When I called Old House Gardens to order some bulbs last week I feared I might have missed their shipping season, but they reassured me and on this perfect morning I found my order in the mailbox. It took only a few minutes before I was out in the garden. I knew just where to plant the ivory Beersheba daffodils – right under the Miss Willmott, a white flowered lilac Jerry Sternstein gave me last year. To say under the bush is a slight mis-statement. The bush has come through one winter, but it is still so small that is hardly any under there. It will come in time, though.
I had already planted some bulbs under Miss Willmott and I think this whole area will be quite lovely in the spring. You can see there is a mammoth clump of purple Siberian irises (they could definitley use some dividing) and on the other side of the irises is a pink Miss Canada lilac that blooms later than my other lilacs.
The dahlias gave a good show this year. Since I had such good luck overwintering them last year I went out to dig them up to keep for next spring.
The main trick to digging dahlias is to avoid cutting the tubers. With just a little luck the one tuber planted will have turned into a substantial bunch. I dug a least a foot away from the stem and loosened the soil and dug around with my hand to get a sense of where the tubers were before actually lifting them.
After lifting the tubers and shaking off what dirt I can, I do clip off the stems. According to my Wyman’s Encyclopedia you can divide the tubers in fall or spring. I opted for spring and I will store these in a clump. I left the trimmed clumps of tubers outside to dry off, but brought them in before evening. I’ll let them dry out in the house for just a day or two before storing them in barely damp peat moss in our basement, which worked well last winter.
I am so grateful for these few mild days. We needed last week’s rain, more than 2 inches, but I also needed some mild days to try and catch up on the fall cleaning. There is less time than you might think because I have other delightful chores to do, like helping to make a gingerbread house for Holiday Village at the Charlemont Federated Church on November 14. There will be many other beautiful gifts, gift certificates, Treasures, crafts and food on offer – along with the gingerbread house, and kits to make your own.