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Dahlia Delights


Last summer, I had the pleasure of strolling through Cantigny Park in Wheaton, where the floral displays are always spectacular. Some of the loveliest plants there were the dahlias in shades of red, yellow, white and pink, some with burgundy leaves. I realized then that my garden was sorely lacking in these beautiful flowers.

‘Mystic Dreamer’

‘Mystic Spirit’

Liz Omura, curator of Cantigny’s Idea Garden, provided these photos — ‘Mystic Dreamer’, ‘Fire Mountain Red’ and ‘Mystic Spirit’ dahlias, and assured me that the plants are not that difficult to grow. You can try them out yourself this summer by picking up a few plants when the Southtown Dahlia Club hosts their annual dahlia plant and tuber sale on Sunday, April 28, 2013 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Crestwood Civic Center 14025 S. Kostner in Crestwood. Now’s your chance to speak with the experts on how to grow dahlias in containers and mix them alongside your perennials and other annuals.

‘Fire Mountain’

“The sale will feature newly rooted dahlia cuttings, sprouted dahlia tuber plants, and packaged tubers selling for $4 to $7 each,” says club member Sue Fitzgerald. “Our plants produce show quality blooms from July through November, and we will provide instructions on how to care for them. Most of these are varieties that you won’t find locally.” The sale will also offer a selection of vegetable, herbs and annuals. For more information contact Sue at 708-307-9198.

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questions

I have two 20-year-old pine trees whose needles are turning brown on the west side of the plants. On the east side I have a compost pile.

I live in the St. Charles region and my soil is mostly clay. What is causing the browning? Should I get rid of the compost? How do I correct the damage?

I purchased some pre-chilled hyacinths and tulips for forcing but there were no directions with them. Does this mean I don’t have to chill them in the refrigerator, and will they just bloom in the house any time during the winter? The last batch of bulbs became moldy in the refrigerator.

I am interested in growing fruit trees in my suburban DuPage County yard. Can sweet cherries be grown here? Can you suggest varieties of apples, pears, peaches, apricots and plums that are hardy and disease resistant?

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