Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Still Winter, But Spring and Dahlias Will Come

Ice-coated limbs eventually
overloaded and broke
in the ice storm.
Winter hit the Pacific Northwest particularly hard in January. Western Washington, whose winters are usually mild, got slammed with floods, then heavy snow, then the first ice storm in 15 years.

Rose hips shiver in ice
while the farm's dahlia
tubers snuggle indoors.

Ice storms are rare in Lynch Creek Farm's part of the world, and this one arrived on the heels of a heavy snowfall: one to two feet of snow (also rare here). The ice rain lasted for two days. Tree limbs and whole trees toppled under the weight of the accumulated ice and snow.

Naturally, the broken limbs and fallen trees took power lines out left and right. Some South Puget Sound residents and businesses were without power for as much as a week. But Lynch Creek Farm's dahlia tuber storage wasn't seriously affected; the power wasn't out long. And since the ice storm came on a warming trend, the farm's dahlia tubers rested secure, insulated by cedar chips and peat moss.

Weeks of glorious color lie ahead
when dahlias bloom this summer.
Although Punxsatawney Phil spotted his shadow last week, and there are weeks more of winter to get through, it's time to start looking forward to spring, to the planting of dahlia bulbs (actually, dahlia tubers) and the glorious array of summer dahlia flowers they'll produce.

If the days are still a little long and dark, you can think spring by checking out Lynch Creek's displays of great dahlias — dinner-plate dahlias to little pompons, spiky cactus dahlias to tidy mignon singles — and reserve your first choices now.

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