Dahlias forum: Lets introduce ourselves 2016

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Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Jan 5, 2016 3:01 PM CST
With so many new members coming aboard I thought it might be nice to introduce ourselves to each other a bit.

I am Geof aka mandolls.

I have been growing dahlias for about 10 years now. I started small, with about 8 different plants, and last year had close to 150 in the ground. I have mostly added to my stash through trading tubers, but this year have ordered about 40 new ones from various dealers.

I have never shown dahlias, I live in a small town in WI about an hour and a half from the nearest Dahlia Society, which is just to far for me to want to go to meetings. I am more interested in dahlias as cut flowers than as perfect show flowers anyway, and envision possibly selling to local florists in the future, but right now its just all about growing for my own pleasure.

My favorite forms over the years have been Waterlilies and Cactus, but I am becoming more and more interested in Anemone, Orchids and Stellars and am adding a number of each of those this year.

I also grow a smallish vegetable garden , and start some perennials, and all of my veg and annuals from seed under lights in my studio. the last few years I have grown over 1000 plants from seed each year. I am becoming more and more interested in Lilies (asiatic, oriental and trumpet) and Iris and have been adding more each year. Last year I put in my first roses (7 bushes) and if they do well may be adding more.


In the real world , I teach at the local University in the Art and Design Dept, specializing in ceramics. I live with my partner and 3 cats in a small house with not nearly enough sunny yard for my ever expanding gardens.

Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Jan 5, 2016 3:17 PM CST
Pirl here, known to my husband and friends as Arlene, and known to the dog as "the person who feeds me" . Zone 7, here on eastern Long Island, seems ideal for growing dahlias and we had them growing past mid-November in 2015. For years I was content with a dozen or less but as of last year I had about 60 dahlias and hope to grow no more than that. Digging in fall becomes more and more of a daunting task.
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Name: Gary
Wyoming MN (Zone 4a)
hostasmore
Jan 5, 2016 3:54 PM CST
Hostasmore=Gary. I live in the small town of East Bethel MN. About 40 min north of St. Paul.
When I first moved to this house had a dismal lawn due to too much shade. Became addicted to hostas and have over 400 cultivars.Intersts have grown to include lilies daylilies and dahlias with lesser amounts of other perennials. the lawn grows smaller each year as the gardens grow. I do grow a small vegetable garden. Love fresh tomatoes ,cucumbers,beans and peppers.Not sure how many dahlias I have now but it took me about 3 days to get them all dug. I store them as clumps in an unheated closet on the north side of my home.
Name: Dan
NE Ohio (Zone 6a)
psudan
Jan 5, 2016 5:22 PM CST
I'm Dan. I didn't attend Penn State University. I've just been a huge die-hard fan of the football program for a long time. My nephew is my computer guru and when he set up all my accounts he used psudan on most everything to make it easier to remember.

I live in NE Ohio and have always been an outdoorsman. When it came to gardening, I didn't know a tulip from a rose. When my dad died in '07 I bought the house to make things easier on my mother and to be there to look after her. Dad had a green thumb and there were quite a few perennials around the yard. But something was missing. I asked mom the name of the big flowers dad used to grow and she said they were dahlias. I started off with nine and within a few years I had 65. Because of all the 12 hour shifts I was working I decided I had to cut back the number of dahlias. So the next year I "only" had 110. The following year it was "reduced" to 135 and further reduced this past year to 160-something. lol This is called the New Math or maybe the Dan's Addition by Subtraction Method. Anyway, I have become helplessly, hopelessly addicted to these beautiful flowers.

