To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: September-October 2015 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: October 13 @ 7:30 @ 9th and Lincoln
Program: Frank will show 2 DVDs from ADS. 1 deals with the dahlia forms; the other is the most recent volume (2013) of the Fabulous 50. Frank hopes to have an interactive portion whereby members are challenged to id the FORM of a dahlia from a single petal and for extra credit even the NAME of the SPECIFIC CULTIVAR. Step up to the Challenge. Time to begin thinking about nominations for next year’s officers.
WALK OF SHAME OR FAME?
Deborah (me) reprised her interactive game of entry evaluation. DCSers examined each of 14 specimens. Is there a problem? Is the problem major or minor? Would YOU exhibit it? If so, is there anything you could do to ameliorate it? This is exactly the process every grower goes through with EVERY dahlia when we cut and when we stage. Simple disbudding and radical disbudding can really spruce up an entry. Remember the rule about first two leaves. Mildewed leaves can be swabbed down with babywipes or Stylet oil. Ideally you choose a perfectly complimentary vase in size and color; however, we should be judging the Bloom not the container. So if the container is sturdy, water tight and not tippy—it’s ok. A jaunty PowderPuff Polka sported miserable, chewed and mildewed leaves. Not all the Stylet oil in Romeo’s nor judicious scissoring could rectify those tragic tattered little messes. However, PPPolka had two first leaves; the stem was reasonably straight; the bloom itself was charming. Of course you should show it! Billy observed that of all the 14 examples, he might have held back 4-5; the only one he really liked, a lovely fim that went clear to the back, straight stem, lovely leaves, and great condition –was the one that probably should NOT have gone on the table. Why? While not quite gone, the center could pop with the next warm breath upon it. “How much of a gambler are you?” Deborah asked. “Will this hold until the judges examine it???” Ultimately, 13 out of 14 entries got the thumbs up about going into competition. If we only exhibited perfect dahlias, we would have a very very small show. Your dahlia doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be better than anything else that showed up in that category on that day. Or as Erik reminds us, 80% of winning is just showing up. Every entry educates us—either with shame or with fame. Go for it!
GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS
Thanks to Baker Bill for his breakfast cake. Healthy nod to John D. for his tangerines. John and Annet brought toasted almond cookies to compliment Pat’s fig bars. Dan and Bill donated chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting. Special appreciation goes to Maggie for her Milano cookies. Grazie to Gino for his strawberry cream cheese and to Leo for his assorted chocolate cookies.
After his demo, Lou announced, “I don’t want to take any of these dahlias home.” There ensued a picking frenzy.
COLOR RIOT AT SAN LEANDRO LIBRARY:
How we love the first show of the year. To hear the poormouth excuses from the East Bay crowd, you’d think there would be nothing but burnt cinder crisps on display. Au contraire! First blooms were gorgeous. Our DSC crew held quite a convention on the head table. Pat’s darling Kelsey Radiance danced happily as Best Col augmenting points towards Novice Sweepstakes. Tinnee proudly took home ribbons for Best Ball, Mary’s Jomanda, Best Large x3 Dagmar (orange, of course) and Best x3 small with shimmering Pam Howdens. Devi and Deborah ca$hed in at the money table. Devi received a check for Best BiColor with a jaunty Skipley
Spot; Best Paradise Intro, Eden Predator; and best Corralitos Intro, Blown Dry. Deborah’s earner$ included, Best x3 BiColor with her inimitable Jessicas; Best Variegated, Rolf; Best Maxwell Intro, Marcia Pat; and Best Eden Talos. Deborah hit the quadrafecta by taking both x1 and x3 fully double and disc centered Flowers of the year. Amateur Sweeps, and Best Large in Show, a flitterly Belle of the Ball were just the beginning of the many many dahlias Lou P graced upon the Court of Honor. Winning both Largest in Show with KA’s Cloud and Best AA with a pristine AC Ben, Kristine Albrecht amassed Open Sweepstakes as well as Arrangement Sweeps.
SAN LEANDRO SHOW RESULTS
NEW AND COOL
Such a couple of snazzy purples: Morton’s GG’s Kalinda, bb fd, a bright Purple Pinwheel and Deborah’s Hollyhill Purely Purple, such a deep amethyst ball. Gerda brought new Juul seedlings including a very cute orquette in pearly pink. Deborah entered AC P, a jaunty st, in Orange and white along with a sharp Hollyhill Starburst, bb db. We loved all Kristine’s seedlings. And speaking of new and cool, check out Becky Adams’ charming tool belt. Very chic.
