I’m not quite sure why I decided to check on my Dahlia tubers, which I had lovingly stored away in the garage. Perhaps because several people had recently been talking about them. Perhaps just because I wanted a break from the very boring task of trying to re-organise the shelves in the garage that act as our larder. What I discovered nearly made my cry. Pathetic I know, but those Dahlias had brought outrageous colour to my garden for months last year and I was looking forward to more of the same, plus extras for the allotment by propagating from them. They had rotted away. I can only assume that the garage has been too damp for them, and they didn’t get enough protection in shredded paper. Probably because we keep the tumble dryer out there, and when it is on we prop the garage side door open for the vent hose. Given how wet it has been, this must have allowed the humidity to build up enough to kill them off.

So RIP ‘Rip City’, your velvet beauty was entrancing in the border and in the vase.

Requiem For 'Rip City'

RIP ”Hillcrest Royal’, your silly frilly pinkness always made me smile.

Requiem For 'Hillcrest Royal'

RIP ‘Bishop of Auckland’, you flowered your socks off and still looked beautiful frosted and dying.

Requiem For 'Bishop Of Auckland'

Clearly I have to buy new Dahlias, which I suppose I can view as an opportunity. Equally clearly I need to find a different place to store them next winter. Does anyone know whether a loft would be OK? Our shed is tiny and I’m sure it also has to be as damp as the garage…

48 thoughts on “Never to bloom again day

  1. Janet, That is hard to take! I always have trouble finding a place that’s cool enough and not too damp or dry, and even then seem to lose at least a third…The tubers are cheap when you consider what good performers they are, I suppose.

    1. Hi Cyndy, I find it strangely reassuring to learn that you tend to lose some too. I shall persevere!

  2. So very sad. They were stunning in their day. I always put mine in the cold cellar and never had problems with moisture and rot. Actually it is not really a cold cellar, but a space between inside and out. I have had them in the attic too. Worked great up there because it is cold, but not freezing.

  3. That is a shame. I have tried a few methods of storing Dahlias never found a perfect solution, always lost some. Your ones looked beautiful. Remember a number of years ago when Dahlias were considered to be unfashionable, absolute nonsense, think I will do a post on this.

    1. Fashion is so fickle, isn’t it! Interesting that I am not the only one to lose Dahlias over winter, I’d rather got the impression that this was an easy thing to do correctly. Ah well!

  4. Its hard to lose good friends, even when they’re plants. Lovely pictures.
    I’ve never grown dahlias, as I couldn’t face having to store them over winter (I’m an idle gardener), but I bet they’ll be fine in the loft next year.

    Enjoy choosing some new dahlia friends, you might find some new ones that you like even more than those you’ve tried before.
    Happy shopping and let the thought of new plants soothe the sadness of losing the old ones.

    1. I never used to be interested either, but got converted a few years ago – though I left before the whole lifting and storing thing happened. And yes, I am going to use it as an excuse to pick a few new ones!

  5. I have never tried dahlias because of all the storage etc. so I have no advice. I can only commiserate as those are some pretty spectacular flowers. But death and rebirth is the way of the garden … though sometimes hard to take.

    1. I thought it was going to be easy! Ah well, we live and learn. Unless you are a Dahlia…

  6. Hi, Thanks for commenting on my blog.

    For several years no we have stored our dahlia tubers in the ground protected under straw and polythene. Details are here if you are interested. I get the feeling that we may have come unstuck this year after such abysmal conditions

    1. You’re welcome Sue, glad to have found you. I’d wondered about leaving them in the ground, but I have heavy clay and was worried that they would just rot. Oh, wait, that’s what happened anyway! I’ll check out your link, thank you.

  7. Janet, Oh no! I am sorry you lost them~Goodness, they were gorgeous plants. Will you order different ones or stick with these? Do you think it’s the year of dahlias? Everyone I know is talking about them~They sure light up the summer and fall garden. gail

    1. Hi Gail. I’ll definitely order ‘Rip City’ and “Bishop of Auckland’ again, I may choose a different shocking pink, and I was already yearning for an orange one, so who knows…

  8. Hi,

    Lovly photos, so sorry to hear about the Dahlias. The first one is stunning and it might just be enticing me to try growing some next year (I’m no fan of picky plants, if they require anything more than being planted and watered/fed then I don’t bother). Oh so pretty!!! Must resist.

    I hope you begin to see some growth/bulbs appearing in your garden soon :)

    1. Hi Liz, I always thought the same, way too much work, but they flower for such a long time and are so stunning. I plan to order some single flowering types to plant at the allotment and attract bees and hoverflies.

  9. Commiserations! A sad moment… I particularly like the deep-coloured Rip City one.
    For what it’s worth, my Dad always used to keep the dahlia tuber indoors over winter, in one of our spare bedrooms, which was kept unheated. He used to wrap them in newspaper to insulate them and keep them in the dark.

