August 2017 Newsletter

To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: August 2017 Newsletter

NEXT MEETING: August 8, at 7:30. Program: We’ll be talking about our upcoming show, Aug. 12-13. We need a lot of help. Friday afternoon we need roustabouts to set up a hundred tables. Could you sit at our membership table for a couple hours Saturday and Sunday to urge the public to vote for People’s Choice and answer dahlia questions? Will you judge or clerk? Will you tear down tables on Sunday evening? Please contact Deborah 415-816-2118 with the times you could volunteer.

Who will share delicious things to spur our dahlianeers onwards?


Deborah trucked in a huge box of glorious dahlias and promptly hid them away in another room, bringing out only a single petal from each. Why? DCSers were challenged to know the form and even the exact cultivar based solely on a single flimsy petal. Frank astutely named SC and Rolf from one spotted orange and yellow dab. Cathy nailed the WL form of Sandia Charm. Devorah knowledgeably nailed both FD Hapet Blue Eyes and COL Cinders right off. The weenzy teenzy pale bronze dot had to be a POM, Pop Willo. Diane figured out the difference be- tween the straight cactus, the incurved cactus and the semi-cactus.
The group pondered the subtle difference between FD flat petals and the “ice cream cone” ball forms. Then came the BIG REVEAL: Deborah rolled in the cart of all her magnificent blooms and matched the much mauled petals up to their whole flowers. Deborah encouraged grow- ers to try this with their own lovelies for good practice. She suggested they come to the Dell on Saturday to try their hand at keying out cultivar names based on their new skills.


Wow! Another HUGE box of Meyer’s lemons from Ron and Joann. We filled our pockets full. Oh, Lola, why did you bring such lusciously tempting chocolates????? We are all happier and fatter for

your thoughtfulness. Devi’s bakery goodies and Pat’s almond crisps complimented Cathy’s home-grown strawberries. MMMMMM. Frank extolled the virtues of bubbled com- post tea; Cathy reported that Bio Organic, a store in Santa Rosa, of- fers free 3 gallons, but recommends that it be used within 6 hours for maximum effect of all the micro-bio critters. Because the health of her bees remains her utmost priority, Tenaya sticks to soapy water as a bug deterrent and scatters orange peels to discourage neighboring kit- ties from “dumping” in her garden. Many of us went directly from our meeting to the Conservatory’s light show. Peace and love, man.


Making a list and checking it twice. (Print out a copy for the August 12-13 show)

American Dahlia Society Classification Handbook
Show schedule print out what you need
Especially preprinted entry forms
Glassware or containers (with extras for unforeseen events)
Transport container for dahlias
Watering can
Plant preservative, e,g, Floralife or a formula from the ADSGuide to Growing and Caring for

Dahlias: 1⁄4 tsp bleach, 2 tsps. sugar in 1⁄2 gal. water – OR – 2 Tbsps. Listerine in 1⁄2 gal. water
Latex gloves or other hand protection
Towels large and small: can’t have too many
Tools: Pruning shears, scissors, or sharp knife
Pen or pencil
Q-tips, baby-wipes
Cart (for large quantities)
Extra stems for use as supports
5 gallon water bucket for emptying blooms after show
XL spread sheet of all your flowers WITH ADS numbers already
Aspirin or ibuprofen????

Visit the DSC website’s 2017 San Francisco Dahlia Show page to get the show schedule, rules and show entry cards

Wolfe Lane Terraces

DSCer Carl Peterson contributed this account of his three years growing in SF public garden space. Wolfe Lane Community Garden sits on a southeast-facing slope of Bernal Heights, comprised of nar- row terraced garden plots that the City and County of San Francisco rebuilt in 2012. Anecdotally, the area now known as Wolfe Lane had its start as garden cultivated by Southeast Asian neighbors grow- ing vegetables. Though neighborhood hearsay can’t always be substantiated, it’s a nice enough origin story. Wolfe Lane sits kitty-corner to the somewhat more visible Dogpatch/Miller Memorial Garden in Bernal Heights. Both growing spaces host gardeners, neighborhood walkers, and the weekend tour- ists determined to set foot on every SF hidden stairway.

Wolfe Lane has some of the qualities of a secret garden: it appears wild and unkempt, sits tucked away and feels private, yet boasts an expansive view over the 101/280 split, the Bayview, container ships in waiting with the East Bay beyond. Earlier this year I even observed a locally infamous coyote failing to make a meal out of Sammy the garden cat [no wolf(e) sightings known at the time of writing.]

