I do have more than just dahlias going on in the garden, still lots of food coming in, and today I planted hydrangea Pinky Winky in between the stumps of the arborvitae that was trying to eat the house. I had a landscaping service come out earlier this summer and clean them out along with layers and layers of vining plants that had filled in as undergrowth. Ivy competed with Perrywinkle and various other vining weeds. The worker spent all afternoon just clearing and clearing. He said he kept thinking he was at the bottom of it and then would find another layer of vines and roots. After he did as much as he could, I haunted the place where my Company puts computer boxes to be thrown away and brought home big boxes to cover the area and hopefully smother most of what’s left.
I’ve raised the hydrangea from a four inch pot and it’s still pretty small to make any impact in the area. But I visited a good nursery yesterday and looked at hydrangeas in larger pots and decided that I’d rather work with a small one, even if it takes longer to make an impact. So next I’ll cover the cardboard with maybe a little dirt and the last of this spring’s mulch pile and think about what, if anything else, I want in that space.
I started my morning gazing at the dahlia bed with a cup of coffee in my hand and soon shifted to cleaning and weeding. In addition to removing older browned leaves at the bottom, which develop on the bigger plants, I decided to take out some of the shortest branches that were badly shaded or leaning into other plants. I took them out at the stem. They wouldn’t have produced blossoms and it will open up the plant for better air circulation, but never having read about doing that, I’m a little apprehensive. Hope that it won’t damage the plants.
One thing I didn’t do is cull the bad plant of Harvey Koop; after months of babying it and wishing it healthy while worrying that it was virused and would affect the plants around it, I cannot believe that it’s not even the right color. Harvey Koop is variagated and this is a deep reddish purple. Because of the shape and because the darkest color in its variation may match this, I expect that the grower cloned a plant that was reverting. Reversion to a solid is often a problem with striped or variagated plants but when you buy from a reputable grower, you expect the plant to be true. It does such a nice job of bringing out the purple in Croydon’s Masterpiece, right behind it in the picture, I probably won’t pull and destroy until it’s done blossoming.
Another procrastination, Bodacious was not pinched back properly (my fault) and the blossoms, at the top of a too tall plant were first deformed (July heat was also a factor) and then the first one that I let blossom was single. This second one is fuller than the last but still not the dahlia that it should be. I should cut it off to give the blossoms lower on the plant a chance to develop properly. However, with it’s bright colors at the top of a slight slope up from the street and 7′ above the ground, it’s attracting attention from people on the street.
Dahlias make me smile.