SAN FRANCISCO FLORIGANZA
Thank you to so many DCSers (and their drafted spouses) who contributed to an outstanding show. Tinnee’s professional poster was topped by her breathtaking banner of all 20 forms of dahlias which hung on our membership table and graced a huge easel. Thanks to Tony who arrived first on Friday and set up tables after being trapped in the courtyard for a while. After Pat, Debby F and John D. covered all the tables, Tinnee, Lou, Mike Schelp and Devorah set out all the Section Signs and all the class numbers.
WEE HOURS, WEARY ONES
How generous of Billy and Dan to arrive around 9 PM to run Deborah’s entries to their appropriate tables. Baker Bill came in early to stage his Best AA, Nick Sr. By 4am growers from San Jose, San Leandro, and Monterey began trickling in. Before judging, Jenna made custom boutonnieres to bedeck many participants. Colleen and Joe constructed a swath of dahlias outside for a photo stop. Visitors lined up all day to pose, tweet, Instagram and Facebook. Even the Chinese TV captured images there.
FABULOUS FLOWERS, BIG WINNERS
Lou’s long hours staging all night garnered him both the Amateur and Arrangements Sweepstakes. Culminating in Best in Show with Hollyhill Electra, Lou racked up major wins including Best B, AC Abbey and Best O and Best Seedling, the same new Eden Star. Pat’s Hapet Perfect fimbriated perfectly enough to nab Best Laciniated. Ed proved that it’s the bloom not the container that counts by putting Mexico on the Court of Honor in a beer bottle. Tinnee medaled with x3 Flower of the Year, Fancy Pants and scored with Best Paradise Intro, Eden Predator. In addition to Best Double Seedling and Hall of Fame Sarah Mae, Devi secured her place on the Head Table with River’s Novelty, Best Novelty. Five proved Deborah’s lucky number, winning Best Five Large with AC Abbey and Best Five Disc with Lulu Island Mom in addition to her perennial Best Peony, Elvira, Best WL, Sandia Charm and triple Bi’s, Jessica. Triumphing over a tough novice flight, Chris Dix emerged with Best Novice Bloom, a swirling Snoho Storm, Best BB, Olivia Maureen, and Novice Sweepstakes. Best Five Small Gaylen Rose, led Kevin and Karen to Open Sweepstakes. Natty Andrew surprised himself with Best Photo. When tallied late Sunday, John and Annett won People’s Choice with a flamenco dancer’s Fidalgo Splash. Special thanks to Lola and Maggie who oversaw lunch on both days. Linda toiled into the night computing all the judges’ results; early in the morning Devi printed out lovely Winners’ cards for our magnificent Court of Honor, beladen with the gala ribbons Tinnee ordered for us. Congratulations to everyone who exhibited blooms and pix, to everyone who sat at the hospitality table, to those who answered questions both days, and to those who erected and deconstructed; without you there could have been no show.
Best Novice Bloom:Snoho Storm
RIBBONS ON PARADE . . .
SAN FRANCISCO SHOW RESULTS
. . . AND A BIG THANKS TO THOSE WHO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
TOO COOL TO DROOL FOR
Lou teased us with his new novelty seedling, lavender on one side of the petals and dark purple on the other. Corralitos displayed a couple new treats, Camano Sunshine, 2102, and Monkey, 3109. Their Robann Creamsicle, 3115, dazzles with rich orange tipped with bright white. Tinnee’s Bracken Sarah, 2010, shimmered an elusive fog of white-ish orange. A froth of Flame, Deborah’s Mingus Ralph P defied the eyes.
Lou’s new seedling
When the last visitor left, Lou handed out checks totaling almost $2,000! Immediately John, Vince, Laurence and Kevin began breaking down tables. Pat and Lola rolled up cloths. Mina, Gina and Orlando dove in to ferry containers to their owners and stow them into boxes for the next show. Colleen collected 12 buckets of still-ok dahlias, popped them into wagons and pulled them to three sites where families of UCSF patients stay whilst their loved ones undergo treatment. They literally stopped traffic. Tinnee collected all the judging paraphernalia whilst Craig carted back the Photo screens to the Pottery Building. Thank you all for another terrific competition and exhibition!