In 2015 we lucked into a spot in the Wolfe Lane garden, one of a scant handful available in the San Francisco commu- nity garden system. The first year was exciting, but marred by frustrations over low yield, and frequent produce theft. After some horse-trading for a plot with better sun and negotiations to install a beehive, our second season began in 2016 and I planted my first dahlias. The return on the investment of time, energy and money compared to the 2015 season was staggering. Despite poor soil qual- ity, not fertilizing and only spraying with neem Oil, there were so many blooms mid summer! I took flowers to friends,

to work, brightened up my neighbor- hood bar, and of course cut them for the house. I fell in love with poms, stellar and anemone varieties. I was excited about the 2016 show but had planted my tubers

too early, before the miracle March that alleviated the drought; the lot was ravaged by powdery mil- dew. By late summer most of my show-worthy blooms were too small, (presumably the poor soil and no fertilizer) and I only had one competition-ready bloom (My Love, a semi cactus.)

This year I have 50 dahlias growing at Wolfe Lane as a result of neighboring gardeners taking interest and “hosting” dahlias on their plots to compliment mine. I planted later, and at the time of writing have some great blooms beginning to express. I’m more convinced than ever that dahlias are an excellent option for community gardeners in San Francisco and beyond. For everything a community garden might lack, (bathrooms, a proper shed, good soil) I believe that a gardener should get as much as possible! I have a profound respect for gardeners sustainably growing their own food in these com- munity spaces, and believe there is room for food production and for flowers. The charmed reactions of friends, fellow gardeners, and passers by is incomparable; I’ve been thrilled to also find the greater community of dahlia growers on YouTube, Instagram, and of course the Dahlia Society. Indeed, in circumstances where soil quality or location make edible gardens a challenge, a flower bed allows the gardener to make a little space beautiful, to problem solve, and to share the bounty it creates broadly. In these respects, the fast growing, tall, prolific bloomer that is our favorite plant (and city flower to boot!) is most enthusiastically recommended!

SUMMER SHOW SCHEDULE Print me for future reference 🙂

July 22 601 MacArthur Blvd, San Leandro. (Parking at Church of Christ) 9-3:30, lunch included

SAN FRANCISCO: One Hundred Year Anniversary Show.
August 12-13 9th & Lincoln in Golden Gate Park
Flowers of the Year: Skip to My Lou and any open centered Juul introduction. Set up: any time after 8PM Friday through 8:30 Sat. morning

August 19-20 SL Library
Flowers of the Year: Just Married and NTAC Solar Flare. Set Up: Midnight Friday into Saturday

August 26-27 MAH (Museum of Art and History) 705 Front Street Santa Cruz, CA. 95060 Santa Cruz Flowers of the Year: Elfin and Lo RedEye

HEIRLOOM EXPO: TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS IN PRIZE MONEY September 5-6-7 Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
Set up: 8 PM Labor Day through night until 8AM Tuesday morning.
Ryecroft Dave’s Choice
Alpensini Sneiga

Annual DSC Picnic Potluck
September 9 At the Dell Set up 9am; party Noon to 4:30.


As I write this we are less than a week away from our huge SF Floribunda Competition and Exhibition. So please contact Deborah to volunteer to help: 415-816-2118.

You should be seeing a bunch of buds and blooms now. It seems that as soon as I’ve finished disbudding a row, I need to start over because others have popped out in the mean- time. I have had a bit of heartbreak because terrible winds have rushed through the park and broken laterals full of buds and blooms. So begin dahlia bondage. I use a plastic twine. People who’ve started with hortanova netting from the begin- ning are ok now.

Make sure you dead head down to NEW GROWTH and keep
up your foliar cocktail spraying. I’ve changed from balanced fertilizer to Superbloom: very low first number, very high second number and medium final number. DO NOT spray within 7 days of a show. Little droplets can accidentally mar your fantastic flowers.

Rogue! Pull out any plant that looks crummy compared to the rest of your lovelies. Do NOT compost it; put it in the garbage. Continue cleaning the lower stalks about a fifth of the way up. Try making cuttings of any laterals you pull off this low. Begin checking your labels against the ADS Classification Book. Do they match???? If not, try for correct ID at one of our meetings or shows.

Do enter our Big Show. Consider how much time you’ll need to set up and then DOUBLE IT. Really. When you shop for containers remember the mantra: shallow and heavy. Garage sales, thrift stores and dollar shops are great hunting grounds for nifty vases for competition.

Yours in Dirt,

Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Page layout and digital publishing: Mike Willmarth
Snail mail mistress: Pat Hunter
Photo credits: Addink, Bailey, Baker, Clear Creek, Connie, Cooper, Dietz, Hollingsworth, Kim, Leone, Moeller, Morrison, Olson, Poston, Sullivan, Uslu

© 2017 Dahlia Society of California. All rights reserved. | Privacy Statement