June 2021 saw an introduction of dahlias to the Barracks Gardens. Due to our short mountain growing season bedding plants were chosen versus seeds or tubers. Planting dahlias was a nod to the past flower shows and beautification programs of early Canmore.
The flowers were spectacular and got lots of attention. Plate-sized and lush the rich deep red and purple blooms made an impactful addition to the grounds and perennial beds. A large number were planted in the clawfoot tub art piece and others were interspersed in the beds.
Maintenance of the tubers at the end of the season is a bit fussy but hopefully worth it when we are able to repeat the display in years to come. The tubers are removed about a week after a hard frost and when the plant has browned and begins to dry out. Stalks are cut at the top of the tuber and all the soil is carefully removed. After drying out of the elements for a few days the tubers are layered in a box or bin and layered with paper so they remain out of any light. They need to be stored in a cool, not frozen, dark place.
Dahlias may be grown from seed but the blossoms will be smaller and they will not produce viable tubers in one season. They are annuals but with care the tubers may be split and babied to produce for years to come.