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Yesterday Matt Mattus outlined his theory that there is a dahlia shortage on his blog Growing with Plants. (Sidenote: There are a very small number of gardening blogs that I consider to be the cream of the crop, and Matt’s is one. Check it out if you’re looking for serious advice on how to grow plants). He based this on his personal experience, which is that he was finding many of the tubers he was looking for to already be sold out.

This put me in complete panic mode. While I have been perusing various dahlia sites, I hadn’t yet pulled the trigger on anything other than an obscene amount of Cafe au Lait dahlias (which I really have no business growing; they will need to be staked and I’m horrible about staking things until they have already flopped over). But a dahlia shortage? Oh my gosh. Must buy all the dahlias. Now.

A dahlia from 2013. Sadly I have no idea which one it was.

So I went on a tear over at Swan Island Dahlias. And then I found another one I needed so I had to order from somewhere else. And then it struck me that I may have gone overboard, so I went through my notes and added it up: 44 dahlia tubers (including a couple freebies from a bulk purchase) are on their way to me this spring. And I put another 20 in storage (although I don’t count on that working, I may have let them dry out too much before I stored them in late fall). I have a bigger-than-average garden, but that is way too much.

Last year I got really into the poms and more formal dahlias.

And as long as I’m confessing to gardening purchasing sins, in addition to an absolutely ridiculous seed order that will require me to move out of entire rooms of the house if I’m to start them all inside, I have also already purchased three clematis and one rose.

This is all in a season in which we intend to buy three trees, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you don’t skimp on trees.

My only hope for any money left in the bank account come July is that I’m successful in my seed-growing, as I’m hoping that many of the annuals I grow this year will be grown from seed. If that works out, the “budget” (there is no budget) may balance out a little better.

See what winter can do to a gardener? It’s not good. However, I have decided that by publicly confessing my winter plant shopping sins, all will be absolved. So feel free to free yourself from your burden in the comments. I won’t tell.

11 Responses

  1. Ordered snowdrops "in the green" and a big order of perennials from Digging Dog on the west coast. The shipping on that order will not be mentioned except in a whisper. I am currently checking a bulb site multiple times per day waiting for them to put up their 2015 list. I think my eyes are bigger than my garden already! As for trees, if it's a fast grower like River birch don't bother to go very big. They really do grow fast. I only go big on unusual things or where I want instant effect.

    1. Oh those shipping charges always get me. I just try to squint and not see them. All is forgotten when those beautiful plants show up. Trees on the list for this year are a magnolia (to replace the fringe tree which has underperformed and will be moved elsewhere), a crabapple (at the husband's request) and an as-yet-undecided large tree to replace one of the big ones we had to take down in fall.

  2. Hmm…I haven't ordered any plants yet, but I have purchased some books on garden planning and some tools to help me measure my property. The big goal for this year is to get a whole garden plan on paper (even if it takes me years to implement). I really want to get some trees in the ground and I'm hoping the plan ensures they get planted in the correct place. I did buy a few seed packets of zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers but I'm wondering if it is worth it to try starting seeds indoors for the first time. It seems like a lot of upfront costs for annuals that may prefer the direct sow method anyway.

  3. My biggest sin is going to the nursery and buying one single plant that catches my eye without any idea where I'm going to put it. One plant is never enough of something. So if I love it, I have to wait 3 or 4 years to split it and get more. I'm the girl that says "I'll take one of this, and one of those and ooh, that looks nice – I'll take that too"

    1. I've gotten a little better about that recently, but I still do it every once in a while. The problem is that one plant doesn't cost that much but then you multiple that by three and that's suddenly no longer spur-of-the-moment purchase kind of money.

  4. Luckily I haven't gone crazy yet. You are a more calculated sinner. I'm am erratic. I once went to my favorite nursery for one last bag of potting soil. One bag. I got my one bag and left. Then the next morning I had a flatbed delivery 🙂
    I wonder if the dahlia shortage coming about in February is sort of like the PUMPKIN SHORTAGE we're always warned about in early November? Although I will say that I noticed a weaker selection last year. I've never had any luck drying dahlias for the right amount of time either. Can't wait to see all your new treasures! I'm only doing basil and sage this year. Basil and sage. That's it. Basil and sage.

  5. Last night my husband, in a very cautious voice, asked if the $300+ Fedco seed order was mine or perhaps someone stole our credit card info? (He actually does have a legitimate concern as the bank changed our credit cards this week due to hacking in their system.) I assured him that some other crazy plant person has not stole our credit card info to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of plants. : )
    All this to say…you are not alone!!!!!!! (And I'd better go order my dahlias now!!!)

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