Monday, September 6, 2021

In a Vase on Monday: My timing was a little off

My dahlias are gradually making progress, displaying more buds and a few more blooms, but it's a toss-up as to whether the blooms will beat out the progression of mildewed foliage, which is already developing in small amounts.  After a nice stretch of cooler than normal temperatures last week, the heat returned for the Labor Day holiday weekend.  We still haven't passed the 100F mark but we did reach 97F (36C) yesterday afternoon and, after three hot, dry days, the dahlias I'd  targeted for for this week's arrangements were no longer looking their best.  I tossed two blooms of Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait Royal' in the compost heap but I couldn't bring myself to toss out the blooms of Dahlia 'Gitt's Crazy' I'd been eyeing since the middle of last week. 

This was what Dahlia 'Gitt's Crazy' looked like in my cutting garden early Tuesday evening
 
Rather than toss all three of these blooms, I tidied them up by removing masses of the lower petals

Back view

Top view: Three 'Candy Mountain' sunflowers bloomed on relatively short stems with small blooms so I cut those to include in the arrangement as well.  Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' has done relatively well this year but, like last year, the other sunflowers I sowed from seed appear stunted.

Clockwise from the upper left: Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Corokia virgata 'Sunsplash' (aka variegated wire bush), Dahlia 'Gitt's Crazy', and Helianthus 'Candy Mountain' 


In contrast, the flowers of Dahlia 'Enchantress' opened just as the weekend started and were still in fine shape early Sunday morning when I hurried through my selection process trying to stay ahead of the heat.

'Enchantress' is a star.  This is my third year growing the plant from divisions of the original tuber i purchased in 2019.  The flowers aren't as large as the dinnerplate varieties but they're flashy.

Back view: I threw in bits and pieces of everything I could find that was looking good in my garden following the latest blast of heat

Top view

Top row: Abelia grandiflora 'Hopley's Variegated', Angelonia 'Archangel White', and Cosmos bipinnatus
Middle row: Dahlia 'Enchantress', Eustoma grandiflorum, and noID white Gladiolus
Bottom row: Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', Pelargonium peltatum, and Digitalis 'Pink Panther'


Like the dahlias, the gladiolas have been disappointing this summer.  I don't recall any issues with them last year, other than that the majority bloomed all at once.  This summer, the gladiolas are opening one at a time, often with a break of more than a week in between blooms, with the flowers fading within a day.  I've already tossed out several because they looked too sorry to include in an arrangement.

I cut the Gladiolus 'Guinea' shown here to include in the first arrangement but I didn't like it with the dahlias.  Rather than toss it out, I stuck it in this small vase with a Zinnia 'Senora' flower I'd cut earlier.  The gladiola's color is interesting but it hasn't held up well either.

 



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


26 comments:

  1. The 'Gitt's Crazy' dahlia is gorgeous! We've just come back from vacation and I'll be trying to eke out a vase or two from my tiny dahlia patch. I need to get as much out of them as I can as it won't be too much longer until the frosts take care of them.

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    1. Your season is so much shorter than ours, Margaret :( I complain about the late start on mine this year but I can still at least hope for some dahlia blooms into October and, if I'm really lucky, November, although I noticed that the Zinnias are developing mildew faster than I'd hoped, which means the dahlias could follow. It's usually the mildew that has me pulling the plants up.

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  2. That first dahlia looks so similar to the 'Art Deco' that I used a few weeks ago - such a pretty variation of shades. I like th way the foliage curl as if reflecting the curves in the dahlia. I especially like your thrown-together-bit-of-everything second vase, and it is so nice to see Itsy Bitsy again - I did look outfor seeds, but couldn't find any

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    1. If it's any comfort, Cathy, I've never seen seeds of 'Itsy Bitsy' (or, as it's called in some areas, 'Little Grapes') either. I should really see if I can collect some from my plants - and get them to germinate.

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  3. Oh those Dahlia 'Gitt's Crazy' are gorgeous! Their vase-mates complement them well.

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    1. 'Gitt's Crazy' was one of my favorites last year too but, because it bloomed so late, I didn't get many flowers. This year, all my dahlias are blooming late so that seems less of a negative.

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  4. The first arrangement with ‘Gitt’s Crazy’ and the two foliage plants matches the colors of your beautiful table runner! ‘Gitt’s Crazy’ is so beautiful, it was worthwhile to save the blooms. The colors of the Gladiolus are also beautiful: perhaps next year it will flower earlier. The second floral arrangement is also beautiful and ‘Enchantress’ is another winner.

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    1. I love both those dahlias, Kay - and they're both grown from tuber divisions saved from last year. 'Gitt's Crazy' has had 2 years in the ground and 'Enchantress' has had 3. 'Loverboy', another holdover from 2019, also has buds.

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  5. Gitt's Crazy is stunning, actually very much like the colours of my sunflowers. As dahlias are not really drought-resistant, I guess you have to water them a fair bit. Have you ever tried the botanical species? Lovely vases which bring a smile to my face. Happy September days, Kris :)

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    1. Most of my dahlias are planted in my cutting garden precisely because they're water hogs, Annette. I planted a couple in one of my backyard borders but they're not doing well, even though I've given them extra water now and then, so they'll probably not remain there. I don't think the species plants are any less thirsty.

