To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: February 2022 Newsletter
Due to Omicron galloping across the Bay Area, we will hold our meeting via zoom.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 873 8947 8716
Program: ADS Fab 50, Cream of the Crop, 2021 Photo Contest, New Introductions. All of these are available at the American Dahlia Society’s website dahlia.org We will go through each with discussions about what is the difference between the Fab 50 and the Cream of the Crop. What is a Stanlely Johnson winner and what is an Evie Gullikson winner. Stay healthy and grow dahlias!
LOOKING BACK AT OUR HOLIDAY PARTY
WOMEN WHO WORK
After so much rain, the sun brought out more than mushrooms and mosquito larvae; it brought out 5 DSC Dahlianeers to lift all the gopher-caged tuber clumps at Phil and Marilyn’s home. The first thing Jennifer noticed in their gorgeous enclosed garden was their double white tree dahlia. The storms had smacked it and smashed it some, but it still formed a lovely bower. Karen, Jennifer and Lucy worked like utter machines! Non-stop, breaking a circle of roots and pulling cages. Sarah did double duty: both digging and trucking clumps to Deborah’s Element in the driveway. When Deborah checked her pedometer later, she was amazed to have schlepped 3.6 miles! Napoleon said his army marched on their bellies; we shoveled, fueled by culinary delights! Marilyn got up at 4 am to bake us muffins and cookies. Sarah brought Shark pastries. Lucy discovered astonishingly amazing almond confections at Arizmendi’s. We all sat in the four corners of the inner garden and supped on Deborah’s crock pot enchilada soup. The following day, like an angel of mercy, Sarah drove to Deborah’s home to help unload the whole meggalah. What a gift! Heavy lifting went faster with two and was certainly less onerous and more fun. To celebrate stacking them all against the garage door, they toured Deborah’s greenhouse with about 250 cuttings. Deborah has processed an average @20 clumps a week so far. Whew.
Chicken or pork: chopped bite sized 1 or more onions minced
celery minced 1 or more tomatoes chopped
cooked rice cooked beans–I like black
1 or more apples; peeled and diced 1 can enchilada sauce
Spices: cumin, chili, pepper, Taco mix Major hank of cilantro, chopped
chicken broth (optional) 1 can chopped tomatoes (optional)
Quick sauté the meat in the spices in oil. Remove from pot. Lightly sauté the onions and celery. For our version, I added the last of the tomato juice and the last of my pasta sauce. You can add chicken broth, but I usually just add Caldo de Pollo, a sort of bullion powder. Add enchilada sauce, meat, rice, beans and tomatoes. I like finely diced apples to slightly sweeten and balance the smuggy taste of the black beans. Let cook a while and add the cilantro. Let simmer for an hour. Taste and adjust to your palate.
Serve: straight out of the pot is fine but you can spruce this up several ways. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a couple wee chunks of tomato for color. A dollop of non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream is jaunty. Most sumptuous if you’ve had a heavy hand with the black beans, is a float of sherry just before serving. MMMMM.
Each year we ask that you fill out a new form and send in your checks. The great innovation is that you can do this so easily ON LINE! You can re-join DSC for $10 for yourself or $15 for your family. ADS membership $27 and family membership $33. Remember, only DSC members get their newsletter the beginning of each month; the rest of the world has to wait until the following month before it’s posted on the website. So exclusive.
As always during the Mud Months, here are some gorgeous dahlias to whet your appetite.
A FEW GOOD DAHLIANEERS: NEEDED
Your DSC still has some jobs open needing dedicated people. Dahlia Photo Curator: this person keeps a library of photos of the varieties we sell each year. So many of these pix already exist; but each year some new ones need to be tracked down and printed. The Curator would set up all these photos at our annual tuber sale in April. If we have in-person meetings in March, April and May with cutting sales, our Curator would set up photos for what is brought in for sale. SCHEDULER: This person schedules our meeting room and show room reservations. SHOW PRINTER: This individual takes the judges’ results at our show, prints up cards and arranges the frames on the Court of Honor. These are really important, essential posts. Please discuss volunteering for them by contacting Deborah, please!
THE CONTROVERSY WAGES ON
Thomas Pendergast published an article in the Sunset Beacon about how difficult the closure of JFK Drive is for Dahlia Volunteers.
They also published Deborah’s response to the article:
Great article by Mr. Pendergast. I’m glad he talked to a lot of people.
I am so upset with the disingenuousness of Park/government officials. They claim they have offered us all kinds of solutions but the only one I know of for sure is the 24 hour valet service. Somehow this evokes the idea that they will pick us up like an Uber at our homes and drive us to the Dell. Alas. NOT. Instead the 24 hours refers to the lead time we need to arrange to set up the possibility of being picked up somewhere where we can find parking. Imagine: you find a place to park. You call the driver who’s been waiting for you or they have to find someone willing to go look for you. When they finally arrive, you load all your gear into their cart and they transport you to the Dell. You unload everything. You MUST finish by 2:30 because they are off at 3. Understandably, it takes less time to load everything into ones own wagon and schlep however far-10 minutes–30 minutes to the Dell. Then we have to figure out how to save enough energy from our garden ministrations to reload everything, haul it back to our vehicle and load it up. Needless to say, in the last 2 years NO ONE has availed themselves of this remarkable offer.
