To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: August 2013 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: August 13 @ 7:30 @ 9th and Lincoln
Program: Deborah will present her interactive Walk of Shame where you learn which are major show sins and which are minor ones. Come learn to id dahlias based on petal shape. We will discuss how to set up for our Big Show. We need people to help set up tables Friday afternoon Aug. 16, to “run” exhibits for entrants early Saturday morning, to host and answer the public’s questions on Sat. and Sunday, to encourage membership and participation in our “People’s Choice” contest on both Saturday and Sunday. And of course, we need help tearing down the show and putting tables away on Sunday. If you cannot make our meeting but will help please call Deborah: 415 816-2118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get some assigned times. Please volunteer to clerk. This person follows the judging team around and records their decisions. You learn a lot! You get exposed to many dahlias in an intimate way. You learn the organizing principles of the ADS classification system much better. Good penmanship and multitasking greatly appreciated.
BLUE RIBBON GREEN:
Kristine Albrecht and Iris Wallace tantalized us with all kinds of green products and green tricks to grow winning dahlias and still stay organic. Kristine’s interest in “healthier” practices began while growing competition BIG pumpkins and little boys. As she and husband, Brian, began running B&B’s, the desire for non-toxic measures increased yet again. Iris cleaves to green practices to keep her beehives happy. Both Iris and Kristine plant a cover crop of a combination of vetch, beans, oats, fava and other nitraginating plants along over a healthy slug of chicken manure in December after lifting their clumps. Their supporting husbands rototiller this under leaves, stalks just before planting. Immediately after rototilling, they mulch with straw and redwood chips to hold in moisture and suppress weeds.
The Monterey Winning Duo rolls their tubers in mycorrhize before planting. Mycorrhize are beneficial spores which spread a wide underground root system which delivers more food to the plants. It helps keep beneficial micro-organisms healthy and suppresses many of the nastier ones. The women augment their holes with Sunstane, turkey poop and feathers and bone meal. Iris’s husband, Dave, an avid fisherman, supplies guts and heads for each of her clumps. Iris plants 100 tuber clumps and 120 seedlings; Kristine goes hog wild, sewing 650 dahlias,650 seedlings, 120 various tomatoes, and lots of other veggies. To thwart early varmints they use gopher cages and gopher traps. By early July Iris’s had nailed 29. She places the trap in the same run, “Because where’s there’s one, there’s often more.” Kristine also rewards the feral cats that hunt her slice of heaven. Both swear by Sluggo Plus for snails, slugs and earwigs. Both deploy drip tape. We gasped at Kristine’s summer water bill, but Dave whispered to me, “Happy wife: happy life.”
Dave weed whacks Iris’s isles and hand spades the green under. Both use Bu’s Blend Biodynamic Compost, Dr. Earth’s 7, Bob and John’s Soil Optimizer and Xtreme Gardening Mykos, to encourage more mycorrhizae. They compost ALL THE TIME. After planting they erect hoops covered with white cloth as 3 foot tall row covers to hold in heat, protect from critters, and shelter new plants from wind, allowing them to plant up to 6 weeks early. They remove these when their plants get too tall, often going over 6 feet!
Iris and Kristine swear by Serenade Disease Control (a microbial fungicide, basically a benign competitor), Captain Jack’s Deadbug (Spinosad), and Pesticidal Oil (96% canola oil) which suffocates bugs and eggs. Kristine mixes this all in her 16 gallon sprayer with electric nozzle and dusts her plants with this cocktail every 2-3 weeks. Indeed, with these greener solutions, one has to stay ahead of problems more assiduously than when using the more lethal chemicals and thereby one must spray more often.
At the end of the season, Iris and Kristine line milk crates with black plastic bags and layer peat moss with tubers. These they store under the house from November until planting time. They even reuse their peat moss from year to year although Kristine allows that “For optimal usage, you’d use fresh each year.” Kristine’s PowerPoint presentation pictured each step or product discussed. The Q&A session lasted into treats time.
GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS
Thanks so much to John for bringing in smallplants again and to Ron and birthday girl Joann for donating the huge box of Meyer lemons. Thanks to Barry and Marcia for their home growndark grapes and their home made apricot bars. Baker Bill baked his wonderful pineapple upside down cake which contrasted nicely with Gino’s chocolate sheet cake. Dave and Iris brought fresh picked apricots and plumbs. Bill also donated a big box of VCR cassette movie tapes. Your imagination and generosity glue our dahlia community together.
Always guestimate the time you think staging your entries will take, then double it! Bring: blooms, pen/pencil, scissors/clippers, watering pail, 5 gallon bucket, towels, entry forms (to download, click here), ADS Classification Book, extra “fat” stems, show schedule (download here), and co-operative attitude. Set up begins at 8 PM, goes all night long and all must be cleaned up by 9 am. Do participate even if only 2 or 3 blooms! It’s so much more fun when “you have skin in the game.”
GEICO GECKO DAHLIA DITTY:
Pat announced that Geico’s advertising songincludes a dahlia. Can anyone track down the whole song?
FUN DAHLIA ARTICLE:
To dispel any thoughts that the Wall Street Journal only concerns itself with all things financial, Eric shares this entertaining WSJ article on San Francisco’s favorite flower.
