Pompom Dahlia Excitement
As far back as I can remember I have always had a deep affection for flowers and plants of all kinds. I think I caught the gardening bug from my Grandma McCrary whose love of all things green and growing was enthusiastic and infectious.
We are blessed to have well-established roses,
camellia bushes, azaleas, and hydrangeas galore in our gardens. We have coreopsis, daisies, rosemary, and lavender blooming each summer.
Missing were my favorite flowers, dahlias. Specifically, I love the pompom variety of dahlias.
In honor of my book’s release this past spring, my dear friend gave me a bag of pompom dahlia tubers. I was puzzled when I pulled the plastic bag filled with dirt and ugly brown lumps out of the gift bag. “It doesn’t look like much now,” my friend said. Then I read the label on the bag, ‘Pompom Dahlias—Assorted Colors’. I was thrilled!
Since we had never grown our own dahlias, I was excited and inspired to make a go of cultivating these beauties. The problem was we live in a zone in California which is currently experiencing the fourth year of an ‘Exceptional Drought’. Dahlias need a good amount of water to thrive.
One day in early May we took the plunge. We are on extremely tight landscape watering restrictions in our town. With virtually no precipitation to speak of, the tubers obviously wouldn’t get the water they needed to get off to a healthy start. Besides, we were planting the tubers weeks later than recommended.
As I walked around the gardens each day searching for a sprout, I began to feel disappointed when nothing came up in the time allotments given for dahlias to sprout. The soil was bone dry, and still no rain. Since I’m someone who tries to never say ‘never’, I didn’t give up on our dahlias.
One day when I least expected, I spotted some green poking up in two spots where I’d buried the brown tubers. I told myself to take a deep breath—Be realistic, June; these could be weeds. In the next few days, the green became a stem with leaves and soon I had ten sprouts in various spots in our front and back gardens.
The stems grew quickly once they got started. I became heartened when I saw buds on those first two plants. Then at long last, I had pompom flowers. Magenta pompom blooms—my absolute favorite color of dahlias! As of this final day of September, 2015, my dahlias are still blooming strong. There are lots of buds on the six plants that did come to fruition.
Just about a week ago my husband spotted a surprise underneath our creeping rosemary plant. A brand new dahlia had decided to sprout about ten weeks later than expected. So far the plant is only about a foot high. I can’t wait to see what color the flowers on this late-bloomer will be!
About the Author:
Gardener/writer June McCrary Jacobs has been gardening since she planted her first yellow and violet pansies at the age of ten. Her favorite thing about gardening is enjoying the profusion of color during all four seasons of the year. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing inspirational contemporary and historical romance. You can learn more about June at http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com.