Storage Shed and parking by Lawn Bowling: no one has alerted the 6 growers who donate all the dahlias about either of these options. They have not contacted the Dahlia Society about them. They have issued neither keys nor parking passes for this “solution.” I think the spokesperson actually believes these things are viable offerings; she is not intentionally lying; just no one is communicating these options to the people who might actually use them. The Lawn Bowling area is quite a ways from the Dell. Using a communal storage shed has the liability that equipment can be used by other people and might not come back on a timely basis.
2 parking passes: The Park has talked about these passes for a year –since last January. Only when the Conservatory needed vendor access did they open Conservatory Drive to the public. These passes were never issued. There are no designated spaces. We have tried on several occasions to park behind the Conservatory but the public has filled these spots already.
Use of an electric cart! Again no one was informed, given a key, or apprised of where to get this electric cart. Would we be able to drive it to our cars, unload everything, drive to the Dell, unload everything, park it at the Dell, reload everything, drive back to our parked car, unload everything, drive back to the electric cart’s garage and then hike back to our loaded vehicle? Fairly unwieldly.
What would make things better? 6 passes for the 6 seconds to drive across JFK in our own vehicles which could be parked at the Dell while we donate our time, energy and plants; while we share gardening tips with the public; while we answer hundreds of dahlia questions; while we make our City more beautiful with San Francisco’s official flower (since 1926).
Better solution: Turn the barricades on Nancy Pelosi drive 45 degrees to cross JFK. This would allow cars to drive in at the McLaren Lodge entrance, give them access to Conservatory Drive and Pompeii Drive, and allow both gardeners and handicapped to drive to the Dahlia Dell.
Ideal solution: revert back to pre-Covid restrictions on vehicles with Golden Gate Park closed only on Sundays.
Check out this 3-slotted tobogganing site set up near the Dell one day so kids could experience the thrill of sliding down the snowy slopes. Such ingenuity.
DAHLIA DELL DOINGS
Sue pulled all her gopher cages out, filled the holes with compost, sprinkled her 3 tiers with coffee grounds, and raked it to Zen contemplation. Sue reports that Peets and Starbucks usually are quite willing to give away bags of coffee grounds. Mmmmm. Do caffeinated worms work harder or faster?? Pat and Tinnee checked out viability on several of their dahlias. Alas, many had been eaten by the wretched wire worm pestilence, spotted serpent worm. Grrrr! Lou pulled all his clumps and let his section flourish into a verdant pasture. (Soon the park will rototill it all under.) Sarah mastered Deborah’s Cuttings 101 Class. Contributing 2 big bags of perlite, Sarah potted up over 50 late season Pennhill Watermelon, Pennhill Dark Monarch, Blomquist Candy Corn, Jessica and Blomquist Jeff’s. Loren saved the day again. This time he repaired a non-squirting spritzer and sharpened scissors. The next week he biked up with a very fancy sprayer to upgrade the persnickety one. Thanks to Tim for an infusion of 5-gallon buckets and more 1x1x3” pots. Deborah reports 3 sprouting dahlias of those left in her section. Yay! it’s starting again.
MORE EXQUISITE DAHLIA PHOTOS
Check thedahliaaddict.com for information on where to purchase these beauties.
FUNDAMENTALS OF FEBRUARY
According to my dahlia journal last year, mid February saw the first sprouts from the dahlias I’d left in the ground at the Dell. So exciting. If you left any in the ground, keep checking for those delicate first green feelers. They need to be protected IMMEDIATELY from the slugs, snails and earwigs that you don’t ever see because they feed at night. I like the Sluggo Plus because it covers a bunch of these foraging bugs and is pretty safe for kids, dogs and birds—although if your dog eats enough and is small enough, the dog will be very sick and maybe have an emergency visit to the vet. To encourage your in-ground dahlias, try putting a 5-gallon bucket over the top. This will act as a mini greenhouse, warming up that special space just a tad more than the ground around it. Remember, most dahlias need 63-68 degrees to germinate.
LATE SEASON CUTTINGS: I am still taking a few cuttings from the remaining green dahlias at the Dell. Hollyhill Showtime and Blomquist Candy Corn are blooming! Martina has buds. So wonderful to see color amidst the brown expanse. Inside the greenhouse I have begun taking cuttings from the earliest cuttings. They get tall and leggy so I cut them below the third set of leaves and root their tips. The remaining plant will send up 2 stems at the cut and continue to grow and fill the 4×4” pot with roots. When do I transfer the 1x1x3” cuttings into bigger homes? When the roots are creeping out the bottom of the container. When the whole 1x1x3” is full of roots, it wants more space; a 4×4” pot is perfect. Label Label Label ,
COMPOST COMPOST COMPOST
This is crab season. Crabs have a unique property that produces lethal allergic reactions in some people. This also means that crab carapaces produce a unique substance to add to your garden’s pantry of available nutrients. Smash up your crab skeletons and add to your compost along with the leaves, banana peals, tea bags, egg shells and mellon rinds. Phil likes to add several bags of chicken manure this time of year. Peggy hits the Oakland Zoo’s mountain of Zoo Doo to compliment her patch. Bunny pellets make gourmet additives. Ample preparation now contributes to fantastic blooms soon.
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Bergman, Capps, Connie’ Dahlias, Dietz, Gaensler, Garden of Eden, Jansen, Kulpa, Murphy, Penttila, Roga, Santana, Santose, Smith
Snail Mail Maven: Patricia