Saturday, March 28, 2009

First Annual Tuber Sale

Notes from the Dahlia Diaries
2009 Spring Tuber Sale
By Jane Dahle

…been looking for a “special something” to add to this year’s garden to

*brighten a forgotten corner of the yard?
*put some pizzazz! into your summer flower routine?
*challenge or expand your horticultural expertise?
*give the neighbors something to talk about?
*create a little healthy “garden envy” among friends?
*add to your cut-flower repertoire?
*earn a blue ribbon at the State Fair?
*answer the soon-to-be-asked: What to get the woman-who-has-everything for Mother’s Day?

The answers to all these queries and criteria can be summed up in just one flower: Dahlia!

Hard to believe that all this – and more – awaits you in one (little) tuber. But it’s true! Familiar yet elusive, it’s no secret that the dahlia graces the most discerning of gardens. Not difficult to grow, but responsive to TLC, a dahlia may be in your future. If you’ll forgive the simplistic, “if you can grow tomatoes, you can grow dahlias”, then many a gardener is in for a new floral treat.

From miniature (Poppet) to mountainous (Vesuvius), historic (Erik the Red) to hilarious (Betty Boop), mythical (Prometheus) to mysterious (Who Dun It), hero (Robin Hood) to heroine (Scarlett O’Hara), shy (Bashful) to shameless (Bodacious), dahlias have it all! Dahlias are great imitators, masquerading in many a garden as “cactus”, “orchid”, “peony”, and even “water lily”. But down to their tubers, they’re dahlias all the same.

The best place to find the dahlia(s) of your dreams is at the Utah Dahlia Society’s first Annual Tuber Sale on Saturday, April 25. Mill Creek Gardens (3500 S 900 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84106) has graciously agreed to host this event, beginning at 10 a.m.

Many Utah Master Gardeners have introduced dahlias to their gardens through the years via Mark Hurst’s tubers at the MG plant swap. Mark was sure to emphasize that he’ll have no tubers at the swap this year; all his tubers are headed for the Tuber Sale!

While dahlia tubers are available to Utah gardeners from many sources across the country, one thing to note is that the tubers at the Sale have “proven” themselves (i.e. survived) in our Intermountain climate. As with other botanical species and cultivars, not all are viable in Utah’s climate and conditions. We’re expecting over 60 different cultivars to be available for the sale! Come chat with some of our local dedicated dahlia growers (our youngest enthusiast is 10 years old!), and see what delights are waiting for your garden this year.