We are experiencing a dismal start to the dahlias this year. Last year we had phenomenal blooms for a first year planting. Purchased through Harris Seed, the tubers arrived bulging with energy, very healthy and ready for planting. They were set in an area that used to be our chicken run where the ladies spent their days when they weren’t free-rangng. Apparently, the chicken manure made for a fantastic planting medium. My veteran dahlia-gardening neighbor was amazed we got such good size on first-year blooms.
After a bountiful season despite the lack of rain (we hand-watered alot last season), and after the frost killed back the foliage, the tubers were carefully lifted, rubbed clean and let to cure for a few days before loosely packing them in cardboard cartons with sawdust layered between some newspaper. They seemed to carry through winter when checked periodically, so it would appear that the area we chose to set them this year has been less than hospitable. I THINK it’s just too wet, even though they need more water than most flowers. Between the dampness and the heavy soil that must be to their tubers like wet, tight shoes would feel on our feet, nothing good is happening in this year’s dahlia patch; they are very UNhappy!
So we are pinning our hopes on the rainbow of zinnias we planted again after having such good success with them for the first time in 2016. We are trying strawflowers this year, too, and they are budding up nicely and should be ready for cutting soon.