    1. That sounds like a good idea, but all our bedrooms are are in year-round use and therefore heated. Think I’ll try the loft next time.

  10. RIP…so sorry the tubers didn’t make it…but, yes, a great opportunity for a new addition to the garden!

  11. aloha

    you have a wonderful colection of photographs still, i guess it will time to start more new additions also :)

    have a great weekend

  12. I have been fortunate with dahlias – I didn’t know about lifting them when I first had the, so I didn’y lift them and they came back and have continued to so so. Not sure why becaise my garden is not particulalry dry. I like Rip City in your picture – I might have to give that a go.

    1. ‘Rip City’ is wonderful, the photograph doesn’t really do the sumptuous colour justice and it flowered prolifically. I think I might try leaving some of mine in the ground this year.

  13. I’m so sorry, that really is a shame. I recently checked on my own tubers only to find them somewhat dried out. Clearly out basement is too warm! Finding the right location is really a pain. Have you tried keeping your tubers in dry peat moss to deal with some of the moisture issues? the peat should help to suck up some of the water.

    1. Hi Marguerite. I do my best to avoid peat in all its forms because of what is happening to the peat bogs here in the UK and Ireland. I may invest in some silica gel sachets and try some in the loft, but I am also going to try leaving some in the ground. Hope your tubers recover and surprise you.

  14. Oh, that’s so sad. Your photos are beautiful. We’re hoping to try a few dahlias this year, your pictures are inspiring in helping to decide which to plant – particularly love the first two. Not that that will be much consolation to you :-( We must remember then to lift them and not to store them anywhere damp to avoid a repeat performance! I hope that you find some lovely new tubers to replace them – and treat yourself. Sara.

    1. Hi Sara, go for it, you won’t regret it! Unless they die of course… Have fun choosing which ones to go for!

  15. Oh, darn. Sorry to hear about that! They were amazing while they lasted. I admire Dahlias and people who grow them, although I have never tried myself. Another plant to add to the list…

    1. They seem like they would be too much trouble, but they flower so abundantly and for so long that despite my recent setback I will be buying more.

  16. No blooms outside with deep snow cover, and none inside either, but I really enjoyed seeing your creative contribution to GBBD.

    1. Thanks Carolyn, Spring soon and plenty of flowers for all of us! Was excited to see lots of bulbs starting to push their heads up and new leaves coming on perennials as I did the later winter tidy today.

  17. Ouch! Your photos of the dearly departed only heighten the sense of loss of some stunning plants-to-be. And your comments are very heartfelt. We’re all gardeners here. We understand!

    1. Hi James, it is rather wonderful to get so many supportive comments, most of my friends would be inclined to wonder why I was so upset about a few flowers!

  18. We have heavy clay too Janet – the main thing is to stop them sitting in wet soil which is why we use the polythene – as I say this year may be the excepion as it has been so much frostier and colder for a long period.

    1. OK Sue, you’ve convinced me, I am going to give it a go this year!

  19. I read this and thought ‘Dahlias.Ah.Better go and visit the little darlings.’ I have just returned from that visit with very bad news. All of them, dead and soft and mouldy. I thought I had done enough to keep them frost free (which is the secret) but December’s ridiculously cold temperatures got to them.
    Oh well. A lot of gardening is about death.
    Now, where’s that catalogue…..?

    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry… You are right, there is a lot of death in this gardening lark, and it is curiously comforting to discover that so many other people are having the same experience, but still sad. Though an excellent opportunity to try new varieties! Happy catalogue browsing.

  20. Ouch! I am so sorry the tubers rotted. Sadness…. :( However, now you have a chance to buy new tubers. The flowers in the pix are really gorgeous. I rarely grow dahlias but maybe this year I’ll throw a few in.

    1. Oh you should, honest, if only so that you too can agonise over whether to lift and store or leave them in the ground ;-)

  21. I don’t like it when you find even a tiny thing dead – poor you. An opportunity for more experimentation true – what about getting a couple of the pics framed up to remind you of their glory? Lost but not forgotten.

    1. That’s a nice idea, I could start an “in memorium” display above my desk for me to gaze on when I should be doing my accounts…

  22. I can empathise with you Janet having just spent a hour performing surgery on my tubers. I’m hoping to save them after cutting out the rotted bits but being a Dahlia novice I don’t really know what to do next, I expect some of the damage will be terminal. Such a shame really sorry to hear about that.

    1. Oh, good luck Damo, hope you managed to salvage bits that will grow. Mine were too far gone :-(

    1. Not to worry, I am already salivating over which new ones I will buy to replace the casualties! Though I will definitely have another ‘Bishop of Auckland’, it was wonderful, and the hoverflies loved it too.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top