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Reader searches for canna lily seeds

By By Amelia O’Brian / horticulture columnist
Nov. 3, 2002
Dear Readers: I am starting off my column this week with a request from a reader who does not wish to be identified. He wrote to me looking for canna lily seeds. He uses the seeds to make jewelry. I do not have any seeds to give him, but if any of my readers do he and I would appreciate the help. He can use all of the seeds he can get. I would welcome any assistance in this matter. I can be contacted in the usual manner. Thank You, Amelia
Dear Gardener: I am getting ready to store my dahlia bulbs for the winter. I just have a couple of questions about the procedure. In what type of container should I put them? At what temperature should they be stored?
Dear Reader: Dahlias should be dug after one of two things happen either a hard frost has occurred or Nov. 1 has passed. Cut back the stems to about 3 inches, then wait about a week to dig the tubers.
Wash any soil off the tubers and treat with a fungicide or sulfur. Let the tubers dry a bit (a day should do it), but do not let them dry out too much. Pack the tubers in crates or boxes lined with newspaper. In between the tubers place peat moss, vermiculite or dry sawdust.
Place the container in a cool, dry place that will not be exposed to freezing temperatures. Temperatures between 35 and 50 degrees are preferable. Check the tubers every few weeks to dispose of any rotting ones and to spritz any overly dry ones with water.
Tubers can also be placed in a plastic bag filled with vermiculite or peat moss. Make sure that either the bag is open at the top or that is has holes in it. A sealed plastic bag will cause the tubers to rot.
The tubers can be planted outside in the spring after all danger of a hard frost has passed.
Dear Gardener: I am always seeing cabbage roses in decorator fabrics and pictures. They don't seem to greatly resemble the roses I am familiar with though. Do cabbage roses really exist or are they just figments of talented designers imaginations?
Dear Reader: Cabbage roses do in fact exist. They are also known as centifolias in the rose world. The Dutch developed them in the early 17th century. Their extremely fragrant blooms are amassed with petals giving them their overly full effect. Plants bloom only once during the year, usually late spring or early summer. Colors range from white to pale pink to red. Most varieties reach about 6 feet in height, although miniatures are available. Beware: Like most roses in the South, they are susceptible to powdery mildew.