This year I wanted to grow more flowers. We have some nice pink dahlias I planted 2-3 years ago that do really well to the left. My wife and kids really like this flower, so when I saw a package of 15 bulbs at Costco for ~$15, I jumped on two of them. Here they are to the right. Some of the bulbs have died, as there used to be more. To the right is one of the newer ones that are starting to bloom.
Confession: I have a tendency to fear pruning. Trees, bushes, vegetable plants, flowers. I don’t want to hurt, damage, kill them. And, probably worse, I didn’t have a conviction that it was important. I didn’t prune the suckers from my tomatoes because I didn’t think it matter, it does! I now prune a lot around the yard. So, with these dahlias, I plan to prune and cut them and bring them inside to a vase. We will see how it goes. From this site, “the more you cut them, the more flowers they produce.”
DAHLIA UPDATE: After more research, this:
Pinching your Dahlias
To promote a compact, bushy plant with more blooms, pinch out the center growing tip right above the 3rd full sets of leaves for the large dinner plates dahlias. Pinch higher on the smaller blooming varieties, above the 4th or 5th full set of leaves, when the dahlia is 12″ – 18″ in height. This will create a stronger, more manageable plant with more blooms. It will also make the plant less top heavy to where you have a need for staking.
The more you cut dahlias, the more they will bloom !! You want to cut yourself a long stem as well, even it if means taking the 2 side buds. This will promote more growth and more blooms. We tell people in our U-Cut gardens to cut a stem no shorter than from your wrist to your elbow.
What is that behind the dahlias?
Ok, not the best picture, especially since the dahlias haven’t bloomed yet. But, I wanted to create this sort of flower front and grow food behind them. So to the left and behind I planted some winter squash: Spaghetti (which we LOVE), Acorn, Candy Roaster (similar to butternut, but sweeter, I think), and New England Pie pumpkin. So, I don’t like wasting space… 🙂
I don’t know why, but I wanted to grow edible flowers. To the left is a picture I took this morning of nasturtium, a little beaten up by the weather we have been having. I have tasted on, and they are not bad – a mix of clove, some arugula tones, a little lettuce. I should have brought one today for my salad! To the right is Borage. The whole plant, leaves and all, is edible. The leaves are a bit prickly, though, and not the most favorable of textures. I have tried it and it is like lettuce. Since it grows well in heat, it may be a good source of greens in the summer.
Something from Biltmore
Below is a plant we got from our trip to the Biltmore Estate last December. The plant has probably quadrupled in size and produces these cool little flowers that look like Christmas tree ornaments! We kept this inside during winter, then moved it to the front porch in indirect light. I am really delighted that we got this! Since I lost the sheet that came with it, I had to google it. I discovered from another blogger that it is called the Biltmore Ball Gown. It is a tropical shrub that blooms pretty much all year. It is also known by the names Flowering Maple, Chinese Lantern and Parlor Maple.