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May 3, 2022
“I love spring anywhere, but if I could I would always greet it in a garden.”
-Ruth Stout, American garden writer (1884-1980)
Time is Running Out – and So Are the Bulbs! Order Now and SAVE 25%!
It’s not TOO late, 33 of our spring-shipped treasures are still available. See our Bulbs on Sale page for 25% off remaining varieties. How can you resist? Order your own box-load of summer excitement now!
A Note of Caution for Northern Dahlia Lovers: Don’t Plant Outside Too Soon!
We sympathize: your OHG box has arrived, it’s one of the first warm days of spring, and you are eager to get your new tubers into the ground and growing! Check the soil temperature and weather forecast before acting on that impulse, however. If the soil is too cool, or if spring rains are in the forecast, your tubers may rot before they put down roots. It’s best to wait until your local frost free date or until soil temperatures reach 60°F. Our soil temperature here in Ann Arbor is only 48F, still too early to plant, even though the 10-day forecast shows temperatures well above freezing. If you’re in a short-season area, you can try starting in pots indoors for a head start, but we find in zone 6 that our dahlias are just fine planted after May 15.
We were happy to see that the 2022 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac gives the same advice, and it was lovely to read this quote leading off the article: “As Scott Kunst, former proprietor of Old House Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan once observed: ‘Dahlias get more and more charged up. They’re like fireworks - they can animate and transform the garden.’” Here’s wishing you a glorious display in late summer!
The American Peony Society is Coming to Our Hometown!
It’s the 100th anniversary of the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden in Ann Arbor, begun with the gift of a diverse collection of peonies from Dr. W. E. Upjohn, peony-lover, 1875 graduate of the University of Michigan, and founder of the pharmaceutical company that bears his name. The Garden now proudly holds North America’s largest public collection of heirloom herbaceous peonies, currently consisting of 350 historic varieties from the nineteenth to the first half of the twentieth century, including many of the original plants donated from 1922-1927. The American Peony Society was formed in nearby Detroit in 1903, so it seems fitting that they’re returning to their Michigan roots for their annual convention this year, to be held in Ann Arbor June 2-5. This article https://michigantoday.umich.edu/galleries/pretty-in-pink/ from the Michigan Daily provides lovely photos as well as more information about the history of the Gardens, and you can find out more about the American Peony Society’s convention at https://americanpeonysociety.org/100-years-in-bloom-michigan-convention/.
The Historical Iris Preservation Society and Other Resources for Gardeners
Some of you with iris on your spring orders may have seen a postcard from HIPS attached to your packing list this year. Since we never share our customers’ personal information, this was a way we could help our friends there reach out to fellow enthusiasts as well as letting you know a little about their worthy organization. They are actively engaged in efforts to preserve historic iris and have a network of members who grow and share wonderful and rare varieties. They also try to identify mystery irises, though as they point out, many beautiful ones were results of home or small-scale breeding efforts and don’t have recorded names. Explore their range of resources here: https://historiciris.org/
And in case iris and peonies aren’t your passion, here are some of the other non-profit associations we recommend that provide a wealth of information for gardeners at all levels of experience:
The Colorado Dahlia Society (known across the country for their Big List of varieties and sources)
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