To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: December 2017 newsletter
NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, December 12. EARLY STARTING TIME FOR HOLIDAY PARTY!!!! 6:30 so we can be convivial and still get home at a decent hour. Please concoct something delicious to share for our potluck dinner and if you choose, bring a wrapped gift relating to dahlia growing for our rousing Present Predation ritual.
DAHLIA HOKEY POKEY
Lou re-enacted his exhumation ritual. You put your spade in here. You put your spade in there. You put your spade in here. He likes to cut a circle around his clump severing any extended roots before he uses his two-shovel pincer technique to pry up the roots. Lou recommends that you dig, divide, soak and sulfur (or cinnamon) one at a time so you don’t mix up your labels. Remember, you can only spot the eyes about 8 hours after exposing them to air. After that, you’re purely guessing. Mix a bucket of 10% bleach solution, and soak your divided tubers for at least 2 minutes or more. Lou exhorts all of us to please preserve as many tubers as we possibly can to bring to our Tuber Sale in April; after all, it’s how we pay for our meeting room and our Big Show. Deborah offers individual dividing seminars at her house. Make arrangements to bring 3-5 clumps and she’ll tutor you through Electric Dividing 101.
TOILING IN PARADISE
The Dell has enjoyed grooming from assorted aestheticians. Mark Oldenkamp, VP of ADS, arrived bright and early to disbud and dead head. His reward? A trip to Devorah’s Cabrillo Gardens to see Rosco live and gleaming. John P’s in-laws, fresh from their apportionment in England, plied skilled fingers for a morning. John posed for a Magritte moment with a gonzo Maki. Taking a break from surgery, Ameha doctored the Dell for a morning. Helen earned her volunteer apron by faithfully sprucing up the Petting Zoo, the outermost area of the Dell, week after week. Newcomer, David, not only deadheaded, but he also dug a marvelously vast compost hole. Teaching by demonstrating, John P began taking late season cuttings, which Deborah stashed in her greenhouse. Watercolor artist Kevin, cruised by for final inspirations. Pat gaily-answered myriad passersby’s questions. Craig lopped down Tinnee’s brown bushes. Sue and Lou have already begun digging and dividing. Truly, it takes a village….
Our beloved former Dahlia Society of California President and longtime member, Lou Cornish, passed away at 93 in his native England in late October, surrounded by his daughters Jacky, Gill and Wendy. His son Andrew lives in New Zealand.
Lou grew up in southwestern England between the wars, and was old enough in WWII to serve in the Royal Air Force, working with Hawker Hurricanes in the defense of Britain. He had remarkable stories of chasing down German V-1 propeller driven rockets or “buzz bombs” by flying wingtip to wingtip. Lou then would flip the V-1 upside down with a deft roll, forcing it to crash. Shooting the explosive filled buzz bomb down directly could result in fatal conflagration for both aircraft!
Lou’s 4 children arrived after the war, and in the 1970’s (???) Lou ventured to California. A great mechanic, he found work in the boatyards of Sausalito. While in Marin, Lou met Thelma, also from his native UK– indeed from a neighboring area! They spent the rest of their lives together, enjoying square dancing, travel, gardening, and their many friends.
Lou and Thelma had a wonderful home on Shell Rd. in Mill Valley, and turned their yard into an Eden with grafted apple trees, berries, vegetables, and of course dahlias. Lou was a great collector of hardware, and developed many creative solutions to home and garden issues. Using windows from demolished houses, Lou fabricated his and hers greenhouses.
Thanks to Erik for this loving tribute.
VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS
Have you started salivating over the dahlia catalogs yet??? It’s that time of year. Here are some pix of some of the new varieties that caught my eye. Use http://dahliaaddict.com to track down from whom at what prices. I got Chimacum Davi, Wyn’s King Salmon, and Narrows Kristen from Linda’s Dahlias last season. Great tubers and wonderful people. Phil and Marilyn order from Corralitos Dahlias every year for earliest delivery. Devorah enjoys exchanges with Blossom Gulch, Big Dahlias, Clearview. Sue and Paula appreciate tubers from Swan Island. Order something new to surprise yourself and delight the rest of us.
MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL TIME
It’s time to renew your annual ADS and/or DSC membership. The dues remain the same:
Dahlia Society of California only:
American Dahlia Society AND Dahlia Society of California
And to encourage you to renew early, we have raffle tickets for gift certificates to the Plant & Tuber Sale. If you renew your membership by the end of December, you will receive three raffle tickets, by January 15th, two raffle tickets and by the end of January, one raffle ticket.
The raffle tickets are for gift certificates in the amounts of $25.00, $15.00 and $10.00.
You can get the 2018 Membership Form here: https://sfdahlias.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Membership-Form-2018.pdf. We will be taking memberships at the Holiday Party.
In the snappy words of Bob Papp: if it’s green, let it lean; if it’s brown, cut it down. Words for this season: To Dig or not to Dig, that is another question. If you have well drained soil, you may choose to leave your clumps in. Just make sure they are well labeled. When they turn brown, cut them back to 4-5 notches and cover with a 5- gallon can. Placing a potted plant on top can ameliorate this eyesore. DO NOT WATER OR FERTILIZE ANY MORE! If you choose to exhume your clumps you have two choices: divide immediately or divide in March. If you only have a few, pop them in buckets or boxes surrounded by lots of soil. They will think they are still slumbering in their ground. Put in a cool, dry spot. If you choose to divide, follow Lou’s nostrums. My rule of thumb is it’s better to have a sure double or even triple tuber rather than two or three if-y little tuberettes. If you are unsure how to divide your lovelies, apprentice yourself to a veteran splitter. I love to show off my electric oscillating divider; Sue is as precise as a brain surgeon; Devorah is Dr. Divider; Frank teaches very patiently; and our Erik actually IS a brain surgeon. Different people use different unguents to salve the slashed areas of the tuber. I use sulfur; Lou uses Captan; Greenies coat with cinnamon now—how aromatic! I store in large-grained vermiculite; Lou uses guinea pig cedar shavings; Sue uses sand. Devi recommends Pet Club down near El Camino Real for huge bags of cedar shavings. They all work. I stash each variety in its own plastic bag and put several bags in a cardboard box. The Juuls used plastic bags inside 5-gallon buckets. John Morton has a library of alphabetized boxes for his convenient storage. Store in a cool —not cold— dry spot. Figure out what suits you best.
WEED! Get as many rambunctious nutrient-sucking weeds ripped out before the rains begin or you’ll be sorry……. This is the time for weeds to proliferate and take over your garden. Compost! Sweep up the leaves from your neighbors and scatter over your plot. Plant a cover crop of hairy vetch, fava beans or some of the snazzy new mustard seeds that are supposed to inoculate your soil subculture. At least scatter some fun wild flower seeds; they don’t really enrich your soil but they enrich your viewing experience and render a bit of grace to your Mud Months. Take some late season cuttings and put them under 18-20 hours of light a day. These could be your early bloomers come April…..
Yours in Dirt,
Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Snail Mail Mistress: Pat Hunter
Layout: Devorah Joseph
Photo credits: Bergman, Cleary, Conti Sr., Dietz, Freeman, Gaensler, Gordon, Joseph, Meijering, Olieu, Vailorykste, and Vluet
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