The only "pets" I have is a herd of 8-10 (and growing) deer who have eaten me out of house and home. Growing lilies, tulips, roses and tomatoes is now only a memory. Fortunately, they have never touched a dahlia.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Jan 5, 2016 5:42 PM CST
You fit right in Dan!
Name: Rose
Oquawka, IL (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Echinacea Dahlias Clematis Region: Illinois Hibiscus
Heucheras Charter ATP Member Birds Hummingbirder Hostas Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Rose1656
Jan 5, 2016 7:25 PM CST
Hi all! I'm Rose and, no...I don't grow roses! I just started growing dahlias this last year and find myself sort of addicted! I have several that I'm attempting to save for next year and several ordered from Geoff. My real passion is hostas and shade gardening, but I'm starting to enjoy the bright blooms on the sun loving plants too! I'm looking forward to your pictures and growing tips on here.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Jan 6, 2016 9:04 PM CST
Hello everyone, I'm Liz--LizinElizabeth and I live in Elizabeth CO. I'm much more active on the peony forum, have over 500 varieties now. I thought dahlias would be a good addition to what had turned into a bed of peonies, daylilies and lilies; bought a single bag of dinnerplate dahlias from Walmart and was hooked! I've ordered around 50 from several growers recommended by members here plus looking forward to those I'm getting from Geof in the spring (LOVE the Pinterest board, Geof!). Hoping I can master overwintering tubers....
Liz
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Jan 7, 2016 5:20 PM CST
Oberon46 = Mary in Anchorage, Alaska. I have been absent here for the last few weeks. Just too much going on.

I have a pond of ~2800 gallons with gold fish and a few koi. It freezes in the winter for a foot or so (this year a few inches as the weather is really warm). Fish sleep in the bottom til around April.

I have around 125 dahlias, some hold overs (clumps and cut up) and maybe 25 new ones coming. I have been growing them for maybe 5-6 years and love their variety. Also grow lilies, peonies (tree, Itoh, herbaceous). I have three raised beds (timbers 4'x8'x18") for vegies and two rolling shelving units with lights for each shelf. I start vegies and annuals plus put my dahlias who persist in growing in March when I can't put them out til end of May. Bummer.

Like Arlene, I find the fall processing and winter storage, then startup in spring for the dahlias more and more exhausting but just can't break the habit. I love Dan's new math. Find myself 'adding/subtracting' that way myself. Sad Glad to meet all the old/new dahlias lovers. I spend time at the vegie, peony, rock garden, northern garden forums quite a bit but this is my favorite (pssstttt. Don't tell the others. Rolling on the floor laughing
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Rose
Oquawka, IL (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Echinacea Dahlias Clematis Region: Illinois Hibiscus
Heucheras Charter ATP Member Birds Hummingbirder Hostas Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Rose1656
Jan 8, 2016 8:49 AM CST
Lininelizabeth,

500 varieties of peonies? I have one and it hasn't bloomed ever! That sounds beautiful! I'm going to have to check out the peony forum for your pictures!
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Jan 8, 2016 5:03 PM CST
Please do, Rose! I'm hoping to have lots of pics to share on both the Peony and Dahlia forum next spring and summer! And I'm so looking forward to gaining dahlia knowledge from all of you here!
Liz
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Jan 9, 2016 3:12 PM CST
Hi All! I am glad to meet some new dahlia lovers here. I am Karen from southeast PA. I have grown dahlias for about 3 years. I have a love/hate relationship with dahlias. I love them when they grow and bloom but I hate it when I have to stake, dig and, store them. Because of this, I am able to keep my dahlias count to about 25-35. Otherwise, it would be in the hundred by now. My favorite dahlias from last year were Tartan, Candlelight, and Thomas Edison.

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Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Jan 9, 2016 5:25 PM CST
Love that tartan - I have ordered it for myself this year. I generally don't like the red/white bi-colors, but the way the coloration is distributed and the depth of the red looks great on tartan.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Jan 9, 2016 7:56 PM CST
I ordered Tartan as well! So looking forward to spring (for the peonies) and summer for dahlias!
Liz
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Jan 9, 2016 8:43 PM CST
Liz - what is the bloom window for your peonies? I only have two types and one blooms a little later than the other, but ultimately they are over and done with to soon. With the number that you have do you have peonies blooming for a month or two? Or is it just a short intense extravaganza of blooming.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Jan 10, 2016 7:20 AM CST
My peony bloom season is absolutely defined by our hail season! Nosegay was the first to open last year toward the end of May and the last was Halo that was still blooming mid July so around 6 weeks. I had quite a bit of cold damage to the peonies last year and we had several major hail storms later so I lost a lot of buds, probably shortened my season by a week or two. Colorado is fairly hard on them, I don't get as many 1st year bloomers as a more temperate climate would and they typically don't increase as quickly. I still have 100 or more that haven't bloomed for the first time from purchases 2 falls ago. You can certainly extend the bloom season by getting peonies with various bloom times, I have everything from very early to very late. A lot of the very early is hampered by our winter that doesn't know when to stop and the very lates are sometimes beaten down by hail before the blooms get to open. I completely lost both buds of Lemon Chiffon to it last year and I was really looking forward to the blooms of that one. As long as the root survives all's good though--they will eventually get big enough that the hail damage will be less impactful.
If anyone is looking for a very hardy very early peony I recommend Nosegay wholeheartedly. It withstood our Mother's Day blizzard last year with buds already established and bloomed a couple of weeks later.

