Don started his dahlia plants February 1 this year. The plants were started by potting up dahlia tubers in 4.5-inch pots and placing them under fluorescent lights on top of heated mats. March 1, Don took his first cuttings and placed them each into a tiny rooting pot – 105 cuttings to a tray – covering them with a plastic greenhouse-type top.
After the second set of leaves sprouted, Don placed the small dahlia plants into 4-inch pots and placed them on a tray with other small cuttings (trays of 20), and they have matured nicely.
We have about 950 dahlia plants now. The plants are being moved outside as the weather warms up. In-ground planting begins Mother’s Day weekend. Johnny and Don put up a new shade cloth over the rear dahlia garden.
The Dahlia Growing Workshop Don taught at Pharsalia on April 16 was a great success, and we had such a wonderful time with Foxie Morgan and her family and friends at their beautiful home. It was a memorable evening and day for us, and we will long remember the hospitality, food, and beautiful setting.
More about the “etc.” in Don’s Dahlias, Etc.: Don is growing oriental lilies for the first time this year. At an auction during the Specialty Cut Flower Growers’ conference in fall 2010, Don placed the winning bid on a lot of 250 lilies. The bulbs arrived on March 1 and were placed 25 to a crate in about 6 inches of soil.
The first planting has now been moved outside under 30% shade cloth. Peonies are coming on strong; good foliage color and long stems – we have been disbudding the peonies as they mature – this gives the plant more energy and a better bloom.
Bees! We have been actively working our beehives the last few weeks. We are only fourth-year beekeepers, so this is always an adventure. This is also the first year we actually found the queens with little problem – every other year it has been, “Is that the queen?! … Nope!” We were laughing the other day about how opening up a beehive and looking at all those buzzing bees really helps a person focus on the task at hand. Here are three young queens and their attendants waiting to be placed into their new homes.
We will be at the Leesburg Farmers’ Market Saturdays beginning (projected!) May 14, from 8 am – 12 noon. During May and June we will be bringing dahlia plants, and then peonies, lilies, and dahlia blooms as they progressively come into season. Beeswax skin cream and honey will be offered as they are available.
We are excited about all the possibilities that 2011 has to offer, and we’ll keep you posted!