As a rule, I'm not in favor of any plant that you have to repeatedly plant and dig up, plant and dig up, ad infinitum. But every rule has an exception and I think I've met mine. Dahlias. They're big and showy and prolific--really a lot of bang for your gardening buck and probably worth every bit of the extra shoveling effort. Naturally, a group shoveling effort is bound to produce even more dazzling results. So today, with long-awaited blue skies overhead, my Landscape-Hort class headed over to the Lakeside Garden Center by Lake Merritt in Oakland to till and plant an entire bed of dahlias under the direction of Charles Russell of the local dahlia society.
Charles is extremely knowledgeable about dahlias and it seemed like he could answer any question we threw at him. When we arrived at the park, he had already laid out dozens of milk cartons filled with the dahlia tubers (which, as Charles pointed out, are actually tuberous roots rather than tubers) that had been carefully stored for the winter.
We had to manually till the whole bed first, but fortunately the soil was sandy and the digging was easy. We then dug a hole by each stake, 8" deep and 12 " across. Charles gave a demonstration on how to place the tuber and then cover with only 2" of soil. There was quite a variety of dahlias in the group and they should be quite spectacular when they begin to bloom in about 90 days. The dahlia society has a sale coming up in a couple weeks. Anyone want to suggest a favorite dahlia that I should buy to put in my garden?