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  6. Gorgeous Dahlias, Kris. Regardless of how you got there with them.The Gomphrena is an inspired touch with the Enchantress. I think you are hotter than here, which surprises me - though our humidity is truly dreadful! I have charbroiled a few plants this summer...cool is coming.

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    1. SoCal is traditionally known for its "dry heat" but we've been getting more humidity blowing in from the monsoonal rain conditions in the desert southwest in recent years. High humidity definitely makes high temperatures feel even worse so I sympathize with you, Amelia.

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  7. Dahlias have the best form, always perfect. I have a similar dilemma with the older petals withering before the flower is finished blooming. I often trim them up when I am changing the water to get a few more days out of them.
    I love both dahlias and you've complemented each with great matches. I'm surprised you still have foxglove blooming. Ours are pretty much limited to June.
    Hope you get a break in the heat soon!

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    1. The foxgloves are a surprise to me too, Eliza. The blooms can't be said to be profuse and those still left in my cutting garden routinely get scorched.

      Our temperatures are forecast to remain on the high end all week but we were lucky to get a good marine layer this morning, which reduced our afternoon temperatures by a good 10 degrees Fahrenheit compared to Sunday's peak. The fog is moving in again this evening so I'm hoping we'll be lucky again tomorrow.

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  8. I love your dahlias! I've never seen the Itsy Bitsy before so I may try looking for those to grow next. Question: how do you keep your dahlias from getting burned leaves and burned flower petals? I live in Fullerton, CA and have been dealing with the same heatwave as you. Do you water your dahlias a lot more during the heatwaves? Thank you.

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    1. During the height of summer when its especially hot, I used to water the dahlias in the raised planters of my cutting garden three times a week. This year, because the drought is even more dire, I've been trying to keep it to twice a week but, if I see the flower stems seriously drooping either in the early morning or the early evening after the heat's backed off, I get out my watering can and give them an extra drink. My dahlias were significantly later to bloom this year and the blooms are still relatively sparse, circumstances I suspect are linked to our limited spring rainfall and the fact that I'm letting them go thirstier than I have in the past. However, that's obviously supposition on my part. I haven't had significant issues with burned leaves but I may be closer to the coast than you are - we get some benefit from the spotty morning marine layer. The lower flower petals do appear to be getting dried out more quickly than I've noted in the past.

      As I recall, I originally found Gomphrena sold under the 'Itsy Bitsy' name at Armstrong years ago. I haven't seen it there recently but the mail-order nursery, Annie's Annuals & Perennials (based in Northern California), sells what appears to be the exact same plant labeled as Gomphrena decumbens 'Airy Bachelor's Buttons'. It looks pinker in their online photos but its the same color as my original plant.

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  9. Lovely as always. I really like that little Gomphrena. Adds a nice touch of whimsy to the arrangement.

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    1. The Gomphrena's flowers are tiny but the plant is huge and sprawling, Elaine. It's an interesting contrast.

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  10. Your dahlia arrangement looks decidedly autumnal, although I suspect autumn will be along later in your part of the world. The Gomphrena in the pink vase is wonderful and makes the whole arrangement dance!

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    1. Summer does hang on here, Cathy. We've had glimpses of autumn on the horizon but summer's still fighting to hang on.

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  11. You have captured the essence of the season but with a delicate muted version, which is very pleasing.

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    1. Thanks Noelle. I do love the color of 'Gitt's Crazy'.

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  12. Beautiful seasonal vases Kris. The gomphrena in the second vase is a prefect delicate and airy finishing touch. 97F sounds as if it would be no different to 100F to me 😂

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    1. It's true. That 3 degree Fahrenheit difference doesn't feel much different but there's an added psychological impact of passing that 100 degree mark ;)

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  13. Lovely arrangements Kris. Dahlia 'Gitt's Crazy' looks perfect so trimming it worked well. It's a beautiful dahlia. I like 'Enchantress' too. Reading the comments I see Itsy Bitsy caught everyone's attention. It works well with a variety of flowers, doesn't it? A real workhorse but unassuming. So dry here too. In the next city over my friend go 2.5 inches of rain yesterday in 30 minutes, causing a flash flood in her neighborhood. We barely got a drop and there's none in the forecast. Last year the dahlias bloomed all summer but they are late this year. I'm hoping to see a flower on some that I planted late but bets are off. I'm kinda done with this season, ready for spring!

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    1. 'Itsy Bitsy' is a wonder, Susie. I'm always hesitant to cut it back, even when it badly needs it like now, when it's flopping all over the surrounding plants. I need to dig into the plant to see if I can recover seeds and make an effort to get them to germinate. There's no sign of self-seeding, though.

      I've got a lot of buds on the dahlias that have been taking their time blooming this year but the race is on to see if they can deliver their blooms before the mildew worsens.

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