Nell Brown Dahlia Beds at Meeks Park & Union County Farmers Market 2016


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects

Nell Brown Dahlia Beds at Meeks Park & Union County Farmer’s Market: A family history of raising dahlias in Suches, Georgia is being perpetuated by Master Gardeners.
Contact: Annette Hopgood, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President –

2016 Dahlia Beds at Union County Farmer’s Market & Meeks Park

Farmers Market – dahlia bed has been weeded but could use a little more work, mostly under the split rail fence and in the big rocks next to the road. There is a newly discovered (by MGEVs) weed that is everywhere; also Johnson grass and pig weed. Generally, the tubers are slow to emerge. A few tubers have not sprouted but they are the late blooming ones. We should start having blooms around July 4th. All tubers were planted in two gallon pots with gravel in the bottom. The surrounding grass and planting area has been treated with a grub preventive and a Tom Cat © mole/vole preventive. Anticipate pinching back some of the plants Tuesday June 21st at 8:30 am. MGEVs are invited.

Meeks Park – dahlia bed completely weeded. The surrounding grass and planting area has been treated with a grub preventive and a Tom Cat © mole/vole preventive. Anticipate pinching back some of the plants Tuesday June 21st. We’ll meet first at Farmers Market and then move to Meeks.


Lilacs – All lilacs are pruned in the Park and Susan J and Annette pruned a few bushes at the Senior Center June 9th but have about 12 more left. The big, full lilac bush that’s located about half way down has a bird’s nest in it with eggs.  Susan and Annette were chewed out by mama bird the entire time we were deadheading it.   We’ll fix that bush later.

There are at least two bushes that are dead and will be dug up by the probationers.  Larry Connelly has agreed to provide fertilizer, mulch and the labor after he has the grass treated for grubs.

Roses – looks like the Knock-out Roses at Meeks have the virus; also think the ones at 1st Baptist have virus.

Report by Annette Hopgood and Susan Jarocki

Chairman Annette Hopgood has shared these photos of bloom succession from 2014 for your enjoyment:

MG Dahlia pictures 2014 bloom progression

2015 photos will be coming in the future but Chairman Annette Hopgood shares this Dahlia Growing Info:

Dahlia MG 2015 Public Instructions July 7 full page

Annette Hopgood also shares a website dealing with viruses in dahlias:

May 12th – Planting Day at Meeks Park Dahlia Bed

The following met at Meeks Park to plant 52 dahlia tubers:

Nell Brown, Annette Hopgood, Marcia Little, Rod Burley, Kay Burley, Pat Smith, Susan Jarocki and Cathy Haist.

Nell presented her ‘helpers’ with certificates as Dahlia Dudes!

Each dahlia planted has its own rebar/label like at the Farmers Market. Most are planted in 1.7 gal pots with three planted in hardware cloth. TUMGA purchased 30 – 6’ pieces of cut rebar; Barb has received donations of fertilizer and additional rebar from local businesses. Larry Conley with Parks and Recreation did a great job of preparing beds. 10-10-10 was added; Pat and Susan recorded the varieties for a diagram. If plants do not survive we will try to replace them with varieties I have started in pots at home. Nell’s goal was to plant all varieties at Meeks; I think we have planted all known varieties between the two beds. I have a number of tubers without names that I will plant at home and identify. If you’d like to give a home to an ‘unknown’ LET ME KNOW!

Next year we might investigate a small bed to feature pink dahlias for breast cancer awareness. This idea was generated during planting! Thanks Pat.

Susan and I went back to the FM and planted 6, 12, and 18-inch zinnias under the split rail fence at the bed. Susan raked the bed and filled in some sunken areas. Susan and I may investigate some type of stepping stone between rows at FM.

I will have a few tubers at the Thursday, May 14th meeting; others will be available again on 5-23 at Strawberry Day for any donation.

May 5th – Planting Day at Union County Farmer’s Market Dahlia Bed

On May 5th members of the Towns-Union Master Gardeners met at the Union County Farmers Market to plant 2015 tubers. The soil had been prepared with lime last Fall and 10-10-10 this spring. Weeds were removed. Stakes and cord established planting rows and distance between tubers – 4’ between rows and 4’ between tubers. 35 tubers were planted, representing 30 varieties of Dahlia. Dahlia tubers are from the Nell Brown stock. Nell’s Father operated the Todd Dahlia Farm in Suches. Nell began working with dahlias when she was 2 years old. She is now 87 and master gardeners are helping her with her local beds. A second bed is at Meeks Park. Tubers were planted 2 inches below the ground with the sprout (from eye) facing up. ½ inch rebar were driven closed to the sprout so each new plant may be staked to the rebar later. More to come…… Next operation will be to groom the small plants and begin staking to the rebar. Members helping were Pat Smith, Marcia Little, Joan Pennington, Fran Browning, Susan Jarocki,  and Annette Hopgood. Spouses Bert Baumgardner and Wesley Hopgood also helped.

April 21, 2015 – Dahlia dividing day at Union County Farmers Market

The 50-plus varieties of dahlias from 2014 Union County Farmers Market bed were ready for division April 21st. Members of Towns –Union Master Gardeners met at the Market pavilion to divide tubers – many doing so for their first time. Tubers were dug up in November and stored in a crawlspace at about 50-55% with controlled humidity. Division involves taking a clump of tubers – sometimes 12 or more and finding ‘eyes’ that will sprout. The ‘eye’ appears above the neck of the tuber on the stalk of the original plant. Members included Rod and Kay Burley, Fran Browning, Pat Boland, Pat Smith, Barb Baumgardner, Elaine Bliss, Marsha Elliott, Marcia Little, Dan Greenfield, Annette Hopgood, Joan Pennington, Susan Jarocki and Dee Freed.  Spouse and friend Bert Baumgardner also helped. The group decided to plant fewer tubers, about 35, in the bed at the Market for 2015. This is so the plants can be groomed to encourage production of specimen flowers


Master Gardener Annette Hopgood recommends this site for additional information on dahlias (please note it is also posted on our “Resources” tab as well:

Annette has compiled a comprehensive list of the dahlias grown at the UC Farmer’s Market in 2014, together with information and most ID’d.  Please take a look if you would like to see these beauties:  FarmersMarket(Autosaved) 2014 Dahlias

Remember you can just click on a picture to see it larger:An
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July 2014 – Dahlias starting to bloom at the Farmers Market:  

Dark purple dahlia Farmers Market 2014

Dark purple dahlia Farmers Market 2014

Lavendar dahlia at Farmers Market 2014

Lavendar dahlia at Farmers Market 2014


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