To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: January 2020 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: ALERT ALERT ALERT!!! NO meeting in January. Get your gardens in shape and promise to come to our Valentine’s February 11, meeting.
HOLIDAY SPIRITS A TWINKLE: Wow! Such a lovely convocation of gala gourmets. Setting a glittery tone, Pat bedecked all our tables with not only gay tablecloths but also shimmery garlands that really cranked up our festive vibe. Deborah waded through the mucky Dell for a pitiful bouquet of storm ravaged blooms. Jenna bedecked the bar with red/white/pink libations. Colleen, Jen, Pat and Shelly contributed to the beverage bounty along with Pat’s wine, diet coke and ginger ale. And such glorious food! Shelly performed surgery upon a succulent ham. Jen transformed Lola’s big turkey into photo –ready edible art. To make her mashed potatoes and gravy yet more enticing, Lola presented them on their own hot plates! MMMM. Hor d’oeuvres of shrimp came from Tony and 2 dozen deviled eggs from Deborah. Who brought the sushi poo poos? Gorgeous. The Geraci family gave us fruit, cheese and crackers upon which to graze. Tony S baked scalloped potatoes; Craig baked peas; and Tenaya whipped up sweet potatoes in coconut mash. Besides Elizabeth, who else tossed in arugula salad? Mac ‘n Cheese from Debby accompanied Pat’s lasagna. Karen’s chili relleno casserole received so many kudos, we’ve included her recipe at the end of our newsletter! Straight from Fuddhism Catering, Jen wheeled in troughs of chicken and tofu and shrimp. Wow! And desserts! Oh yes, we delighted in desserts! Maggie’s homemade chocolate chip cookies disappeared BEFORE dinner! Ens reprised his just-tart-enough key lime pie. Maggie R cut up a decadent pecan pie to compliment Leo’s apple pie. Everyone commented on Devi’s spectacular dahlia-molded Kahlua cake. MMMM! Surely there were other delectable dishes; our fearless reporter apologizes for any omissions but know you, too, were very appreciated.
PRESENT PREDATION: Thank you Maggie, for taking over Baker Bill’s numbers in the hat. Over 30 people braved wretched weather to contribute to our revelry. Ringmaster Deborah presided over the mayhem and Debby kept track of items en route to “frozen” status—i.e. items that had been stolen twice to land in their forever homes. Young Miles turned a prosaic wheeled coaster into a free-wheeling skate-saucer. A whole basket of narcissi quickly exchanged hands. Sloat and Cole gift cards danced in and out of several pockets. Frank finally nabbed a bucket chair full of tools. A wee garden gnome wandered about our company. A dahlia boutonniere and controversial “baboon bottom” poppies elicited some questions and raised eyebrows. Major blessings upon whomever wrapped the Sees Candies! Whatever DJ opened was stolen soon after; he had the knack for choosing the tempting items. Wine bottles naturally reached appreciative cellars. Who knew that industrial gloves would be such hits?
MEMBERSHIP REDOUBT: Devorah commanded the membership renewal station. Armed with membership forms and the lure of raffle tickets, Devi re-upped several of us. Remember, if you renew by Jan. 15, you get 2 raffle tickets; if you renew by Jan. 30 you earn 1. Click here to bring up the membership form. Print it out; fill it out; mail it to Devorah along with your check.
HELPING HANDS ARE BUSY HANDS: Thank you to everyone for helping clean up! Lola presided over the kitchen sink. Jen doled out extra shrimp, tofu and chicken to all who wished for “doggie bags.” Tony and Ens folded table cloths. Pat twirled up the tinsel. When everyone pitched in, t’was fun and fast.
MUD MONTH TEMPTATIONS: To dazzle your dreams, forthwith enticing photos of temptations from the previous summer. Check Dahliaaddict.com for the availability of the ones who speak loudest to you.