Liz
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Jan 10, 2016 2:08 PM CST
My first opening is my fernleaf hybrid. June 5 is its fairly consistent bloom date. Going back to 2010 for some of my older peonies, Athena @ 6-11 followed by Roselette around 6-22. Pretty much everyone else starts the first of July and ends around the week of 7-26. When I had tree peonies they bloomed like clockwork within two days of 6-22 to 6-25.

I find it hard to believe that Colorado has worse weather than us. But then altitude has an affect and we are pretty much at sea level on the coast. I can walk less than a half mile and spit in the inlet leading out to the Aleutian Chain.

I planted Nosegay in 2012 and it froze over the winter. I have reordered and planted last fall. Am also reordering a few others I lost. We had a nice snow cover up to Christmas then it warmed up, rained, and now all we have is ice pretty much all over the gardens. I am really fearful of losses similar to spring 2013. What a disaster. The botanical garden figured a loss of about 33% of peonies - or maybe that was all plants. Not sure. No snow cover. If we get consistent temps in the low teens til spring, then freeze thaw --- well goodbye to many plants.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Jan 10, 2016 9:08 PM CST
I guess I shouldn't complain so much that our snow doesn't go away until spring, huh? I hope you don't suffer plant losses this year, Mary Stella.
We're classified as zone 5 but with the altitude and lack of infrastructure our temps are typically 10 degrees colder than Denver, our local nurseries say to not expect any plants not rated down to at least zone 4 to survive the winter. Weird that our bloom time is only a week or 2 off that of Alaska! I'd have never thought it.
Liz
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Jan 11, 2016 8:59 AM CST
Hope your plants survive the winter for you Mary! Though the conditions are harsh, some plants will just amaze you.

Liz and Geof, I think you will love Tartan! There was never a boring or ugly bloom from it. I had it in the shade last year so it might not bloom as much as if it was planted in a proper sunny location.
Name: Connie
Winlock, WA (Zone 8a)
Need has nothing to do with it.
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CLC70
Feb 16, 2016 9:50 AM CST
I am Connie (CLC70). I'm a 64 year old RN from Winlock WA which is about 2 hours south of Seattle. I used to have dahlias about 30 years ago and got back into growing them about 2 years ago. I live in a rural area on 6 acres with my husband and 7 cats. Yep, I'm one of those. I have an addictive nature. Can't have just one of anything. I enjoy gardening, have a green house, and want to grow at least one of everything. I also like to make quilts and have many artistic interests. I currently have about 65 dahlias in storage and have ordered over 70 more. It's going to wear me out getting them all planted this year. Hubby helps, but I think I try his patients sometimes. Last year I tried growing dahlias from cuttings and they all took but later most perished in the garden and the ones that didn't never really grew and didn't produce a tuber. I intend to pick Teresa's brain (Owner of Cowlitz River Dahlias) when I pick up my order for she does a lot of growing from cuttings. I'm fortunate in that I have many fine growers within driving distance. I like being able to see what their plants look like in the field before I buy them. I attend Swan Island's Dahlia Festival every year. They must have 40-50 acres in production. Most of the other growers I know have 1-2 acres.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Feb 16, 2016 10:27 AM CST
Nice to meet you, Connie. We're all looking forward to photos of your many dahlias.

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