Thursday, September 29, 2016

Late Season Dahlias

As we reach the end of September, a few of my dahlia are really just getting going. Some dahlia varieties do take their time growing and blooming each year while others are a bit of a mystery. For instance, my "Pam Howden" waterlily dahlia was just plain slow to grow this year. In past years it has been among my first varieties to bloom, so I am stumped. I am wondering if maybe my stock has weakened and if I should invest in some new tubers for next year.

Another late bloomer for me this year is another waterlily; "Wildwood Marie". Again, this is normally not a late bloomer for me, so I don't know what to think. It bloomed so late and sparingly that I wasn't  able to enter a bloom in any of the shows.

This is only my second year growing "Clearview Debby" so I don't know all of its habits yet. It appears to be a more difficult variety to "eye-up" in the Spring which then delays its planting. My 4 plants sprouted weeks apart, so I ended up with a nice long first and second flush coinciding with the shows in September.


"Lexa" is another variety which took a while to eye-up and then grew at a slower pace. But happily the first or second flush blooms - depending on the plant - timed out with the late September shows.

And another mystery for me; "Alden Snowlodge". I haven't grown this variety for the past couple of years, but I don't remember it being such a late bloomer. I wasn't able to enter a bloom in a show until the final show of the year in Roseburg. The two plants are only now bursting into a second large flush.

Here are two beautiful "Chimicum Les C.", pictured above. My two plants are only now finishing up their second flush. I seem to remember from past years that this is a slow-to-grow variety. I need to get these potted up in early May next year so I might have some to enter in the shows.

My mignon singles are just now branching out and bursting into a nice full display. But I can't blame the variety or the form. But I can blame the rabbits! They got in the fence and mowed down all of my Mignons in July. They have finally recovered and are putting on a really pretty show.

"Stillwater Plum"

This is my first bloom of the year of "AC Kira". Last year the poor plant never even bloomed. While I do love its rich, deep purple color - it didn't photograph very well - it doesn't make a lot of sense to grow a plant that starts to bloom in October! I think I will give it one more year to behave and speed things up. If it is just as late next year I will carry on my search for a laciniated dahlia that blooms on time and has great form.

My last, late dahlia this year has been my "Lakeview Glow" . This variety has always been one of my first to bloom each year and then goes on kicking out blooms all the way until frost. Maybe it was just this tuber, or perhaps it wasn't happy in the location where it was planted. Next year I will make sure to plant it in a different spot and see if it reverts back to its old early ways.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Second Wind

As we near the end of September, my dahlia garden is getting a second wind. After a warm, dry Summer, I think the plants are really responding to the cooler days. The dahlias are pumping out more blooms right now and the blooms have really good form and color. One example, the "Fancy Pants" pictured above. The form is near perfect and the colors are strong and crisp.

A wet, but lovely "Kelsie Kristie" bloom.

I am so pleased to see so many pollinators enjoying the open centered flowers.

Another amazing "Clearview Audrey" bloom. This plant was one of the first plants to bloom this Summer and it is still producing perfect blooms.

Another early bloomer for me, still at it! During the heat of Summer, the center petals on "Sandia Sunbonnet" were browning on the tips. Now that the weather has cooled, the blooms are solid yellow and close to perfect. 

Oh, these "Haley's Dream" plants look great! They are loaded with blooms. I could create a lovely bouquet with nothing but "Haley's Dream" blooms.

If "Haley's Dream" has a fault, it is that the color fades badly in the heat of Summer. But now in late September, the hot pink color is crisp and the white tips uniform.

The pretty single "Eclipse".

All of the collarettes are really floriferous right now. Pictured above, "Parkland Moonmist" and below, "Pooh". Now that the show season has passed, it will be fun to cut all of these great blooms to enjoy in the house and at work.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday Harvest - It's Cantaloupe Time!

Happy Harvest Monday. This is an especially exciting Monday here because I was able to harvest my first ever cantaloupe. This year I started from seed 6 "Magnificenza" melons and they have been growing and setting melon all Summer. Although this one didn't exhibit the typical yellow rib color they are suppose to achieve when ripe, I picked it anyway. It slipped easily from the vine and my Dad pronounced it perfectly ripe and delicious. It weighted in at 2 lbs. 2.1 oz., a perfect single serving size.

I was also able to harvest 4 more "Lemon" cucumbers this weekend. I had been complaining that my plants weren't setting many cukes, but I have now harvested 12 and there are more to ripen in the next few weeks. This weeks bounty weighted in at 1 lbs. 8.2 oz.

Not surprisingly, my "Galina" yellow cherry tomato plant continues to pump out the fruit. It is my only plant this year not affected by blossom end rot, so it really is a superstar for me. This picking I gathered 167 tomatoes off of it, weighing in at 2 lbs. 6.2 oz.

A carton destined to make many co-workers happy tomorrow!

I really thought that all my other tomatoes had been ruined becasue of blossom end rot. But as I picked and discarded bad fruit today - and there was a lot of it! - I was pleasantly surprised to find a few that had dogged the bullet. I was able to glean 5 "Carmello" tomatoes, that weighted in at 9.4 oz.

Many of the other plants didn't fare as well, but I did get at least one good fruit off of them. From left to right; "Chef's Choice Orange" 3.0 oz., "Wapsipinicon Peach" 1.8 oz., and "Tang" 2.5 oz.

I was really happy as I dug deep in the "Black Krim" plant. The fruit are so dark that I hadn't noticed how many had ripened and very few of them had blossom end rot. So I was able to harvest 26 tomatoes that weighted a total of 2 lbs. 7.3 oz. All in all, considering my blossom end rot problem, I had a descent tomato harvest this week. It was much better than expected and gives me some hope for the next few weeks when the rest of the crop should ripen.

I have to end the post with a non-veggie harvest. I went down to flower garden tonight and picked a couple of bouquets. We are expecting some much needed rain tomorrow and I thought it would be good to do some picking before the rains arrived. On the left, a bouquet of "Crazy 4 Jessie" dahlias and on the right a small bouquet of "Persian Carpet" zinnias.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Welcome September

And just like that it is September. Suddenly dusk arrives at 8:30 PM here and the mornings require a light jacket. The sky is a crystal clear blue but the sun is lower and bathes everything in a lovely, golden light. This will be a busy month filled with harvesting the bounty and enjoying the last hurrah of Summer.