We are in the middle of the “dog days of summer”. This means that there is an abundance of Ontario cut flowers available to you. Two of the staples of summer cut flowers in Ontario are sunflowers and gladiolus. Gladioli are such a favourite as they are nostalgic and come in a rainbow of colours. Sunflower colours have also expanded from the traditional yellow, to butter yellow, red, red/yellow bicoloured, mauve, and the tinted red. A product newcomer as a large volume producer to the Ontario market is Dahlias. In the last Canada Blooms newsletter there was an article highlighting the care of dahlias.
We do have a number of commercial growers in Ontario that work very hard to produce beautiful flowers.
Most dahlia growers’ season starts in April. In April growers are checking their stored tubers to be sure that only the healthy ones are planted. Planting (and praying) start in late April/early May once the ground is dry enough and warm enough. Care is taken to ensure that optimal growing conditions are met.
Cutting of flowers should start mid-July. The season for cut dahlias will last as long as warm dry weather stays. (Note: October brides wanting dahlias should always have a “Plan B”) Cool nights without frost really slow down growth.
Once frost hits in September / October growers must “lift” (dig out) the tubers they want to reuse the following year. This is when the first grading of tubers happens. The tubers are then put away for the winter in a cool (not cold), dry sleep until the following April when the cycle starts again.
If you are interested in meeting one of our premiere Ontario Growers, check out the August “Petals and Plates” (also a board member of Ontario Flower Growers). To order tickets, or to find out more details (and see an awesome video of past events), go to www.petalsandplates.ca