To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: August 2022 Newsletter
August 9 at 7:30 at 9th and Lincoln. Park behind the Fairgrounds building at 10th and Lincoln. We’ll discuss how to stage blooms for THE SHOW. How to read a show schedule, fill out a show entry form, determine a class or section number, pick a container, avoid the dreaded blown center, and how to contribute to our Show’s overall success. We will try to mount a simulcast for people who choose not to drive in to San Francisco. Cross your fingers; we have never attempted this before……..
FLORIBUNDA! OUR SHOW
August 20-21 at the Fairgrounds Building at 10th and Lincoln. Invite all your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Send everyone you know our gorgeous poster—sent in a separate e-mail blast to all DSC members. Set up any time after 8 pm until 9 am the following Saturday morning. Bring your blooms and matted photos. We still need one person Saturday morning and another Sunday morning to preside over our Membership Table. (please contact Deborah) We especially will need volunteers to tear down the show at 4:30 on Sunday.
PASSING THE CABRILLO TROWEL
The lovely Sidewalk Garden at 39th and Cabrillo lives! Mimi Clarke, a CalPoly horticulture grad, worked at Filoli “for years. When I noticed that the dahlia Bed (at Cabrillo) was empty, I got the idea to reach out and see if I could offer my services to get it going again. I connected with Devi and she gave me the lowdown.” Mimi has planted two rows of show quality dahlias which are just beginning to bloom. Check it out!
Several dahlianeers helped gather signatures to put the reopening of the Great Highway and JFK Drive on the November ballot. Deborah delivered several petitions to the DeYoung collection site along with a huge bouquet. Deborah felt like the Pied Piper, gathering a little parade behind her as museum staff oohed and awed. Congratulations! We collected almost double the necessary signatures to go on the ballot. Unfortunately, the Exclusive Parks People ALSO got something on the ballot to keep our park closed. So it will be very important that ALL OF US and all our friends vote in the November elections. Thanks to Pat for submitting this excellent letter to the editor.
MENLO MUSICAL DAHLIAS
For the last 20 years Menlo Music has showcased internationally famous musicians for 2 magical weekends. This year they invited Steve whose bio contains “Julliard, the New York Met and Broadway, presently with the San Francisco Symphony…and volunteers at the Dahlia Dell in Golden Gate Park.” To the delight of his fellows, he brought 2 huge bouquets for the the concert hall lobby. After recording and performances, he invited each musician to choose a dahlia to take home. First 3 chosen: Ivanetti, Pam Howden and CV Jonas. You don’t have to graduate from judging school to instinctively pick the winners!
DAHLIA SPOTTING WORLD WIDE
Brigid spotted several dahlias whilst walking the Spanish Camino de Compostela. “301 kilometers and no blisters.” Major feat. (groan) Phil and Marilyn sent pix of dahlias abounding in England, especially in Wisley Sussox.
LADIES WHO LUNCH
This last spring, Lucy, Karen, Jenn, Sarah and Deborah helped dig out all the gopher-basketed clumps in the Warden’s back yard. They wondered what it might look like in bloom. So they threw a pot-luck party in the enclosed garden. Wow! Pretty spectacular. Gitts Crazy towers over 8’ tall! Check out a darling diminutive variegated waterlily, Picaso and an ineffable pinkish Dancing Queen. Truly delicious to share camembert and fruit salad, curried chicken and almond pastry, and glorious comraderie. As they were leaving, they checked out Phil’s shelf of dahlia products and marveled at his ELECTRIC SPRAYER!!! No pumping, just plug in over night and spray spray spray. Sooo snazzy and almost effortless.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
Larry and Theodore report that they have begun gracing their daughter’s restaurant with glorious bouquets. Ted likes to bruit Larry’s great AC Bens. Although Parrot Tom has passed into a Greater Garden, his riotous Show ’n Tells continue to bloom their hearts out. Lola, out in Fairfax, sends pix of splendid Nick Sr., Andy’s Legacy and Gloriosa. Stacia loves making bouquets from her raised ground dahlia beds. Wolfe Lane Terraces lost a grower, so Kevin chose more plants from the Dietz Deck. After 3 years experimentation, look at the label design he devised to withstand weather and still be legible. Check out this great Bernal Heights neighborhood garden. Jean sent in pix from Lucy’s mixed planting tiers in the shadow of Sutra Tower. Thank you all for sharing your gardens.
Laura has agreed to manage some of our social media accounts. She writes: Here are some things YOU can do to help increase the number of people who learn about us and join our society:
Follow us: SF Dahlia Society on instagram and Facebook. You can also find us by using @SFDahliaSociety
Anytime you post on social media, tag us using @SFDahliaSociety
In combination with tagging our accounts, use any of the following hashtags when posting on instagram—these have a ton of followers and will get lots of views: #Dahlias, or #Dahlia or #Dahlia Society
LOU’S LATEST HYBIRDIZATION
Lou has astounded himself. “The first year, this seedling was a BB. Last year it was a B. Look at it now—AA!” Lou’s great hulking brute grows with sturdy stems and excellent orange color. It’s been amazing visitors to the Dell for a couple weeks. So Lou will have to grow it yet another year to determine if its size stabilizes. Such a wonderful problem to have.
