To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: February 2021 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: Zoom Zoom. Tuesday, February 9 at 7 PM. Save this url so you can easily find it. Topic: Dahlia Society
Time: Feb 9, 2021 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Program: Germinating tubers, book case green houses, cold frames
ADS WEBSITE: With Samantha’s expertise, we toured the new and improved American Dahlia Society’s national website during our January meeting. Dahlia.org
There are wonderful tutorials at the Dahlia University. Over 2/3 of the entries in the 2020 ADS Classification File have PHOTOS!!! If you see an entry that does NOT have a picture and you have taken one, please send it in for all your fellow dahlia growers in the world to enjoy. When we begin traveling again, you can use this site to find information about other dahlia societies in other states. That way you might be able to visit dahlia gardens on your trip. Cream of the Crop and Fabulous Fifty lists help you choose the BEST cultivars to plant. Under KNOW there are wonderful videos/articles/books to access. Please check out this excellent source for some new ideas and resources.
WONDERFUL WEATHER FOR WARDENS’ Taking advantage of balmy 60’s something temperatures, Deborah and Tony pulled the first third of Phil and Marilyn’s tuber trove from their sheltered garden. Check out their gorgeous blooming double white dahlia tree. Quite magnificent! Due to hungry gophers, most of their varieties were planted in gopher cages. The cages successfully thwarted ghastly gnawing, but some of the initial placements allowed thriving tubers to extrude through the mesh, rendering many inviable. Vermin!!! On the other hand, pulling up the cages proved pretty easy; stacking stuffed cages, effective; and storing clumps in their own swaddling dirt until dividing, quite successful. Some of the clumps were marvelously robust; other were bust! Nothing at all. All within the same garden, taken care of by the same people. Just no telling with these crazy dahlias.
DELIGHTFUL DAHLIA DAY DREAMS: Here is the first group of glorious dahlias from 2020 to brighten up your mud month.
ADS PHOTO CONTEST: Probably due to the lack of dahlia shows last year, more people entered the annual ADS photo contest than ever before. Debbie Povich also facilitated much easier entry procedures. Instead of the usual approaching 100 entries, clickers submitted over 700 entries in 10 categories. Kudos to David Xu for his wonderful “Which is Lovelier?” Many of you have seen Louise Hendriksen’s work here in our newsletter. She scored with a second and a third. Here is the first place photo of John P called “Freedom.” Congratulations to Deborah Dietz for winning first place in her favorite category! I hope many many more of you will take arresting pix this coming season and represent DSC with more amazing entries.
WOODEN DAHLIAS BLOOMING: Somewhere in upper Noe or lower Castro, there are two wooden dahlia features adorning walls. What a wonderful surprise during a Sunday’s constitutional. Check out the paper dahlia Larry Smith in Portland spotted. Ah, dahlia ART.
TREATS FOR BORED EYES: Here is the second collection of marvelous cultivars to enliven your day. Do consider buying a few new varieties to delight everyone here in the Bay Area.
DAHLIA DELL DOINGS: Loren has delivered a milk carton a week. So thoughtful. How wonderful of Peggy to bring a whole garbage bag of half gallon and quart milk cartons to the Dell AND stay to weed for a couple hours!!! Sue is completely dug out. She spread coffee grounds on her 3 tiers and resunk all her cages in anticipation of planting in March and April. Pat has more than half of hers out, schlepping one or two a week in her wagon. Amazingly, Bloomquist Candy Corn, Belle of the Ball, Pennhill Watermellon and Jessica are still blooming in Deborah’s section. Indomitable! Deborah continues to harvest a dozen stem cuttings each visit.
WARDEN’S REDUX: Steve and Deborah enjoyed a blustery but blue day taking out another tranche of tubers at the Warden’s home. Even in their enclosed back yard, the previous night the wind had thrashed bromeliads off their walls, had cracked branches, and
had trashed artisanal ceramics to smithereens. At least no trees crashed on their street as happened all over The City. Lola rendezvoused with us to drop off bags and bags of her fabulous tuber clumps. Marilyn surprised us with homemade rice soup and HOT pizza. We socially distanced within chatting range: how civilized! After we left, Phil quickly spread chicken manure on all the newly vacant patches, hoping for a little rain to wash it in.
FEBRUARY DAHLIA FUNCTIONS:
WEED SURPRESSION: Keep weeding assiduously! Every weed you remove now will NOT make 100 more to eradicate later. Some people lay cardboard weighted down with potted plants atop. Without light, weeds cannot thrive. Remove the cardboard when you are ready to plant. Even better, spread chicken manure or zoo poo first before you lay down the cardboard or weed cloth. Someone bravely submitted a query about Round Up. In these oh so politically green times, is it EVER ok to use Round UP? Round up is a pretty nasty formula to seer plants down through their roots: it absolutely destroys them. It lingers a long time. I have used Round Up on the wee cracks in my driveway after I pulled the weeds out. I use a very VERY fine tip that yields only a wee exact spray. It keeps my cracks without weeds for several months. I NEVER use it in my dahlia plot because of potential lingering growth suppression long after its 8-12 week potency. Knowing this, if you are battling vicious blackberry vines which will NOT stay dead, you might try eradicating what you can see; dig down to pull out roots; spray the hole with a little RoundUP and then wait 2 months to plant. I would not plant vegetables there. Resort to RoundUP only in utter desperation.
TUBER ETIQUETTE: If you are giving clumps to someone to divide for you, check with them about how they would like to receive said clumps. I prefer clumps with plenty of dirt adhering like a protective ball around them, almost as though they are still underground dormant. That way I have some leeway as to how soon or late I can begin dividing them. It keeps them in suspended animation, so to speak. When Lou was making cuttings in the greenhouse, he preferred his clumps delivered well washed and even bleached to avoid contamination. Of course, if we were to have a tuber sale, the best presentation is clean, divided, labeled and bleached. Our tuber sale is still up in the air. However, San Leandro and Monterey are planning on-line sales. You might contact them to see if you can participate. I’ll be checking and let you know in March. The ADS website soon will begin listing Dahlia Societies throughout the US that are offering on-line sales.
I noticed on my hike around Wolfe Lane, that Kevin has re-erected his cold frame. Check out all the excellent YouTube videos about cold frames and tent tunnels for some good ideas. Love these transparent umbrellas!
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Beasley, Brown, Creekside, Dibner, Dietz, Gaensler, Hendriksen, Hoff, Jones, Kapp, Margelmeyer, Ollieu, Petit, Sanchez-Corea, Sanderson, Showcase, Smith, Spencer, Wallace, Wentworth, Xu
Membership wrangler and Layout Queen: Devorah
Snail Mail benefactress: the divine Patricia