SEND IN THE CLOWNS
Once again, Erik hired Gigi to face paint children of all ages. A new balloon maven twisted hot dog buns, Donald Trumps, and great head dresses. Soc and his nephew, Jim, from the mid-west trucked over goodies, set up tables, bedecked them with Erik’s African tablecloths and surgery clamps, erected the palanquins and set out all the chairs. This year in addition to the wonderful firefighters and their fire engine, two mounted police participated. Baker Bill brought Scrabble and Joann taught Yahtzee. Batman and Superman flew about the Dell before crashing in their fort (Tent.) So many people enjoyed peering in to watch babies sleeping. Once again Erik brought multiple hams, meat balls and five bourbon rum cakes. MMMMM. Jen and Jenna kept order in chaos at the main course, salad, and dessert tables. Wouldn’t you know that the one-day exception to scorching weather, cool fog wafted through our midst. A delegation from the Benary family delighted in witnessing Eden Benarys in both the tear drop and on the Hillside.
Wow! What an incredible display! Dahlias are going bonkers. Even cultivars I put in late are now giving me magnificent first blooms. Throw a garden party; throw four garden parties. Now is the time to really cut back to new growth. If you seriously cut back, you should have blooms until Halloween or even Thanksgiving. Be severe. Cut back to hearty growth, not wispy bitsy growth. You will be rewarded soon. Share your dahlias with neighbors, family, friends, dentists, libraries, and whoever you want to delight.
Several people have noted that the light brown apple moth has been molesting dahlias more this year. LBAM flit inconspicuously about as half-inch beige nothings. BUT, they lay eggs on your leaves which curl up and stick together. When you see this you can squish them. However, you should try some Captain Jack’s Dead Bug in your cocktail. Remember, September is the last month to give fertilizer even in foliar form. This year powdery mildew reared its dandruffy head early. What a battle. I’ve been adding some Stylet Oil and Serenade or even nastier fungicides to my foliar cocktail. I keep pulling leaves and more white dusted leaves off my suffering plants. Grrrrrr!! Rogue: eliminate any dahlia doing poorly. When in doubt, throw it out! Not into the compost pile, but into the garbage. Whatever it has, you don’t want in the rest of your garden.
Check your labels against the ADS Classification Book. Make sure it’s what you think it should be. If you labeled with a Sharpie, renew your writing; it fades. We’ve had several surprises this season. Practice dahlia bondage: tie up your heavy stalks. The Wardens string up with reusable Velcro and flexible fat rubber coated wire. Very effective. Enter and/or attend the Heirloon Expo in Santa Rosa. Take some pix. Think of the nine categories for the ADS Photo Contest and click away.
NOVICE ONLY MINI SHOW:
Erik and Frank judged the small but excellent mini show deciding that Baker Bill’s Mingus Nicole triumphed as Best in Show. Billy and Dan showed their first Apopa Sky’s and Hapet Blue Eyes. Well done. John D. shared anecdotes about adventures in forestry and entomology.
HEIRLOOM EXPO DEBUT
Remember when Mickey Rooney suggested to Judy Garland that since they had a barn why not put on a show? That’s pretty much what happened when Jere Gettle of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds wondered if Deborah could organize a dahlia show in four weeks for his fifth annual Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa? The greater dahlia community really pulled together to pull it off. Lou Paradise printed judging sheets and loaned laminated ADS table numbers; Tinnee allowed use of her magnificent 20-types DSC banner; Devorah designed exhibit cards and helped Deborah revise the show schedule and premium amounts; Don Darmstedt and three ADS past presidents worked out ADS sanctioning, and Voila! the first annual Heirloom Expo Dahlia Show took off.
Jere Gettle put up $1,500 in prize money, gorgeous ribbons, the spacious Garrett Hall at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and 400 vases available on a first come first use basis. First to arrive on Labor Day, Bob Papp drove an air-conditioned car full of blooms and extra vases up from Long Beach. All through the night 8 more growers arrived to stage. Senior judges Kevin Larken and Ken Masurat led 5-person teams inspecting the 450 table dahlias to determine Best of Show: Deborah’s Hollyhill Cotton Candy.
