Flowers remind me of people and places I have loved. Dahlias are no exception. I first discovered these beautiful flowers when I was a teenager working my first full-time summer job in a greenhouse. My mother, who was very supportive of my work experiences, was browsing there one day while waiting to give me a ride and was excited to find dahlias. I purchased some for her garden. They grew very well not just for one season but for many. Mom carefully dug out the tubers each fall, stored them and replanted them each spring.
For my current garden, I have in the past purchased dwarf varieties of dahlias labelled as annuals. I managed to keep them growing for a few seasons following the example learned at home. After one very cold winter a couple of years ago, the stored bulbs did not grow back.
This year, as I continue to limit my in person shopping, I decided to search for dahlia tuber options online. Many were quite costly and there were limitations on what I could have shipped. Instead of purchasing tubers, I bought seeds from The Halifax Seed Company, a Canadian company on the east coast that I follow on Twitter.
I planted some in seed starter mix and hoped for the best. They germinated quickly and transplanted well into containers filled with Miracle Grow potting mix. The seed packet contains a mix of dwarf varieties that grow about 12-18” inches. While that doesn’t sound small to me, down the street some dahlias growing in containers are about 36” inches tall. Another neighbour has a pink and white mix dahlia. It was planted fully grown and continues to bloom. CJ and I enjoy both small gardens when we are out on our daily dog walks.
One of my dahlias will bloom soon. I am excited to see what colours and forms these flowers will have. They inspire my art work and are a visual reminder of my mom and all the lessons in growth she shared. At the end of the season, I will gather the tubers and my memories and store them so that they can bloom again. I still have seeds to add to the mix in case I need to start over.
- Growing Dahlias How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Dahlias by Catherine Boeckmann
- Halifax Seed Company