come in! Amazing how these cooler night temperatures and changing day length just set the garden blooming again. Enjoy!

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    1. Last week was heavenly in terms of the temperatures, wasn't it?! Yesterday wasn't bad but it's already quite toasty here today - 85F and still climbing. The forecast I just heard is that tomorrow will be warmer still with temperatures slated to head back down on Thursday.

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  12. Lovely. Dahlias make summer bearable--almost.

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    1. Yes, dahlias have brightened my outlook too. We've hit 95F this afternoon so apparently summer is hanging on. I'd understood that the higher temperatures would be driven by Santa Ana winds but there's been no sign of wind at all.

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  13. What a wonderful array of flowers! The dahlias are gorgeous, especially Enchantress. And I love that orange lime zinnia. The garden show I visited in summer used lots of the lime series ones, but I didn't see the orange one. Beautifully arranged too Kris.

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    1. The 'Queen Lime Orange' Zinnia is my favorite, Cathy. Sadly, it's been hit the hardest by powdery mildew and will probably be among the first zinnias I pull.

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    1. Most of the dahlias have been somewhat miserly with their blooms, Amelia. 'Gitt's Crazy', 'Enchantress' and 'Akita' are exceptions.

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  15. All three vase arrangements are beautiful! 'Gitt's Crazy' is the best, especially when paired with Zinnia 'Queen Lime Orange'!

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    1. I love 'Gitt's Crazy' too. The plant itself is huge! Sadly, I'm probably going to pull those 'Queen Lime Orange' (and the 'Queen Red Lime') zinnias soon as the mildew is terrible :(

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