|THE DAHLIA IS AMERICA’S NEW SWEETHEART (AGAIN). MY ONLY PROBLEM IS THAT IT SEEMS ALL OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VARIETIES ARE ALREADY SOLD OUT!|
|MAARN IS A POPULAR CUT FLOWER VARIETY WITH FLOWERS IN A LUSCIOUS CANTALOUPE TINT, AND IN THE PERFECT SIZE WITH LONG STEMS|
We all have watched this dahlia trend creep bigger and bigger over the past few years, but honestly, I thought that it would rise and then wane , but no. My point is, the dahlia may just be getting started on this phoenix of a ride ( taking along with it, I predict from my page hits – the exhibition chrysanthemum, the zinnia and even sweet peas) – – and last week at a lecture on sweet peas which I presented at the botanic garden, two women stopped me to tell me about how they were now growing collections of dahlias after reading my posts ( so flattered – gush! But oh Hell, here we go).
|SOME OF MY DAHLIA’S FROM LAST YEAR. MOST OF THESE ARE CLASSED AS ‘BALL’ TYPES|
The funny thing is, is this – I think that this trend has taken dahlia growers by surprise – in fact, I might even argue that the American Dahlia Society doesn’t even know about this hottest of floral trends, and if THEY don’t know, then the small growers certainly don’t know anything about it – I ‘guess’ this because many still say things in their catalog like “the florists love this variety’, not knowing that in reality, those ‘florists’ are ‘Prinzing’ reading, Farmers-market buying blog followers who buy their husbands beard oil on Etsy and who dream of attending SXSWwith their pals. This army of more conscious, savvy consumers who would rather grow their own food or raise honey bees are the real fuel behind this dahlia wave. Of course, on this list, I am excluding everyone’s fav source – Swan Island Dahlias who might just be staying politely mum – not voicing their success after a jolt in business after that ‘Martha Effect’. They are a great source, but sometimes I have to tell you that I crave different varieties than my peers have. After all, I am ‘me’.
|I may dedicate my entire veg garden to dahlias next yeat – oops, I sort of did that this year!|
|It’s always best to check with a simple Google Image Search to make sure that the variety you crave looks like the actual plant you are getting. Amateur photographers can sometimes over-enhance an image. Yes, I ordered Alpen Fury.|
Generally speaking, dahlias tubers are not difficult to find at all, as most retailers such as big box stores, garden centers and nurseries carry them in poly bags, but I know that you are like me, and you want the most beautiful colors and forms, so it’s time for me to share some of my dahlia secret sources – I mean, beyond Swan Island Dahlias, who are great, but it seems everyone is ordering from them now (I still do, but I want even more varieties – and I know where they exist).
|YES! There are dahlias out there that defy description – but..ugh, these were all sold out! But still on my ‘must get’ list.|
So are you looking for really beautiful colors and super unusual forms as I am? If so, then I urge you to do this right now: Go to the American Dahlia Society website, and then look at their list of sources – listed here are fine specialist nurseries – those folks who breed their own varieties,on their small farms and then exhibit them in small, local ADS shows, and within a year or two of breeding their special varieties, introduce them in limited quantities to the public via the worst designed and ugliest, un-manageable websites that you could ever imagine ( the poor dears, but I am so sorry, and once you go there, you’ll see what I mean – someone, please help them!).
Now, all joking aside – – don’t get all frustrated as I did, (really, I ‘get it’, dahlia growers you know – not UX designers!) Give them a break, but if any of you are reading this? Please consider a redesign – the good sites use Paypal and have large photos – oh, so important. Look – I want you to sell out (oh wait, you ARE selling out already – my bad!).
Want to get going? Then START HERE , the American Dahlia Society Super List, but I’ve added a few extra growers below who all carry amazing dahlias that will be different than any that you can by at your local garden center.
And, don’t worry, I have placed my orders already so you won’t piss me off.
|This one site is almost sold out. Either the tubers are large, or exhibitors know that these are choice varieties.|
Another place to look is the American Dahlia Society ‘Fabulous Fifty’, a list that shows the cultivars which have won at least 50 blue ribbons at ADS exhibitions. Not because they are winners, but because dozens of judges around the world have looked at thousands of dahlias every year, and when I attend plant shows, it’s pretty clear why the winners are on that bench.
Another list on the ADS called the ‘Cream of the Crop‘ lists varieties that have won more than 15 combined blue ribbons and higher awards. Believe me, when you grow varieties that have won the highest awards, you can clearly see the difference – most of these will never make it to your garden center, and if they do, it might take 10 -15 years for Dutch growers to build up enough stock for commercial distribution.
It is too early to plant dahlias, but in most of the country, April is the proper time to start them, which is when most growers will ship them – still, order NOW, and thank me later!
Pleasant Valley Glads & Dahlias our local grower near us – no photos, but Google the name
Arrowhead Dahlias Great site, easy to use and accepts Paypal
Birch Bay Dahlias – OMG – The BEST varieties, but the site in INSANELY confusing
Floret Farm – cut flowers, but look – Cafe au Lait dahlias for sale! (Pleasant valley Glads had them too)
Swan Island Dahlias – great catalog, great site – quality all the way.
And, here is like – every Dahlia grower in the US and Canada – go crazy! (right now, go crazy).