Dahlia ‘Akita’: Until we Meet Again

I saw it coming. For once, I was monitoring the weather. All the houseplants were safely inside (well, most of the houseplants were already squirreled indoors). But what happens to the dahlias is beyond my control. With tubers planted in gigantic containers too large to haul in — the only way that they’re coming indoors is in a paper bag.

Unable to extend their performance, I did what any self-respecting devotee would do — I shot them. With my camera, of course. And I especially focused on the dahlia that has given me untold pleasure this summer — ‘Akita’.

I ordered ‘Akita Mixed’ from Longfield Gardens (www.Longfield-gardens.com), and every flower has been an odyssey. The only way that I can think to describe the flowers is that they’re colored like quills. What do you think? Maybe an Indian headdress with stripes of copper and yellow or stripes of magenta/purple and yellow, depending on the bulb. There’s nothing like a mixture to keep you guessing. And that’s part of the fun.

Described as a dinnerplate, ‘Akita’ is definitely plus-sized, but not unwieldy. Each flower is about 3-4 inches or so with dense petals in the center but outer petals extending like rays. In other words, it doesn’t look heavy. And in fact, mine stood up without staking — I always avoid staking if possible. Anybody else with me on this? It always seems awkward and contrived. If it’s got to happen, the best way to achieve propping up is behind the scenes. And that’s nearly impossible with a dahlia, especially a potted dahlia. Anyway, ‘Akita’s thick stem did the job — unwaveringly. And heaven knows, there were plenty of gusty days to challenge their strength.

Buds kept coming. They would have continued, but The Late Show wasn’t in the cards. So I snapped a few final photos last night, cut them down this afternoon, and tucked them somberly into the cellar until next spring. Sometime this winter, let’s all look back at these photos. Already seems surreal, doesn’t it?

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4 Responses to Dahlia ‘Akita’: Until we Meet Again

  1. Wow, these Dahlias are gorgeous! I’ve been thinking I should try some here. My daughter actually had one at her old house and it did well. So, you’re outdoor growing season is over. We’ve been in the low 80′s again this week. It’s supposed to get colder this weekend, but our average freeze date here in north central Texas isn’t until
    November 15th so I still have a measure of blooming beauties in my yard. I pray all is well with you. Natalie

    • Tovah Martin says:

      Our season went out with a bang, Natalie. Usually we have a few “scares.” This year, it dropped straight down to 27 degrees on our first frost — so, in other words, it was a hard freeze — no fooling around. Then, of course, the thermometer shot up again.

      ‘Akita’ is one of my favorites. But if you love deep garnet, try ‘Naomi’ also. It kept pumping out flowers. And Naomi is my little sister’s name = so of course I love it.

  2. Nancy Wristen says:

    What size pot do you put them in and how early do you start them? Do you add any other plants with them? I’d love a picture of the whole pot next time. Thanks.

    • Tovah Martin says:

      Glad to grant your wish, Nancy. I’ll add a few full plant photos to the blog this evening–so tune in again later. In the meantime, the pots were huge = 12-14 inch wide and some were Long Toms, so they were deep. And I planted them up in May, I believe–after danger of frost. In another pot, I added pennisetum in combination, but that wasn’t in sufficient sun, so I didn’t get great bloom. But I loved the concept, so I’m going to try that again next year in more sun. More later.

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