Too many plants? Build a new garden


It’s only June 10th, but we’ve had at least four 90-plus degree days.  I’ve run the gamut of sweating as I was planting dahlias, to wearing a coat when shoveling dirt. What a weird “spring.”

Just made my garden dilemmas even stranger than normal.

This year, we ended up with way too many dahlias.


Blue Boy dahlia

I ordered dahlias as normal, but my husband Ronnie got into the act and ordered some while I was at work one day. Most of the 60 or so dahlias we planted last year resulted in tubers that could be divided into at least two

Otto's Thrill dahlia

Otto's Thrill dahlia

or three more tubers. I always order a few new ones. In addition to my usual dinnerplate collection, I ordered more small pompons and a Monet bicolor collection. Ronnie wanted dinnerplate pink and blue ones.

We never had blue or pink, he said. Actually, I did order blue once but it didn’t bloom. We had a pink Otto’s Thrill last year, but it was a late bloomer and we only got two flowers off the plant.

Welcome to every gardener’s nightmare. We have too many plants for the space we have available.


What to do? Build more gardens, of course.

We planted our three usual gardens, probably putting them too close to each other. But we’ll deal with that later. Sometimes tubers look just fine but don’t always come up.

When I wasn’t looking Ronnie stuck tubers in the tomato patch. I planted them next to the lattice around the deck and even snuck a few in other areas where they will be protected from Mr. Weedwhacker.

Luckily we had cleared  an area of trees and planned to put in flowering shrubs.

We just needed some topsoil. I wanted to buy 40 pound bags because master gardener Marilyn Baughman  said it’s a great way to put a new garden in a trouble spot. And I’ve got plenty of those. Bags can be dragged wherever you want. You just add a couple drainage holes, turn them over, put a slit in the bag and plant right in the bag.

But the garden store we went to was out of topsoil. All the way home, I heard,That’s what happens when you wait until Memorial Day.” Blah, blah, blah.

Last weekend they were still out of top soil so we made a few calls and within minutes had two scoops of topsoil delivered for $89. The truck dumped the soil right into the area we wanted to plant shrubs. We took some to expand another garden and planted 30 more dahlias. I put some newspapers under the ground to help block weeds from coming up.

And since the shrubs will not be big this year, we planted more dahlias in that garden.

What’s the fun of gardening if you can’t share? We gave some dahlia tubers to friends and neighbors and even packaged some to send to our son in West Chester.

Sharing knowledge is also fun and the Penn State master gardeners corner the market on that. Check out this upcoming program.  You can’t even buy a decent pair of gardening gloves for $3 and you can learn a lot.

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