The Secrets of Growing Dahlias
Does this picture represent 341 years of dahlia experience or 1 year of experience 341 times? Bob Papp asks, “Who could wish for better mentors than these three veterans?” Pat Cunningham, Ed Weiner, and Bob came to fete their friend and mentor, Dick Kohlschreiber on May 31, 2013 as the greenhouse at the South Bay Botanical Gardens was dedicated to him. Dr. Richard Kohlschreiber (Dick), longtime resident of San Pedro and former veterinarian, began volunteering at South Coast Botanic Garden in 1978, serving as both President of the SBCG Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Poobah of the Propagation Workshops. Dick is active with many local garden clubs, including South Coast Cactus and Succulent Society, South Coast Dahlia Society and the South Bay Epiphyllum Society. Dick’s involvement has been recognized with many volunteer commendations such as Volunteer of the Year at SCBG, Los Angeles County Volunteer of the Year, Voluntary Service Award in the field of Parks and Recreation by the National Association of the County Parks and Recreation, a special award from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and the Gold Medal from the American Dahlia Association for his many years managing their Trial Gardens. How fitting that a whole greenhouse should be dedicated to this dedicated man!
John Caddell, who recently lectured at DSC, shot a couple hours at the Dell. His resultant photos bear his unique vision and psychedelic stamp. Deborah proudly posed by her “big ones” for a sense of scale. Check out the Dell: it’s going crazy with beauty right now!
SHOW AND PARTY SCHEDULE FOR 2013:
San Leandro Dahlia Society August 3rd & 4th Main Library, Karp Room
300 Estudillo Avenue, San Leandro
Dahlia Society of California August 17th & 18th County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park
9th and Lincoln Avenues, San Francisco
Monterey Bay Dahlia Society Aug 31st & Sept. 1st Soquel High School
401 Old San Jose Road, Soquel
National Dahlia Show Aug 31st & Sept. 1st Grand Rapids, Michagan
John Stowell Dahlia Society September 7th and 8th Vallco Shopping Mall 10123 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino
Dahlia Society of California Picnic
September 21st Golden Gate Park Dahlia Dell
The ADS Prez, Kevin Larkin, and the ADS Classification Chairman, Lou Paradise, planted the seeds of discrimination in 40 judging school dahlianistas. Set in the lovely adjunct to the Conservatory of Flowers, our judging seminar utilized the whole Dahlia Dell for exemplary specimens to illustrate Lou’s major points. Pat delighted us with boxes of Starbuck coffe, Florentines and ginger bisquettes; Lou brought platters of fruit and beverages. Tinnee arranged for tickets to tour the Conservatory afterwards. Lou especially stressed that Form accounted for 28 points and color 22 making a total of half the points of a given bloom. “Uniformity, consistency and proportion,” stressed Lou. He enunciated special dahlia color terminology: TINT is color + white; SHADE is color +black; TONE is color + grey; SATURATION is color saturation. So pop a dahlia on your breakfast counter and ponder whether you can detect tint, tone, or shade in its various HUES (actual color). Lou stressed that form definitions are mere human constructs designed to help judge similar types of dahlias first; all forms are on continuums from Ball to formal dec to informal dec to semi cactus to cactus. Trueness to form is ONLY 5 points. Lou gave us a preview of the new form to be introduced next year, Orkette. So many of the Open Novelty specimens have had orchid ray florets with collerette petaloids at their centers, that they have earned their ownclassification next year. “We always need more judges,” declared Lou. So those of you wanting to learn more, please sign up to clerk at one or all of our 4 Bay Area shows. (Call Deborah and get on the list 415-816-2118) If you are a candidate judge, go on line to theADS site and download your accredited judge test. Take the next step!
THE AUDACITY OF AUGUST
With all your plants blooming right now it feels like more buds form as fast as you can disbud. Deadheading before blooms start losing their petals is imperative. Those decaying petals on other leaves or even on the ground attract bacteria and provide great places from which earwigs can make their devastating forays. Always cut down to new growth. This is below the pair of leaves which accompanies each bloom. When you go out to gather a bouquet, take a bucket of water, a vase, or something to pop your stems in AS SOON AS YOU CUT THEM. Don’t wander around your garden holding a bunch of dahlias; they will start to gasp for water as soon as you cut them. To further ensure longer vase life, clean your vases. I put mine in my dishwasher. Another way is to fill them with water and add a teaspoon of bleach. Let sit overnight. Then empty and rinse. This kills all the microscopic junk that can plug up the pinocytotic tubes in the stems of your dahlias. Florlife or such extends the vase-life of your blooms. Avoid displaying your beauties in direct sunlight. Please enter our show with at least a few blooms. Try building an arrangement! Do help host on Sat. or Sun. or both. Volunteer to clerk—one of the best learning environments ever.
Yours in Dirt,
Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Page layout: Mike Willmarth
Photo credits: Albrectht, Caddell, Dietz, Gaensler, Hart, Papp
Originally Organized in 1917 in San Francisco
the Dahlia was adopted as the Official Flower of San Francisco
on October 4, 1926 by its Board of Supervisors