To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: August 2015 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: August 11 @ 7:30 @ 9th and Lincoln
Program: Walk of Shame. Deborah reprises her interactive contest to discern sins of omission and sins of commission. Can you spot the Big Problems and not sweat the small stuff? Who will bring treats for hungry gardeners?
Lou stunned us with a few simple tips to enhance the appeal of his magnificent blooms. Firstly, Lou recommends very sharp snips or even a well whetted knife practicing staging multiples at home to get the hang of cramming x3 x5 or x7 into one urn so that one does not crush the very cells which are used to draw in water.
Put the dahlia immediately in water after snipping. “Once air gets in the stem, it has a hard time sucking up water” and will begin to suffocate. Never let the leaves get underwater nor get stuck inside the container; all leaves must show above the vase. If you have a pin frog with large tines, use a fatter stem piece to surround and support the thinner stem of the flower you are showcasing. Stronger stem pieces can also be used as a stockade around the base of your show bloom to help stabilize it—as long as they are below the lip of the container. For truly unwieldly multiple bloom presentations, Lou often uses mesh grid to help support the heavy leaners. Try to match big blooms with big heavy pots and small delicate flowers with appropriately diminutive containers. Lou recommends you calculate how much time you think you will need to set up, distribute and clean up and then DOUBLE IT.
GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS
Posthumous thanks to Elsie Mueller for the huge box full of dahlia care chemicals her son Fred brought in to share with Elsie’s friends. What a cache! John generously donated all kinds of succulents to growers with good homes. Yummy appreciation goes to Pat for her ginger biscuits and to Leo for his m&m cookies. Gino brought a box of palmiers to compliment John and Annette’s Sugar Bowl Bakery goodies. Thanks to Colleen for the lemon and ginger snaps. Snapped right up. Moist delicious thanks to Baker Bill for both his decadent carrot cake and for bringing in his stunning Verrone’s Sandra J.
After his demo, Lou announced, “I don’t want to take any of these dahlias home.” There ensued a picking frenzy.
RIBBONS LIKE CONFETTI
Deborah’s myriad ribbons would have been more impressive if she’d had more competition at the Marin County Fair. However, she was proud that her Bloomquist Andrea garnered not only Best Dahlia in Show but also Best Perennial by superseding the best rose, the finest hydrangea et. al. With all this winning it seemed petty to winge about the odd third place for her Elvira. But she had three reasons to question the judges’ ruling. 1. Her Elvira was the ONLY peony in the category. 2. It was in PERFECT condition. 3. That Elvira came from the same bush that produced the Best Peony in Show at 3 Bay area shows last year. Hmmmm???? Maybe the fair judges expected something to resemble the bouquet peonies and not the dahlia form? As Deborah composed a note to the fair committee in her mind, she pulled into a parking lot and noticed something green scudding along the pavement. It was green money. Obviously higher powers awarded her Elvira the green cash ribbon. End of dilemma.
NO TIME LIKE SHOW TIME
Yay! It’s Floribunda Extravaganza Show Time! To put on the best show in California we need lots of help. Please send this the Show Poster to all your friends. If you use social media, spread it about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and request that your friends resend to all their friends. Print out the poster and hang it at your office, dentist, doctor, library, coffee shop and local nursery.
Please contact Deborah—firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-816-2118 if you can help any time Saturday or Sunday. The final 4-5 pm timeslot on Saturday to man the membership table still needs three people, please. Deborah needs people for the membership table, the photo op booth and clerks for the judging. Tinnee needs volunteers on Friday from 3:30 to help set up tables, unfurl table cloths, lay out numbers and fly directional flags. Tinnee also needs hardy helpers to tear down the show from 4-6 on Sunday evening. Anyone who has just a few dahlias to show, might come in a little earlier on Saturday morning than expected to help other people “run” their dahlias to the appropriate bench sites. It takes and extended Society to throw a great floriganza!
YOU ARE THE SHOW
Without competitors there is no show. So please pledge that you will participate. If it is your first time, please bring at least FIVE entries and more if possible. You will be in the novice section, so you won’t go petal-a-petal with the likes of Lou or Corralitos. Novices give the public a realistic look at what they can expect to grow in their own gardens. Every entry teaches us something. Remember Erik’s sage exhortation: 80% of winning is just showing up! Print out the sections of the SHOW SCHEDULE, ENTRY TAGS, FRANK’S SHOW PREP LIST and your xl spread sheet of cultivars including ADS names and numbers.
Remember that arrangers do NOT have to grow their own flowers. Try your hand at our various arrangement categories or twist a corsage or two. You may begin setting up from 7PM Friday on through until morning. Everything must be cleaned up by 9:30 am on Saturday.
