Last week the little picture of the moon and the cold crisp night sent me into a panic. Scattered frost was on the way and I wanted to save the dahlias. Scattered could mean it might not hit my microclimate in Gilbert. But I knew it would.
I was in a frenzy because I had not marked them with ribbons yet. I use curly ribbon to mark each color. Once the frost hits you can’t figure out what color you had and you won’t know how to store them. We store each color individually. It keeps the hybrid colors intact and you’ll know what to plant where next year.
I knew the flowers couldn’t be saved forever, but we were facing some really warm nights afterwards. I really needed a second chance to get out there and mark them.
I knew if I could protect the dahlias for just two nights I’d have another week of flowers.
So my husband and I went out at 10 o’clock at night with all the plastic tablecloths I could find. Forget about the tablecloth for Thanksgiving – you can replace that. When I ran out of sheets and tablecloths, I went reverted to newspaper to cover those delicate blooms.
And it worked. It was a light frost and a few flowers were damaged, but most were not.
In September we picked more than 1,000 flowers. Now, we’re plucking almost 100 every other day. They aren’t big like they were in the summer. Some are malformed. But most are just beautiful.
We’ve been taking flowers to nursing homes to cheer the residents. It cheers us, too. We have run out of water bottles (for vases) several times in the past few weeks. We’ve been searching high and low, begging and borrowing plastic bottles of any kind.
The five-day forecast is still favorable for flowers.
So, don’t be surprised if you see me on the street rummaging through bins for plastic bottles. I’m just trying to find homes for our flowers. They can’t arrest you for that, can they?