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Dahlia Love

On our recent trip to California, my husband and I heartily fed our ‘plant geekiness,’ visiting many growers, large and small.  We filled our quota of business related research with the big companies like Ball Horticulture and Syngenta Seeds, and rounded out our travels with visits to some smaller ‘Mom and Pop’ businesses like Love House Dahlias of Ventura.  This little gem of an operation was fascinating – our son worked there for a while during a WWOOF-ing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) expedition last year.  The time of year was such that we didn’t see any dahlias – they had just been planted and hadn’t even broken ground yet, but we could see the promise of what was to come.  Owners Anne and Andy commiserated with us about the ups and downs of gardening and growing for a living, and gave us a few useful tips for organic insect control.   Dahlias are one of my favorite plant groups.  They come in just about every color, they are tall, short, large-flowered, small- flowered, double, single, good for cutting, and gorgeous in the garden.  And while deer haven’t read the ‘deer-resistant plant list,’ they don’t seem to bother them in my yard.  There is no guarantee though.

Personal favorites?  ‘Dinner Plate’ dahlias  - any color – because the flowers are the size of your head!  It’s the perfect time to plant them right now. They will put on foliage growth all summer and start blooming late in the summer when many other plants are burned out!