Gardening Tales

My First Year Of Growing Dahlia's In Colorado

August 22, 2019
Hello and Welcome!
Today is August 22, 2019 and today is the very first entry into my Gardening Journal. Today I am beginning with a broad overview of Dahlia's including some notes at the end of this post of my first year of gardening in Colorado. During the course of the upcoming year I will include my experiences, observations, notes, successes, losses, recommendations, and the model of my small but semi-prolific Flower Farm. I am gardening at an elevation of 7,369 feet. There are a variety of challenges at this altitude.

Lavender, sunflowers, daisies, dahlias, baby's breath, bouquet
                               Fresh Garden Bouquet From My Raised Garden Beds August 2019

sunflower, homegrown, garden, flower, farm,athomewithjemma
                         Homegrown Sunflower In Raised Garden Beds With Baby Pine-cone

My ten year goal is that I will look back on this entry and this "farming," journey with acres, yes acres of flowers and a smile and say to myself ..."oh so this is how it all came about!"

dahlias, colorado, flower, farm, Jemma
This dream of mine is one that I have had since I was just a youngster.  So awkward in stature, too short of hair, a rectangular figure and rather oblivious of most everything. I raced the wind on my blue bike and tumbled among the farm ditches and canals.

Flowers, sunflowers, flowerfarm, growingflowers, jemma

My dream blossomed in the Summer of 1968, under two glorious umbrella styled Crab-apple Trees that were simply a- buzz with busy bees.
I was watering my makeshift flower garden on the sunny East side of our red brick Farmhouse. 
Oh yes dear Journal,  I grew up with farming all around me and also in my blood. It is in my's inevitable, it's high time I just embrace it...overalls and all.
garden, gardening, pink, dahlia, homegrown, flowers

I have nurtured this dream in my heart for 50 + years and no matter where the journey of life has taken me, this dream has never left my heart. I figure it is about time I really paid attention to the calling, because you see as long as I have had a spot of soil and some seeds to plant there has always been hope. Mind you not just for growing...but for living.

dahlia, dahlia farm, flower farm, gardening

HOPE-"Hope” is commonly used to mean a wish : its strength is the strength of the person's desire. But in the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness."

"Never give up, because you never know what tomorrow might bring."
 *Marjorie May Ward* (My Mom) May her generous soul, gardeners hands and farmers heart always shine brightly over the farmland in Idaho and until we meet again may I grow with zest and zeal.


I am amazed to have discovered that there are just about 42 species of Dahlia's and innumerable hybrids. 

It is quite a feat to begin life buried in the cold hours of Spring as a homely tuber and fantastically blossom into such a magnificent beauty by Summer.

Most certainly a testimony to our connection to the earth and of all of God's promises. So this is just one of the many reason that planting, growing and nurturing a garden means so much to me. 

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden." ~Thomas Jefferson

A Beginners Guide To Dahlia Classification 

1. Pompoms and balls are round ball-shaped flowers with double flat spirally arranged petals.

PA* Pompom- Fully double flowers almost round in shape with tightly quilled petals. Flower size 2" or less.

BA* Ball Fully- double flowers, ball-shaped or slightly flattened at the face, the ray florets are blunt, rounded, or indented. Involute for most of their length fully involute for about one-half their length and normally displayed in a spiral arrangement.

2-Decorative may be formal or informal and bear blooms thick with petals that are usually flat but can be rolled as well.

FD* Formal Decorative-Flat Petals with an even, regular placement throughout the flowers.
ID*  Informal Decorative-Generally flat petals, sometimes slight rolled at the tips, but with irregular arrangement formation.

4-Ray Petals are blunt and can be "quill," like.
 *Still working on understanding the details of this classification*

5-Cactus are one of the showiest:

IC* Incurved Cactus-Petal rolled for their full length, with tip of the petals curving toward the center of the flower.
SC* Semi Cactus Petals-Petals flat at the base, with less than half of the petals rolled or quilled
C*   Straight Cactus-Petals rolled for one-half their length, straight or nearly straight.

mason jars, flowers, sunflowers, dahlias, homegrown.

Summarizing my first Year of Growing Dahlia's in Colorado.

I planted approximately 35 assorted Dahlia Tubers in mid-may 2019. As soon as they were planted in the raised beds we had nearly 2 feet of snow. This snowfall set records. I expected that my Dahlia Tubers were long gone, but to my surprise they arose from the ground and bloomed! I suspect that they are not at their best as our we have had so much rain, cool & cloudy weather. (record setting)

 I really have no idea what category they fall into. Reds, pinks, yellows, variegated, they all caught my eye and I had an inkling that they would thrive in cooler weather, as I had tried them once in my Rockwall Texas garden, and the heat of the Summer zapped them. 
I purchased them from a variety of places; Home depot, online, mail order from various Instagram accounts.  As they arrived through the mail and whenever I would pick up a random bag I would store them in the coolness of the basement. I will try again next year, with accurate record keeping and make note of what I plant and where.

