Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It must be May...

...if the tree dahlias are blooming. They flower like clockwork, same time each year. The buds have been developing for a week or two and a few days ago the first pinky-purple flowers crept out. Now the blossoms are coming thick and fast, and the backyard will be awash with pinky-purple snow as the petals fall. They're tall plants, well above the house eaves. It's been windy and the long, long stems - a bit like bamboo - are propped up with fence palings lest they topple over. One windy night last week, one of the thinner and weaker stems did break off, but I leaned it up against the parent plant and despite its separation the buds on the broken limb have opened anyway. These plants are tough.

The bees love these flowers. Perhaps there's not a great deal to choose from at this late stage of autumn, but there is usually a host of happy bees buzzing in and out of the blossoms gathering nectar. In the lower right corner you can just make out a bee zeroing in on a flower, and lots of buds to come. It looks like a lovely day in these photos, and part of it was, with the sun out and blue skies. Don't let the blue skies fool you, though, it was cold! I have on my fingerless gloves to type.

That's the roof gutter this bough is leaning on. There's another bee sipping at the centre of the flower on the right. I have a double white tree dahlia, too, but it always flowers a couple of weeks later than the pinky-purple variety: the buds are just beginning to form. After if flowers, I plan to move the white one from it's current position underneath the clothesline because I haven't been able to raise, lower, or turn it for a couple of months since the dahlia grew through the wires :)

The tree dahlias are amazing. They survive heat, wind, drought, cold and keep on coming back. Every year after the flowers are finished, I raze them to the ground, and within a couple of months they send up new shoots. I am always astonished at how quickly and how tall these plants grow - easily sixteen or more feet of growth in a season. Gotta love that.

1 comment:

Caroline M said...

Sales of bedding plants will be big here this year because some people will end up planting twice. Last night we had a late frost so all those little tender plants will have had their leaves nipped.