Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2016 APS Convention Peony Tour Dalhke Garden

Peonies, Irises, and Alliums at Play in the Dalhke Garden

I must say that the Dalhke Garden was my favorite personal garden tour during the 2016 American Peony Society Convention. However I think I'll let the flowers do the talking in this garden. Check out the first photo with the peonies, irises, and alliums. The size of these plants were just huge with too many flowers to count on each of them. The size of everything in this garden made me feel like Alice in Wonderland. It felt like I shrunk, or the flowers just became giants. The size ratio of the flowers in this garden made me feel like I was a child again in my grandmother's garden where the peonies were as tall as me. The peonies in this garden were as tall as people (some people at least). I kept wondering what in the world did they feed these plants? What was the secret to their garden that made everything grow so big and so healthy?

Whimsical Lavender Fence in Dalhke's Wonderland

Not only were the flowers of supernatural proportion, but the color in the garden just blows you away. Every nook and cranny, every crevice and corner of this garden was filled with color. No matter where you looked, there was something to look at. From the bright purple blooms to the lavender fences, birdhouses, and window sills, color met your eye. There were golden yellow intersectional peony blooms, fiery pink single peonies that almost met your nose, and deep red double peonies overflowing with blossoms. Not only the blossoms entertained the garden guests - the garden art and decorations also greeted you in every turn. There was just enough art to fill the spaces and draw the eye, but not too much to seem garish or gaudy. All of the art seemed to fit in just right and add pops of color just where they were needed. There were blue and green gazing balls, a bright multi-colored bottle tree, figurines, and even metal flowers - which all added to the experience and wonderment.

Fiery Pink Single Peonies in Dalhke Garden

I noticed they used cocoa hulls as mulch on several beds around the house. However, not all beds were mulched in cocoa hulls, some were covered with leaf mulch, some with wood mulch. When the tour was almost over, I finally got a chance to ask Betty Dalhke herself "How does your garden grow?" - so well! After a bit of talk about leaf mulch, I finally found out that her property used to be a working farm with animals many years ago. So the area behind her house (now her garden) used to contain animals. So that was it - composted manure! That was the secret to how her garden grew! Ever since that time I have been trying to figure out how to incorporate more composted manure into my own garden. I've been working on that, and I'll let you know a little more about that later...

The Dalhke Garden

I have already been in the process of trying to incorporate a few more garden ornaments into my garden. Previously my garden ornaments had been limited to the collection of fairies in my fairy garden, a small obelisk, and a few solar lights. In the last couple of years, I have been adding a few more things (bird statues seem to be my latest obsession.) However, I had already seen and wanted this mini glass bottle tree online that I later saw in the Dalhke's garden. Seeing it in person just made me want it even more. I just wasn't sure I wanted to shell out the $24 for the mini tree and another $19 for the glass bottles, plus another $12 in shipping ($55 in all), but now I'm considering it a bit more. If you happen to like this mini bottle tree and would like one for yourself, check it out the Gardner's Supply Company web site, Mini Bottle Tree. Happy Gardening! :-)

Dalhke's Mini Bottle Tree

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