Feeling blessed with the beauty around me and thankful that my sweet tubers bloomed so nicely.

For More Gardening Information

Germinating Your Own Seeds

Imagine, Dream, Create

Related posts


  1. I’m beyond delighted that you have decided to use your blog as a journal of sorts Jemma. It’s a perfect vehicle for just that, and in a way it’s like going back to it’s roots, as that’s really how blogging started. I think some bloggers (myself included) are struggling with what to do with their blogs...caught between not wanting to abandon it but not knowing what will be meaningful. Kudos to you for figuring out what will work for you (and your flower loving readers).

    I believe wholeheartedly that you will someday have a glorious multi acre farm that, along with your beautiful family, will be your legacy.

  2. This is great and excited to see you following the flower farm idea. I could also see you doing dalhia retreats at your farm because you're such an amazing host.

    Now I can learn more about these amazing flowers from you which is pretty awesome.

    Years ago, I worked in a flower shop and the owners grew acres of dahlias. (In Wa. State) The variety was amazing and I remember on Fridays we made huge hand-tied bouguets for $5. We sold out every friday. Once you get going think about whole -selling some of your harvest to local flower shops.

    I'm using one of your images today and see if I can turn it into a watercolor. If I have some luck (I've been a little off lately) I'll send it to you eventually.

    Keep gardening, it agrees with you!
    Hugs - Carole

  3. Hi sweet Jemma, happy to see your love of flowers is blossoming. Dahlias are such a beautiful flower. A flower farm is a great idea. my neighbor grows peonies on a plot of land . She sells them at the Farmer's market and also to florists. I am wishing you much success in whatever you choose to do. is my neighbor's site. xoxo

  4. Hello sweet friend. Your Dahlias are just beautiful. I think growing flowers is such a great idea. How wonderful to be surrounded by beautiful flowers. Happy Friday and have a great weekend.

  5. Lovely post dear Jemma! I am so glad you are starting your dream about dahlias! So interesting to read your notes and thoughts. I can image gardening is so much more pleasant in Colorado than the stifling heat in Texas. Still can't believe you moved and are settled so quickly. I love dahlias also and find myself having dahlia envy. My garden is too shady but I yearn to make a floral arrangement with dahlias. I wish so much our farmers would plant some flower farms and sell the flowers in the summer at the Farmers market so my dream could come true.
    Have a great weekend.

  6. Oh Jemma, I love that you shared some of your gardening journal with us. I am one who
    journals too, and it's such a wonderful thing to do. We can look back and see all things
    that happened with fond memories. Thank you for mentioning the word HOPE today.
    It's one of my favorite words, and what you said about it was very special. I love the fact that you had gardeners and farmers in your mom and dad, and they taught you so many things about the earth. Your Dahlia's are beautiful, especially those red ones, oh my. I smiled when you said, "I just embrace it...overalls and all," as I remember one hot Summer working on a farm every day with the rest of my family, and the thing I remember most was those overalls I wore every day. Keep gardening, Jemma....the earth teaches us so much, being humble for one. And that's why I think you're one of my favorite ladies in blog land. : )


  7. How poetic, how inspiring, Jemma! I believe in your hopes and dreams! Your dahlias are already showing their beauty in this, their first year! Your gardening journal will be a treat for me. Wishing you all the success you hope for.

  8. These look lovely and I'm so glad you have a dream coming true! Miss you being here in Texas but I know you are where you are meant to be.

  9. Good morning dearest Jemma! It's been a busy week for me as I went back to school to plan for the arrival of the children on Monday. As I read your entry here, I am reminded of my important role as a "Dreamweaver." Everyone of us has a dream, and we are far better off when we have people who believe in us. I know you have someone/people in your life who believe and support your efforts and I AM ONE OF THEM! How marvelous that you had a mother who verbally expressed her ideas about living, then passing them on to you. How wonderful that you are a woman who never gives us. SO AM I. Your flower dreams, GO FOR IT, WOMAN! I have my dreams to, and with time, the Grace of God and effort, the stories of our lives will blossom as these amazing dahlias, to bring awe, wonder and a smile to this world.

  10. Oh, how lovely!! I also loved reading about you as a little girl with your dreams of a flower garden!! Now, your long-held dreams are becoming reality, sweet friend. So wonderful to follow along on this journey, and I can't wait to see all the ways God blesses the work of your hands!

  11. Oh Jemma, I am so excited that you are living your dream -- and what a long-lived dream it has been. Your dahlias are beautiful -- all the colors just jumping off the page, as colorful and lovely as you are. What an adventure -- I can't wait to hear more!

  12. What a lovely post, your Dahlias look beautiful.

    All the best Jan

  13. Your flowers turned out to be amazing despite the late snow and cold June, followed by a hot dry summer July and August. You have a green thumb Jemma!

  14. Hello Jemma, You have a very nice blog,
    Yea about dahlia, i like this flower,
    But its very hard to grow here in my country
    except in highland


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