Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Home Grown

2012 has certainly been a banner year for dahlias. From the enormous blooms pictured above to the smaller blossoms that give my late summer gardens a much needed boost of color, my dahlias have never been more prolific. I'm not certain what confluence of events has produced such an abundance of flowers. Perhaps it can be attributed to the summer's heat and humidity combined with periods of dryness followed by heavy rain. Whatever the reason, I'm enjoying the bounty. For weeks now my house has been filled with bouquets.

As many of my readers may know, Dahlias are one of my favorite annuals. The tubers that produce these sumptuous flowers are inexpensive and require minimal care. Full sun, good soil, adequate moisture and sturdy stakes for the taller varieties are all that is needed to ensure success. Although marauding snails may nibble on young shoots and leaves, they don't seem to cause any permanent damage. This of course is an added bonus in my garden.

Like tulips, the number of dahlia varieties available on-line through reputable growers is almost infinite. As one may well imagine, the countless choices are both a blessing and curse.This spring, after deciding that it was easier to buy tomatoes and basil, I converted my small vegetable garden into a dahlia bed. The dahlias I planted there have grown so tall that I need a step ladder to cut the flowers. For every dahlia I plant in the spring I'm rewarded with as many as ten additional tubers in the fall. Since I dig and store my dahlia's in a cool dry place each winter, I've literally run out of space to plant them all. Not that I'm complaining, these are problems that a gardener can only wish for.

Some of you may have noticed that I generally photograph my farm pond from the uphill side with a view toward my house.

This is because the view from the opposite direction isn't nearly as satisfactory. Recently, however, I purchased a gazebo that rectifies this situation.

It's made out of steel and although it looks old, it is actually not an antique. I believe it was made in China and I'll be forever grateful to the dear friend that spotted it at a local dealer. I'd been looking for just such a structure for sometime and think it suits this spot perfectly. Now all I need is some comfortable seating. The current bench is terribly uncomfortable. In fact my friends are fond of remarking that none of my outdoor furniture is conducive to relaxation. They're right, but then I never relax in the garden. There's simply too much work to do.