Thomasville Scene April / May 2019 - Page 40

| gardening | Dahlias Bring Diverse Shapes, Sizes, Colors to the Garden by Melinda Myers D ahlias have been a fixture in summer flower gardens for generations. But it may be time to update your idea of dahlias! With hundreds of varieties to choose from in a fabulous array of colors, shapes and flower sizes, it is no surprise the National Garden Bu- reau has declared 2019 the Year of the Dahlia. Join the cel- ebration and brighten your garden with dahlias this year. Not only are dahlias beautiful, but they’re also easy to grow. Just plant the tuberous roots in a sunny, well- drained location, once the soil has warmed to about 60 degrees – or around the same time as you would plant tomatoes. It takes a week or two for the first shoots to emerge, but the plants grow quickly and will be blooming by midsummer. Grow dahlias in containers to brighten your balcony, deck or front steps. They combine nicely with other plants in containers as well as in the garden. Mix them with bold, leafy elephant ears, Lacinato kale and Swiss chard; finely textured ornamental grasses and gaura; upright salvias and gladiolus; and trailing plants like calibrachoa, verbena and ivy. Dahlias will add pizzazz to your gardens and land- scape, especially in the second half of the summer when many other flowers are starting to wane. Dinnerplate dahlias are bodacious beauties that com- mand your attention. They include any variety of dahlia with flowers that are at least eight inches in diameter. These extra-large blossoms are produced on bushy plants that grow 3 to 6 feet tall. Favorites include Café au Lait, Vancouver and Thomas Edison. Use stakes to help support the flowers and keep the plants standing upright. 40 April - May 2019 Thomasville Scene