DAHLIA DELL DOINGS: Moaning in grief, Lou dug disgusting tuber clump after crappy clump. The spotted snake centipedes had gnawed them rotten. Sue watched as some of her beautiful clumps disintegrated when she washed them; the crowns similarly chomped away. So disheartening. Pat twisted tin foil over her exposed stalks, making hers a very festive patch. Deborah and Peter took 18 late season cuttings before the latest storm, including Bloomquist Candy Corn; Belle of the Ball, Pennhill Dark Monarch, and Hollyhill Show Time. They bask under lights in her unheated greenhouse, resolving to put down roots by New Years. (If you’d like some hands-on experience with taking late season cuttings, come by on a Saturday morning 9:30-11.) Once all her 70+ dahlia cages were lifted, Sue eradicated errant weeds and dusted all three tiers with coffee grounds. Her section wins the prize for Best Smelling. And what’s that blazing purple 20’ above Sue’s aromatic realm? Tree dahlias blooming away! (BTW, Joel, the park superintendent in charge of the Dell area, loves tree dahlias. If anyone has a few canes of double white or double lavender, he would greatly appreciate them. Let Deborah know.) Amazingly, despite the battery of repeated storms, Deborah’s kingdom still yields some fine flowers. Check out her odd Jessicas; they are almost completely yellow. In one of her early experiments, Dr. Virginia Walbot proved that Jessica’s red tips are predicated by very early morning exposure to sun. So our gloom has produced bright yellow Jessicas, a few with a hint of wan orange finger nails. Badger Twinkle, Hollyhill Showtime and Bloomquist Jeff continue to amaze passersby.
WEEDING SPREE: Volunteers will descend our Dell on Saturday. January 11, to search out and destroy ALL WEEDS. We welcome your participation and help wrangling these enthusiastic do-gooders. Eliminating unwanted encroachers now prevents hundreds of unwanted progeny luxuriating in the sun after the rains. Thank you to Erik for organizing this project.
JUST JANUARY? Patch preparation is everything right now. Get your tubers out or cover them with big buckets to slake some of the rain off.
In what do you store your dahlia tubers? I use vermiculite; Sue uses sand. Lou has tried shredded newspaper, peat moss, guinea pig shavings and returned to vermiculite. Others actually wrap each individual tuber in Saran Wrap. (I tried this one year and EVERY SINGLE ONE rotted.) There are several YouTube videos about this process. Check them out. Store in a cool BUT NOT COLD spot. Garages or under houses are favorite stashing spots.
Plant a cover crop. Anything from the pea family nitroginates; i.e. nabs carbon from the air and deposits it in the soil at the roots. Decorative wild flowers could cover your smudge of mud and dance in spring breezes. All these things can be turned under 3 weeks before re-planting your 2020 dahlias. Scoop up leaves and bury now.
Check your stash for A, AA, and B sized dahlias. Do you have a couple to spare for our cutting crew? Because Lou, Devi and Pat have had issues with their clumps this year, we NEED good cultivars to put on the cutting bench. Contact Lou or Pat if you have contributions. Remember, this is the team that produces the magnificent jungle of dahlia plants at our April Tuber Sale. This year they NEED your help.
Cruise through the commercial dahlia catalogs. Succumb to the enticement to buy a few. How wonderful to experience the anticipation of seeing a NEW flower in your garden this summer.
Let’s make 2020 our best, most beautiful year yet!
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Baker, Dewitt, Dietz, Gavrilenko, , Leconti, Showcase
Membership Mistress and Layout Genius: Devorah Joseph
San Mail Marvel: Pat Hunter
Chilies Rellenos Casserole
1 cup half & half
1/3 cup flour
2 large cans green chilies – whole!
1/2 lb grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 lb grated jack cheese
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce
Split chilies, rinse with water to rinse out seeds.
Drain on paper towel.
Beat eggs, blend in flour and stir in half & half.
Mix cheeses, reserve 1/2 cup for top.
Make alternate layers of chilies, cheese and egg mix
in a buttered casserole dish.
Pour tomato sauce over top and sprinkle with reserved
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour