I thought that it would be a good idea, before the calendar turned over to a new year and my memory of the 2014 garden completely vanished, to write a brief synopsis of the successes that I enjoyed this past year in my dahlia garden. Let's start with the "new-to-me" varieties that I grew. I really liked most of the new ones that I tried this year but 4 really stood out as favorites. I loved the coloring on the collarette "NTAC Eliza".
The striking single "Eclipse".
The BB semi-cactus "Tahoma Endeavor"
And you know I love incurved cactus dahlias. Here's the B sized dark pink "Sandrine".
It was a challenging dahlia year because of the intense heat. We set a record for days with a high over 90 degrees and many of the dahlias suffered. It was often the case that before the front of a fully double dahlia had completely opened, the back had already collapsed because of the heat. And the cucumber beetles, always a pest, were extra bad this Summer. But even with all of these challenges, certain dahlias still had a banner year. Among them were every variety that had the waterlily form. For whatever reason, this form of dahlia, in all of the varieties that I grew, performed exceptionally.
I was especially please that my "Joal Louisa", that is so difficult to keep year after year, produced a perfect bloom for me just in time for the Portland Show. And once entered it won Best Waterlily in the Show.
As I said, all of the waterlilies grew so well. Here's a really full "Kelgai Ann". I was able to enter one of these blooms in the Lane County Show.
Here's a young "Ken's Rarity" bloom. Such striking contrasting colors. I entered a single bloom of this variety in both the Portland Show and the Lane County Show.
A single bloom of "Red Velvet". This variety is another early bloomer. This picture was taken July 24th and the two plants kept on producing blooms until they were cut down in October.
I don't think any waterlily form variety did better than "Pam Howden". As always, it was one of my first dahlias to begin blooming and it continued to bloom until I cut down the plants. I was able to enter both a 1-bloom and a 3-bloom entry in the Douglas County Show. But I was especially happy with the bouquets that graced my kitchen table after the show season. For at least 3 weeks straight I made a bouquet consisting off all "Pam Howden" blooms plus one "Red Velvet" bloom. It made such a simple, beautiful bouquet.
Another success of the 2014 growing season were many of my "Majestic Kerkrade" plants. I am one of the last people that still grows this variety that was introduced back in 1977. You can't find a commercial source for it any more but I just love it's strong color combination of yellow and pink and sharp cactus form. But the last few years my blooms haven't been very good and I wondered if my stock was deteriorating. I was concerned it might worsened past the point of no return. But suddenly this Summer, for goodness knows what reason, I had three plant begin to produce perfect blooms once again. And one of those blooms timed so that I could enter it in the Portland Show where it won a 1st and Best of type. I was careful to mark those plants and saved the tubers from just those three plants this Fall. I am hoping than this wasn't a one-year fluke and that my stock is once again strong of this older beauty.
Another variety that had a stellar Summer was "Camano Cloud". Once again it was one of my early bloomers and it just kept pumping out perfectly formed blooms all Summer long.
Unfortunately, none of the blooms timed right for me to enter in a show but I still got to enjoy them in my garden all Summer long.
The last overall success in the dahlia garden this year were my Poms. All of my Pom varieties grew well and produced vigorously. In the three dahlia shows that I participated in this September, I was able to enter five 1-bloom and five 3-bloom Pom entries. In Douglas County, my 1-bloom entry of "Stoneleigh Joyce" won best 1-bloom Pom in Show. Ans once the show season concluded, I had cherry small bouquets of mixed Pom varieties on the counter for weeks.