Fairfield Ledger

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 25, 2016

Beautiful dahlias sanctuary for pollinators

By Colleen T. Bell | Oct 06, 2016

To the editor:

I wanted to alert everyone to a community resource. There are two plots of blooming dahlias, one at homes near Sixth Street and Broadway Avenue and the other at Fifth Street and Broadway Avenue.

These flowers can start blooming in July (depends on when you plant and the weather) and will bloom until frost. They are in full bloom now. They are stunning. Rows of blooming flowers 4-7 feet tall!

According to Karl Katz, environmental consultant and foremost native pollinator expert, they provide a much needed sanctuary for pollinators, especially in the fall when there aren’t that many things blooming.

I have been growing them for years and discovered on my own how well they develop the soil and harvest water. The worms love them and they pull water down because even though they grow from tubers, the tubers put out tons of finer root lines that go deep into the earth (though not as deep as many native prairie plants). Hence any rain water that falls on them doesn’t run off into the sewage system. It’s collected in the ground water.

This is a great service in the “parking” space between the sidewalk and roadway. We need to capture as much water as possible instead of having it run into our over worked sewer system.

On top of the environmental advantages, these are edible plants, flowers and tubers.

I hope that Fairfield can change its “rules” about growing tall things in “public” space, i.e. near the road, so these kind of plantings can continue all around town. These plants may be tall but they are in no way affecting traffic or visibility for drivers as they are planted now.

I’ve had the vision of making Fairfield the city of dahlias for many years. Seeing these has reminded me of that. I hope that everyone in the community can partake in their breathtaking beauty as soon as possible. The tubers multiply. If you want to try your hand, find a dahlia grower and they will probably have tubers to share.


– Colleen T. Bell, Fairfield

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