2013-08-29 / From The Garden

Late Summer Favorites

By Cynthia Gibson

The dahlia is a tuber planted in this area every May. As summer winds down and the first cool evenings of autumn approach, we are still at the height of sunflower and dahlia season. It is also the peak of blackberry and fall raspberry season. If you are about to make jam, the berries are now ripe for the picking through September and the beginning of October.

As for flowers, the sunflower is a magnificent symbol of the end of summer. A true native of North America, today most American sunflowers and their seeds are produced in the Dakotas and in Minnesota. The U.S. also grows sunflowers as crops for birdseed, oil, and snack food. Although sunflowers produce tasty crunchy seeds, they are perhaps most admirable in a vase.

Dahlias, on the other hand, are not edible but are simply beautiful. The dahlia is a tuber planted in this area every May. There are many types, such as the cactus, ball, pom pom, water lily, stellar, collarette, orchid, peony, single, semi double, and anemone. Gardeners dig up the tubers and store them in a cool basement after the blooming cycle is completed in October.

Dahlias also have a size code, and they need one. Considering the many varieties and shapes, it is helpful to know the flowers' sizes and heights for placing and planting purposes. They are measured by the width of the flower heads: AA (10" or more), A (8" to 10"), B (6" to 8"), BB (4" to 6"), M (up to 4"), and P (up to 2").

Tips for the garden this week:

. Continue weeding
. Add new potting soil and fertilizer to your potted plants to
extend their growing season
. Get jars and canners ready
for jam making

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