15 August 2011

Lying to plants


Okay folks, I am VERY proud of what you see below.
 My Dahlia imperialis, which I got from Annie's Annuals, is flowering. In my garden. In Michigan. In August.
If you are not familiar with this dahlia, you may not get why that is so exciting. Here's the deal: Like regular dahlias, this species isn't hardy here. Unlike regular dahlias, it normally blooms in November. As in, when my garden is generally under several feet of snow. Getting Dahlia imperialis flowers normally an impossibility without a greenhouse in these parts.
But I have one flowering anyway. Right now! Because I know something: These dahlias, like most fall and winter flowering plants, are triggered to bloom by the long nights of winter. So, I merely tricked them, using... The Trash Can of DECEIT!!! (Bum-ba-bum!)
Also works on humans. Short days trigger my urge to buy seeds
Back in the end of June, I started placing the Trash Can of Deceit over my Dahlia imperialis every afternoon at 4, and taking it off again the next morning at 8. The foolish dahlia, tricked by my fiendish plan, therefore thought the night was 16 hours long, rather than the only 9 hours of darkness we actually get here in June, and so started getting ready to flower.
A little less than a month after I started using the Trash Can of Deceit, I spotted the beginnings of a tiny flower bud on my plants. Knowing my plan had worked, I stopped covering the plant every day. Too late, the dahlia released its mistake. It wasn't winter after all! But the bud was already growing, nothing it could do to stop that now.
Ha ha! The fool!
And so, I am the proud owner of a blooming Dahlia imperialis. It is only 2 feet tall instead of the 8 it would normally reach because I interrupted its growing when it was just getting started, but still, I am very, very proud.

15 comments:

Jeff Mason said...

Brilliant!

Greensparrow said...

Thanks Jeff!

Mary C. said...

O.O thou art so devious!!! how could you do that to your green child?! :9

Anonymous said...

I live in zone 5A (wilds of PA) and am wondering how many other plants could be tricked by the Trash Can of Deceit.

Tom said...

That's so cool! That kind of makes me want to go buy one now...

College Gardener said...

Awesome... :)

Greensparrow said...

Mary, it is sort of like telling your kids that Santa is real... it is okay to lie for a good cause.

Annonymous,
Any plant that is triggered to bloom by short days can be fooled with the trash can... Start experimenting!

Tom,
A dahlia or a trash can? :)

College Gardener,
Thanks! I'm sure my neighbors think I'm insane.

Tom said...

A trash can, obviously.

Leslie said...

What a great idea! This could also work in reverse--to keep spinach (and maybe lettuce) from bolting... you'd just have to start earlier in the season, before days hit 14 hours of daylight.

Cassy said...

Good idea!

Your purple Dahlia flower is very lovely.

Cyndy said...

The trash can of deceit is an idea to steal, for sure! I'm thinking I could have my Christmas cactus blooming right about now :)

Cindy, MCOK said...

Daniel, honey, that cracked me up. Now tell me how I can do that down here in Texas!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

And you should be. Sometimes deceit is a good thing. You are a clever gardener. Loved chatting with you on the bus at GWA. Good luck on all things homegrown.~~Dee

Rohrerbot said...

Very fun experiment!

Gail said...

Love the "trash can of deceit"~we do what we have to!