This was an unlikely start to a fabulous dahlia display at the Halifax Public Garden. The spring and early summer were warm and moist and this was okay with the tubers. I suggest that if it had been a cooler spring they may have rotted in the ground.
But dahlias like a good drink every couple of days and it was provided by “Adams Ale” (an old term for rain).
Now, to get a great display of dahlias you have to be committed. Perfect blooms and lots of them require at least a weekly application of an organic pesticide. Aphids, earwigs, slugs and other beasties will make a hash of blooms. Also, to get the best height on the taller varieties we remove some side shoots and early buds so that the main trunk of the plant will become thicker and taller.
Here in our moderate climate we expect the dahlias to start to bloom for August and into October. They require good heat to produce the first buds but after that the blooms continue even into the cooler weather of October.
While the dahlia is a fussy plant for us northern gardeners it is well worth the effort. By September most of the Public Garden flowers are fading, but the dahlias and the roses still like to give us something to see in the fall.