Remember the old slang, “What’s doing?” Well, today I am reporting on the progress of what’s doing with the dahlias.The bloom is starting but that is not the main story. This year I began to experiment with fertilizers, and I am tracking the progress and results. One bed was fertilized with Flower Tone 3 . 5 . 7 which is an organic product with a low nitrogen level. The idea with dahlias is not to promote too much green growth with the nitrogen or the results will be weak stems and small blooms. This may be the case in this bed, because the first bloom is Dahlia ‘Pippi’
which should be a 4″ bloom, and thus far, the bloom did not match its potential. I am not happy with the coloring either, but that may be the tuber’s fault. I have to take into account the scorching heat and lack of rain of the last couple weeks, I suppose. In a different raised bed, I used the liquid fertilizer Tiger Bloom 2.8.4 snd so far so good. Again I think the bloom size is small
and that may not be the fertilizer’s fault as suggested earlier. The third product I am trying is Max Sea 3.20.20 and that was used on all of the other beds and I have nothing to report yet in terms of blooms, but the stems are SO erect and strong. More about Max Sea in future posts!
Dahlias are not always welcome in mixed borders because of their staking requirements, so the raised beds work well for me. They are easy to move around and easy to stake in a 4′ X 8′ raised bed. This time of year, as in previous years, some creature is stalking my dahlias, so I find this when the dahlias are not caged, and I have to wrap the young plant like this to protect. Even still I get some damage when the creature works at getting a mouthful above the cage.
In July and August, the dahlias need a daily check to keep up with staking and water requirements. There is disbudding to attend to also. Thankfully, the other borders are not in need of much more than some weeding and deadheading once a week. While only a few of the dahlias
are blooming, the lilies are strutting their stuff. They used to be my favorites but the deer love them so, and they are fleeting. But their fragrance is hard to top so I keep growing them. The red lily beetle has made their culture a challenge.
I’ll keep you posted on the fertilizer testing, and in the mean time, I hope your visitors to the garden are many. Both the aerial viewers
and those who like to visit low.
(Does anyone know what this caterpillar will turn into?? Something glorious I hope. I plant the butterfly weed for the Monarch butterflies, but this creature got in there first!)
Though your human friends may have scattered for the Summer, try to find someone to share your garden walk. The path to the garden is well trod by friends!
HI Jayne. The monarch is the only caterpillar that eats milkweed. Hard to tell from your picture, but it looks like that caterpillar may have some parasitic eggs laid on it.
After a little research I came across the tussock moth, shown in a google search on butterfly weed. It looked like my photo so I cut them all down and disposed. I hope I did the right thing!!
Huh, never heard of that one. Maybe the monarch is the only butterfly caterpillar, but that doesn’t account for moths.
Hi Jayne, I would love to have lots of dahlias, but I can’t be doing with the lifting and storing of the tubers each year (not in the quantities I want them in anyway). I have heard that there are some varieties that are more hardy and will withstand a winter in the ground so I’ll have to look those up as they are a beautiful class of plants that I’m currently missing out on.
I thought so at one point as well. But it’s become a passion, and even my husband wonders why I didnt start with the dahlias sooner; he loves all the colors and the great variety.
Very Beautiful and informative. I’m a great visual learner so Thank You/ I live in Michigan. My neighbor gave some of her Tiger Lillie’s and to my surprise, 3 years later I have some beautiful Dahlias. I didn’t know about staking or lifting, which I will definitely try because the flower is so beautiful.