The Dancing Girls (Sue and Valeria) posted highly legible labels which the public loves. Check out their amazing Kenora Jubilee, darling Boogie Woogie, dazzling Lady Darlene, and blazing Fern Irene. Tinnee showcases jolly Santa Claus and many cool dark foliage treasures. Lou’s in full production with great George C, delicate Bishop of Auckland, and fantastic KA’s Cloud. Pat delights the public with a puzzling Coupe de Soleil which throws off blooms of all kinds of combinations of yellow, orange and white. Deborah answers questions on Saturday whilst Billy deadheads towering Eden Talos, saucy Sassafrass, and disbuds firecracker AC Abby and too too tutu-like Arena’s Sunset. Of course the public raves over Jessica and the new Happet Blue Eyes and Taratahi Sunrise.
Coupe de Soleil
Some wear their Dahlia emotions on their sleeves, others under their sleeves.
MORE FROM AROUND THE DELL
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
Lola grows in a community garden at the historical Robson-Harrington Park in San Anselmo. All the walls were built right after the Great Quake in ’06. You can see how the flaring flames fused broken glass to the old bricks. Given SA’s early heat, Lola’s garden begins pumping out dahlias in June. By the Fourth of July, Lola had humongous Louis Meggos, jaunty Vista Minnies, gracious Pam Howdens and fifty others all growing alongside her tomatoes, figs, and roses.
JUDGING THE SLIPPERY SLOPE
How lucky were the 26 participants who learned about judging directly from the mouth of the American Dahlia Society’s Classification Chair himself? Lou reminded us that nature does not recognize “ideal” forms; nature just rewards viable dahlias. People impose definitions as a way to classify blooms to facilitate evaluation.
Speaking over the Gamers war chants next door, Lou differentiated between “blotches of color” requisite in a variegated and “blotchy color” a major fault. In the former there are distinct differentiation between the colors; in the latter, bleeding and smudging. Lou reminded us that an incurved cactus must FIRST be a cactus form, and THEN considered for incurving. Thus, there are officially no incurved semi-cacti. He defined the term, Staghorn, as when not all points of the ic ray florets swirl in the same direction; some reverse direction resulting in gappiness and contour faults. Can you define spur leaf, character leaf and pig’s ear? All three mean the single leaf which often occurs between a bloom and its first pair of leaves. What is the difference between a two-tone and a bi-color? Bi-colors must have two distinct colors on each and every petal; a two-tone has some of the petals one color and the rest a second color such as Gitts Perfection or Elsie C.
First and foremost, our classification guru stressed that the Bloom carries the huge preponderance of points. Whilst a bit like drinking from the firehose, we managed to glean that we should calculate penalty points based on percentages. So if leaves are allotted 8 points in 100, then deducting two points for mildew, insect bitten leaves would indicate that you’ve adjudged the leaves at 76% –way below the “passing” score of 85%. Lou passed out tests for senior, credentialed, and candidate judges.
Even an army of Dahlia judges marches on its stomach.
The big Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, Sept. 8-10, hosts its first dahlia competition. Come compete for up to $1,000 in prize$. Exhibiting gets you into the whole festival and all the amazing speakers. Check it out on line.
By now most things in your garden should have bloomed at least once. Make sure the bloom matches the ADS Handbook definition on your label. When you deadhead, are you cutting back to NEW growth???? Too many people cut down to the first pair of leaves. However, if there are no little sprouts coming out between the leaves and the stem, there is NO NEW GROWTH at those leaves. You need to go lower. If you do not cut down to new growth, your dahlia will decide that it’s through growing for the season and begin to turn brown and shrivel up. By September it will have checked out. You may or may not disbud. However, the more you disbud, the bigger the bloom, the stronger the stem, and the more your plant will try to make new buds. If you deadhead and disbud correctly, you should have dahlias at Halloween. If you’re really on top of it, you could have dahlias on your Thanksgiving table. Keep weeds down. Pull off the bottom leaves about a quarter ways up your plant. This increases air circulation and decreases opportunities for bugs. If you spot odd frilly petals, look for the caterpillar. I have begun adding a super bloom fertilizer to my spraying cocktail: 5-55-35 or there abouts. Water a day or two in advance of cutting for competition. Always put blooms immediately into water as soon as you cut. Participate in our Show: enter, clerk, host at the membership table, greet people and answer questions, put up our SHOW POSTER and send emails to all your friends asking them to recirculate to all their friends. Attend the San Leandro and Monterey Bay Shows. Bring friends to your garden to celebrate the amazing beauty. Share share share with your local library, neighbors, dentist, coffee shop, work buddies and people who need to smile.
Yours in Dirt,
Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Page layout: Mike Willmarth
Photo credits: Dexter, Dietz, Palia, Woo
In San Francisco
the Dahlia was adopted as the
Official Flower of San Francisco
on October 4, 1926
by its Board of Supervisors
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How does your Inland Dynasty grow?