February/March 2017 Newsletter

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

NEXT MEETING:  March 14, at 7:30. Program: Bring your ADS Classification book or buy one at our meeting. Learn how to use it. Take the Classification quiz to see if you’ve got it down. Share Jump- start tips. Check out “Mistress Grids, “ or how to set up your own XL spread sheets. Special treat: Devi and Pat may bring the first of the greenhouse cuttings for sale. Deborah will bring some of her milk cartoned babies. ADS Classification Books will be on sale for $5 to members and $15 for non- members. Will you bring any of your tubers or cuttings???? Who will bring yumminess for hungry dahlianeers?


Valentine’s Day and good weather brought together a nice group at our February meeting. Frank brought the ADS cd of New Introductions. Despite all Carl’s expert help, techni- cal difficulties hindered our enjoyment of this yearly treat. Deborah led a discussion of commercial dahlia sellers: who we’ve liked in the past and with whom various members had had difficulties. Big Dahlias, Blossom Gulch, Clearview, Les and Viv Connell, Linda’s, and Swan Island were highly touted. Deborah suggested looking up each cultivar’s ADS Classifi- cation rating before succumbing to hyperbolistic blandish- ments. Check out dahliaaddict.com for comparative pricing. Frank passed out several sheets on which Karen Zydner had sliced and diced from the California shows in 2016. These tell you what’s doing really well in local gardens. We bid fond farewell to Dan and Billy who leave us for bigger dahlia gardens in Oregon. Not only did Dan and Billy help at our shows and tuber sales, volunteer at the Dell, but they were also engineers behind developing our new yet-to-be unveiled DSC website. We thank them for sharing their dahlia Stylet Oil and Captain Jacks and hope they will find a place where they need these soon.


Devi orchestrated the annual raffle for those who renewed memberships by our Feb. meeting. Here are our winners of gift certificates to our annual tuber sale in April: $15 Gino; $20 Brian and Paula; and our big winner at $25, Sue Glazer. Congrats to out winners, and to everyone who joined or rejoined in such a timely fashion. Thank you Devorah, for managing DSC Membership in such a creative and organized fashion. Frank raffled off a gorgeous ceramic swan donated by Bill Bagely. Lucky winner? Chad! We look forward to see- ing a great dahlia arrangement in it at the upcoming shows. Frank reminded DSCers to be on the lookout for interesting speakers and topics for our monthly programs. Contact him with potential educators, please.


Gooey thanks to Tony for his maccarroons which went very fast. Maggie’s chocolate chip cookies vied with another generous person’s for utterly delicious. Pat donated a bunch of snack-sized candy bars. Such delight. Thank you to all who share their yummy largesse with us.


Despite dire predictions of apocalyptic deluges and 45 mile an hour winds, Erik encouraged us to cross our fingers for a little luck “at least in the morning.” Obviously the weather gods look benevolently upon dahlias; after light flurries in the early morning, the rain held off and the temperatures rose to high fifties–so much better than low forties when you have wet hands. Many volunteers helped with weeding Lou’s volcano and making a dent in his ver- dant green crop. Pat dug all her clumps and brought them up to the gardeners’ court. Tony lopped stalks. Deborah mentored Kay and Chad through dremmel lessons; Erik, Lola and Christopher deftly split clumps without electricity. John and Victoria timed the bleach bench baskets. Shelly and Debby led the label table scribes. Cathy DID EVERYTHING including tossing a fresh caesar salad to accompany the Gaensler pizza.  How scrumptious and WARM was Tony’s hot pot of chili?  Soooo appreciated on a damp day. Chad and Tom decadently donated TWO boxes of See’s candy augmenting the chocolate orgy Shelly’s florentines started. Pat’s coffee cake slipped down gullets ever so sweetly. To thank the Park Gardeners for trusting us to again treat their clubhouse as our own, the Gaenslers left them an enormous gift basket of goodies. Monday there will be a lot of happy park workers’ faces and happier bellies.


Thank you to Kristine Albrecht and Leslie Severin for orga- nizing a wonderful Pacific Southwest Conference down in the Monterey area, despite the terrible weather and road clo- sures. Karen Zydner again compilated lists of the winners from the California 2016 dahlia competitions. (See below for links.) San Leandro will host the conference show this year; that’s the one where special medals can be won in certain categories. Thus, San Leandro will host the PSW Confer- ence next February.

PSW Annual Form Winners by Size or Type
PSW Court of Honor Summary Report


Pat Cunningham, founder of the Bay Cities Dahlia Society, Manhattan Beach, hybridizer and interna- tional ambassador of dahlias died at 98. In the early ’20’s, Pat shaped his own boards and surfed. Because he smashed his nose in a motorcycle accident, preventing him from using an oxygen mask, he became a paratrooper in WWII instead of a pilot. After marrying Florence Schwartz, Pat headed several teams at North American Aviation for 42 years. Whenever I saw Pat at various dahlia affairs, he loved to show me his photo albums of dahlia history. We have lost one of our legends.


Yes, it’s been wet. Many clumps left in the ground have turned to mush. Which means that your DSC will need alllllll your extra tubers even more at our annual tuber sale. Please take a little extra time this year to help our society with your excess tubers; even consider potting up some tubers right now in milk cartons or gallon pots to contribute to our sale. We could be really hurting this year. Continue to add leaves, grass and compost to your patch especially banana peels, egg shells and coffee grounds. Ask your local coffee shop for their grounds. You may have to bring them a bucket and promise to pick it up before they close each night for public health reasons. John Morton has pointed out that excess rain encourages excess weeds. To avoid jungles of weeds, start evicting them NOW. Each weed you remove now obviates about a hundred weeds next month. Moreover, John alerts us that snails can hi- bernate during the drought and spring back in droves after the deluge. Armies of nasty gastropods will be ravenous for your wee sweet sprouts. Have snail and earwig repellant ready BEFORE you plant. I have two up in the Dell that demand drastic repellant measures immediately. I also have the first of my milk cartons sprouting in my loft already. Such a wonderful sight. Last chance to order some new and cool dahlia varieties from the on-line catalogs. Many are already sold out or even closed. Set up your XL spread sheet so you know what dahlias you NEED for the coming season. Plan to hit the San Lean- dro, San Jose, and Monterey Dahlia Society sales as well as DSC—or find out who’s going and send requests. Paula in Tiburon and John and Donna in SoCal report they’ve already seen first sprouts out of the ground and hope for first blooms sometime in April. Wow.

Yours in Dirt,

Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Page layout: Mike Willmarth
Photo credits: Baker, Dietz, Hart, Jensen

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