December 2016 Newsletter

To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: December 2016 Newsletter

NEXT MEETING: December 13 at 6:30 PM, an HOUR earlier than usual so we can have fun at our HOLIDAY POTLUCK PARTY. Please bring a dish to share and a dahlia-related wrapped gift for stealing. If a serving uten- sil is needed to distribute your delicacy, please supply it, too. Many DCSers have been known to wear antlers, sequins, sparkles, and even holiday sweaters.


Lou reprised his most excellent seminar about processing your tuber trove. He reminded us NOT to lift up the clump by its central stem, but rather to lift it from the underneath portion lest you break the all-important necks. If the tubers are long or heavy with fragile necks, try dividing right in place. Lou dips his exposed edges in Captan; others suggested Sulphur or cinnamon. How festive. Lou listed various media for storage: vermiculite, guinea pig shavings, sand, shredded paper, and Seran Wrap. Billy jumped to the head of the line to try dividing. He noted that tubers are pretty dense and not easy to slice through.


Someone baked apple squares. MMMM. Chocolate crispy cookies added to our cheer. Wow! A whole bucket full of peppermint bark. My holiday started right then. Thank you to these dessert heroes: un- named but so appreciated.


DSC thrives because amazing individuals donate their time, ideas, hearts, brawn, talents, and joy. We’ll hold elections prior to festivities, so think about how you’d like to participate in the Dahlia So- ciety of California. I need someone to take photos and write up what happens at our meetings if I am not there. I need other people to write paragraphs and submit pix; I cannot do it all any more. Frank welcomes someone to work on recruiting speakers for our innovative programs. We need someone to help open and close up the kitchen. Please call one of our board members and discuss what contribu- tions you would like to make to help DSC succeed.


Even though John and Dona Mani left us for SoCal, their love of dahlias has brought much pleasure to their neighbors. John writes, “Today is November 7 and I just cut 4 more huge bouquets of blooms to distribute to my honey, Donna, our residence library, our reception desk, and to the activities desk. I have been cutting back all the “dead” stems (ala D.Dietz) AND have been spraying the plants, twice a week, with “Scott’s Bloom Plus”. Never have I had so many blooms so late in the season. I will have them until Thanksgiving——only because I followed what Deborah Dietz taught me….Miss all of you and the SFDS more than you can imagine.” We miss you, too, John and Donna.


Again this year, DSC offers in-dues-ments to get your membership form and $ in early. Anyone submit- ting your form to Devorah at our Holiday Party will get THREE raffle tickets; by our January meeting, TWO raffle tickets; and by the end of January, ONE. We’ll have a drawing for $25, $20 and $15 vouch- ers for our tuber sale in April. Devi says she’ll bring some membership forms to our meeting if you bring checks or ca$h.


Dahlianeers are blessed with many cool calendar options this year.
Firstly, Kevin Woodson, watercolorist extraordinaire, once again offers twelve months of his opera: $20 mailed to you. Kevin@
Tina McNabb offers a dahlia 2017 calendar
Rae Pemberton writes: The 2017 Hello Dahlia! Calendar has arrived and due to a reduction in the print cost, the price has been reduced slightly to $16/ea for the large and $12/ea for the small (both prices include shipping).

John Dale reminds us that San Francisco Public Utilities Commission offers a free Bay Area calendar: Guess what’s on the cover? The official flower of San Francisco!


Many commercial dahlia sellers have already posted their catalogs on line. Such tempting visions. I’ve checked out, Kevin and Karen’s Corralitos Gardens. Phil Warden swears by these live cuttings, not tubers. Devi enjoys a great relationship with near Coos Bay, Oregon. I’ve gotten wonderful roots from in Washougal, Washington. Sue swears by Swan Island, who puts out the most gorgeous catalog. It costs $4, but goes towards the price of your first order. (I keep my Swan Island catalog in the bathroom all year to drool over.) Let us know from whom you’ve ordered and how satisfied you were/were not. Do NOT be seduced by snazzy pix and extravagant descriptions. USE YOUR ADS CLASSIFICATION BOOK; check the wins columns. If you have to choose between a dahlia with five wins and the same color and size with 156 wins—it’s a no-brainer, right????


Now is the time to assess which dahlias were your heroes and which your zeros. Lou Paradise reports that of all his dahlias “Skip to my Lou bloomed the longest for me…it’s still blooming. I was really pleased to see that both Belle of the Ball and Spartacus did so well.” Lou has lopped all his back and begun lifting clumps. Jessica, Rolf, Cabrillo and Eden Talos were early April bloomers in Deborah’s Dell section. They are STILL blooming in December. Bloomquist Angela and Arena’s Sunset are still pumping out beauties as we read. Amazing. Pat’s Monet’s Glory doesn’t know it’s winter. Cabrillo Gardens reports that Bloomquist Candy Corn won the trifecta: real people pleaser, large robust bush, and an award winner. Tripple Crown, indeed. Devi’s Camano Sunshine, B yel, and Skip to My Lou both thrived. Camano Zoe, mba, lt pk, though a small plant, produced lovely blooms. Two BIG dahlias stunned: Holly Hill Moonsong, AA SC pale white/pk/yel and Holly Hill Big Red. Devi’s Holly Hill Pixie, whilst small, caught a lot of eyes.


Have you tried making cuttings from the wee sprouts on the trunks of your waning dahlias? Pop each into a 2×2” or 4×4” put under light and keep moist but not wet. You might surprise yourself. Here’s a great spot online about making cuttings html Costco had shop LED lights on sale; I bought 8.

Dig, divide and store your tubers. The web is abuzz with people using Cinnamon instead of Captan or Sulphur on exposed edges. Very green, indeed. I like to use vermiculite as my storage medium as does Lou; Sue uses sand. Use what works for you. Ask for the LARGE bag which certain places store high on the stacks. Soooooo much less expensive. I store mine in plastic bags inside cardboard boxes. Gerda uses 5-gallon buckets. Connie Thompson stores hers in alphabetically arranged plastic boxes, 98 cents each from Home Despot on line.

I’ll begin digging out the first few dahlias at the Dell on
Saturday mornings in December. Come help. Anyone
interested in learning how to use an electric oscillat-
ing dremmel can contact me and come by the Maus Haus to apprentice themselves. I often pop some tubers of each variety directly into milk cartons and stack them in my warm-ish loft to germinate. Re- member to keep the labels with each cultivar.

Bring a wonderful, wrapped gift to our Present Predation game. Be innovative. In the past, members have assembled dividing tools, loppers, bulbs, books, calendars, garden plaques, hats, aprons and framed photos. Be creative. Strive to be the first gift “frozen.”

Yours in Dirt,


Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Asst. editor & Page layout: Mike Willmarth
Snail mail: Pat Hunter
Photo credits: Dietz, Joseph, Lee, Mani,Pemberton, Thompson, Woodson

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