DAHLIA DELL DOINGS
So many fun visitors this month! Dan and Billy, long-time volunteers-moved-to-Portland, returned for a blooming moment. Billy disbudded and deadheaded for years while Dan redesigned our website. Stacia and family checked out Eden Stacia and the hillside. Thuy braved the overcast just long enough to be dazzled by the early flush of color. Mitzu, a regular now, promises to unveil her latest dahlia painting soon. Collette dashed in for a glimpse of how her dahlias will look in a couple weeks. Disappointed that several of his newly purchased tubers did not germinate, Geoff stopped by to procure replacement plants. When Sarah enlightened him about copper collars around the base of each clump to prevent slugs and snails from ascending his dahlias, he went right out to buy some and bought us some too. Thank you Geoff. Sue was please with magnificent AC Roosters and deep purple Divas. Check out her well-labeled eastern Hillside. Dexter cruised in on his foldable bitzy bike and shared photos of putatively delicious food he’d created; next time less pix and more REAL edible examples, please. (Dexter returned the next weekend with banana bread madeleines with chocolate and cherries inside. MMMM!) Neighbors biked from Bernal Heights to delight in the dahlias. What stamina. Tara volunteered to ministrative to Elvira and the whole Petting Zoo. She came prepared with a wee stool to save her precious knees. John P deadheaded, planted and made Dell time-lapse videos. See them at jp_art_garden. Work out groups find that sweating surrounded by beauty is more fun. They’ve been spotted early in the morning, mid-day and in the evenings after work. They huff and puff: more carbon dioxide for our beauties. Unbeknownst to us all, Francis Palmer toured The Dell and posted pix and video for her 100K+ followers. Francis Palmer is a ceramicist, blogger, author of Life in the Studio, and dahlia grower from Connecticut. Who should stroll through playing his soulful accordion the whole time, but Johan. He serenaded us for almost a half an hour. We hope he returns often.
August is Show it Off month! Participate —some way—in both the San Leandro Show and our SF Floribunda! Clerk, “run” for someone (convey their staged blooms to the correct spot on exhibit tables), judge, take lots of photos, interact with the public, help set up and tear down. Show up!
THROW A PARTY!
It doesn’t have to be fancy. Share your dahlias with friends in situ. Just sit amongst the glory or design a special dahlia libation for festivities…..Take your dead heads to your local library or senior center or hospital reception room or dentist’s office or Physical Therapy Rehab site. One or two dahlias changes everything.
At the Dell, rough winds sweep across our vulnerable dahlias, so we tie them up. Those who’ve set up Hortanova feel very smug right now. But the rest of us have to hustle. Phil re-uses velcro strips. I use plastic coated string of two types. I like the fatter variety because it’s less likely to garrote my delicate stems. Sarah ties with fat green plastic cords. Lou and Pat use packing string to good effect. Some people simply insert metal tomato cages in place. Here’s a gorgeous 12” KA’s Cloud.
Strip the leaves from the understory of your plants. This allows the air to circulate more freely and sends all your plant’s energy into the upper story to make flowers. If you have a particularly valuable variety, use one of these lower sprigs to make a pot root as insurance against poor tuber storage. LABEL! Hollyhill Spider Woman writhes again!
I try to spray in the late afternoon—even better—after sundown. But it gets a little creepy in Golden Gate Park after dark, so I spray from 5:30-7:45 PMs. This prevents the sun burning the shiny leaves. I deploy a very fine spray to both the top AND BOTTOM of my leaves. My cocktail de jour? Stylette Oil, Captain Jack’s Dead Bug, Liquid fertilizer and dishwashing soap. A long wand saves my back much crankiness. Only 3,” Josudi Neptune dances in the breeze.
PESTIFEROUS PESTS GRR!
How do you know what’s eating your precious dahlias? I often find fat contented caterpillars feasting away in my blooms. Thrips and leaf miners are a bit small for these eyes to spot. An ingenious way to capture a sampling of your invasive munchers, is to coat a yellow dixie cup with Vasoline and staple it to the top of your stake. In just a day, it will be covered with bugs. This will give you a better idea about what you need to put in your cocktail du jour. I often get asked about diabrodica—or diaBRATica—, the green ladybug shaped voracious wretches. We rarely have to battle these prolific lunchers because they tend to thrive in temperatures above 80 degrees, something so very rare at The Dell. When Mike grew commercially down in Half Moon Bay, he used a mini vacuum designed to clean computers. He’d just vacuum his developing blossoms. When his gadget was full, he emptied it into the chicken pen. Ah! Jubilation! Spinosad also deters these insects. Here’s Hilltop Kemper and Jomanda.
Here’s a glimpse of a few crowd pleasers from The Dell. AC ABBY, AC Fernando, Ana Mari, and Sandia War Bonnet accompanied by an overview of Jillian and KA’s Peppercorn. What about Lou’s numbered seedling? Very promising?
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Dibner, Deitch, Dietz, Ide, Palmer, Smith, Tobiason, Warden, Yee
Snail Mail Benefactress: Patricia