Despite being challenged by 103 degree heat for three days, the collection continued to amaze droves of the public. Jamie O’Brien’s big Emory Paul won $50 and a snazzy ribbon for Largest. Jere’s wife, Emily, judged the 7 bouquets; first-time, utter novice, Cathy Fletcher’s magnificent bouquet got Emily’s nod, a big ribbon and another $50 prize. Throughout the three days, the public voted for People’s Choice. For a while Deborah’s AC Abbey prevailed, then Devorah’s Steve O, surged; most of the men cast ballots for the “manly” Harvey Koop.
On the last day, 3000 school children swarmed through and many voted for Ken’s ms Stillwater Plum. Ultimately, Jamie prevailed and picked up another $50 for his inimitable Harvey Koop. All in all, more than 800 votes were cast. Since not one in 10 or even one in 20 of the visitors to our show voted, you do the math: between 8,000 and 16,000 people viewed our show. What an interesting crowd it was, too. Many women were dressed in gay Little House on the Prairie type dresses with neat lace caps on their heads; men wore bib overalls and many sported beards. In the hot hot weather, the opposite camp wore the skimpiest of skimpies clothes-wise but otherwise were covered in tattoos. The Humboldt leafy crop farmers and the religious ones found a lovely common ground at the Expo giving it a wonderful air of mutual consulting. Lola assessed the first day’s stifling conditions and returned the second day with an electric fan to blow relief on those manning our information table. Make plans to participate next year.
HEIRLOOM EXPO SHOW RESULTS
Belle of the Ball
Bear Creek Sunrise
Usually as the light dwindles, the stems get spindlier; but with the heat waves rolling through, the dahlias look as good as in July. Amazing. I checked out Phil and Marilyn’s: no mildew anywhere, some over 6’ high. Phil says he’s using Baking Soda, Joseph’s Salt, Milk, Captain Jack’s Dead Bug, dishwashing soap and Stylet Oil. I am tying up more sprawling dahlias and cutting back a little more severely than normal to promote really healthy and STRONG new growth. You may be seeing more popped centers as we go into daylight savings. Changing the clocks doesn’t fool the dahlias.
Now is the time to ROGUE. Firstly, dig up and throw out anything you would not want in your garden and don’t think anyone else would want in their gardens next year. Secondly, if you have two or more plants of the same cultivar, mark the better plant. These are the tubers to keep for yourself next year. Make sure all your plants’ names match the ADS descriptions. Do it NOW while you can still see good examples of the blooms. Stop fertilizing. Jamie reports that the one time he tried to extend his cut flower season by adding a little extra fertilizer late, the resultant tubers were squishy and many rotted. Begin cutting back on water if things begin to cool off. Look at your dahlias. Do they stand like soldiers at attention and ballerinas at the Bolshoi? If so, they are turgid, still full of liquid. If they begin to look like non-coms on Quaaludes or depressed divas, then they want sprinkling. Be very judicious about how much water at this time, too.
Lou Lombardo felt the fatal dahlia allure again. He came to the Dell to take cuttings of varieties that make awful to no tubers like: Jessica, Belle of the Ball, Rolf, and Vista Minnie. He will pop them in his home green house, affectionately dubbed his Susie Bake Oven, for three weeks of light in the hopes that they root. These cuttings will be used in January to make more cuttings for our April Tuber sale. So if you, too, have a greenhouse, consider taking some of the lower sprouts and popping them into 2×2” little pots to make “insurance” for next season. Mike Schlep uses green garden tape to write his names and his “notes” on each plant. You might note that Vernon Rose took up 3-4’ of space, but Cornel went straight up and you could get three Cornel plants in the same space as one Vernon Rose. I will be noting that my Bear Creek Sunrise, Eden Talos and AC Rileys all shot almost 6’tall. They should be planted further back in the Dell next year. Write your notes NOW while they make sense. Put them in the bag with your processed tubers later.
Last chance to ask people to come visit your garden or to ask to see other people’s gardens before they begin to slide into Fall. Begin thinking about elections next month. What do we as a society hope to accomplish next year?
Yours in Dirt,
Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Page layout: Mike Willmarth
Photo credits: Brown, Buyers, Dietz, Gaensler, Hart, Kutz
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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