To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: January 2022 Newsletter
Happy New Year Dahlianeers!
DSC HOLIDAY PARTY AND ELECTION
Thanks to Sarah for these memories of our party. Unfortunately the only photo taken was the medal. If anyone else took pictures, please send them to Deborah email@example.com so they can be used in our February newsletter.
Ballots were passed out to the 16 members present. Tinnee explained the position of 2nd Vice President (Program Chair) which is still open. Jenna agreed to become a board member. The vote was unanimous for the slate of nominees. (Once again, no one has shared the roster with me so I will try to include it in February’s newsletter.)
Tinnee reviewed the excellent teamwork and achievements of the SF Dahlia Society during the past several years. She highlighted the exceptional hard work of some of the stars of the Society and presented them with special medals (replicas of the Dahlia Society’s old medals recreated in China): Deborah Dietz for over three decades of writing and teaching; Erik Gaensler (“The Father of the Dahlia Dell”); Lou Paradise for his masterful blending of art and science; Patricia Hunter for “picking up all the pieces of what needs to be done; Devorah for curating our photo collection, membership wrangling, and maintaining the website; and Tony for all his good hearted help.
Slide Presentation and Holiday Gift Exchange
Erik created a slideshow of holiday parties of yesteryear. Members drew numbers and selected gifts off the gift table. (Wine, cider, bulbs, books, candy, dahlia pillow cases, magnets…)
More slides: Dahlias!
Erik shared beautiful slides of all the varieties of dahlias and some historical photos of the Society and the Dell. Erik reviewed the scope of the year’s events and hopes that there will be picnics and social events in the coming year.
WOLFE CREEK NUPTUALS
Kevin has exhumed all his clumps and laid plastic sheeting down to subdue weed generation.
At first he thought he’d leave most in, but decided we were having an exceedingly rainy winter and opted for the more difficult but safer plan. Now Kevin is trying to talk his bride into the joys of sifting rocks and junk out of his tired tiered dirt. Good luck. The chairman of Wolfe Lane brought his new wife, Linda, to the Dell to share their wonderful news! Congratulations!
MUD MONTH BEAUTIFICATION AND EDIFICATION
Here is tranche of glorious dahlias from the 2021 season. Look for them on thedahliaaddict.com.
HOW DID YOUR GARDEN GROW?
Larry and Ted love to plant AA, A and B sized dahlias all around the entrance to their Santa Barbara yard. Lions frolic in their blooms. Their strolling neighbors love it! Ted reports, “One day I took a bouquet into my daughter’s restaurant. All the patrons stood up and gave our dahlias a standing ovation. “ The reason is obvious! Thanks for these wonderful pix during our mud months. Phil and Marilyn report that their double white dahlia tree has become a monster. Let them know if you’d like a piece to grow in your garden. Beware: they warned you it might take over….. Check out Maggie’s cutting which she grew under the lights on her kitchen counter. This cutting is so successful that Maggie is going to take a cutting from it. She will cut right above the bottom most set of leaves and root the top part. Well done, Maggie!
THE LOVELIEST CHRISTMAS GIFT
Look what Tara’s son painted for her Christmas present. Zeke captured the essence of Chimacum Katie. Wow! Well done.
SF PARKS ALLIANCE ON LINE TOWN MEETING December 8, 2021
(Thank you to Sarah for taking these notes during the Zoom experience.)
The SF Parks Alliance hosted a meeting to review the plans for the new Dahlia Dell hillside
design. Sara Ferree led the meeting.
Erik Gaensler spoke of the history of the Dell and the Dahlia Society and introduced landscape
architect Jeffery Miller of Miller Company Landscape Architects. Jeffrey shared the design, a
horseshoe shape, not unlike an orchestra diagram. His design takes into account maximizing
park-goers enjoying the full impact of the flowers. (He designed a photo op stop deep into the garden sort of where a conductor would stand.)
Participants discussed the soil, rodents, accessibility, stability, security, and water needs. The
goal would be to have the garden constructed next winter to be ready for planting in spring of
Also present was Susan Sun of the SF Recreation and Parks Partnership Office.
Public comments focused on denying car access for the gardeners of the Dell and the public
who cannot walk or bike into the garden area.
(Editor’s comment: the SF Rec representative informed us of special reserved parking places, a fancy wagon, and a storage shed that none of us knew about. She did NOT follow up with details on how we might avail ourselves of these, but she was assiduous about getting these “facts” into the record. They would not address vehicle permits for the 6 seconds to cross JFK.)
DAHLIA DIVIDING UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Paula from Garden Bee Flower Farm designed this excellent photo essay about how to divide dahlias. She has kindly allowed us to include it in our newsletter. If you have questions or want to thank her: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOLDEN GATE PARK CLOSURE LAWSUIT
Thanks to Karen for submitting this information. In mid-December six plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Rec and Park general manager Philip A. Ginsburg and the Recreation and Parks Commission for violating state and local laws in shutting down the Great Highway, John F. Kennedy Drive, and Martin Luther King Drive to their disfavored members of the public. We wish them luck!!! email@example.com
How lovely to have so many fine visits at the Dell in December. Frank and Peter brought their hound Samantha to see how we were chopping down clumps. They happened upon our tuber sale pre-Covid and bought a dozen. The hundreds of blooms delighted them all summer long, so they finally attended a DSC meeting and learned exhumation from the Master Lou himself. Soc, who just before Covid, broke almost all the bones in his body, walked the WHOLE WAY from his parked car to the Dell. They said he’d never get out of bed, but look at what determination and work work work did for him! Did Mitzu stun the Dell volunteers! She brought T-shirts with John’s photos and her clever quips. Deborah and Sarah immediately donned their new duds. So very generous of Mitzu! John Evra says he has 7 or 8 T shirts left in large and XL for $25. firstname.lastname@example.org As Sarah and Deborah prepared some late season cuttings a HUGE coyote moseyed across Pompeii, climbed up the Hillside and right before our eyes disappeared. He lay down in the grass and blended in so well that even though our eyes watched it the whole time, the beast just evaporated. This big bruiser oversaw us for about two hours. Check this picture out. Can you spot our supervisor? Blow it up and look beyond the sign. What an experience.
DAZZLING DAHLIA BEAUTIES
Here is our second panoply of stunners from 2021. Clear view Emma, Clearview Lila, Crankshaft Cecily and Crazy Mary.
First: Check on your tubers. If you have divided them, probe your storage boxes. Do you spot any shriveled? Maybe give them a wee spritz. Any rotten? Throw them out and the medium that surrounded them. Some sprouted? Quick, pop them into milk cartons with soil and put in a sunny spot or under lights. Put the remaining ones in a cooler location so they won’t germinate so soon.
Did you leave some in the ground? Check to see that no water can get down into the crown either with plastic bags or aluminum foil or just big pots over the tops. If there are some areas of your plot that retain more water than others, consider digging up the clumps in the soggy area. You’d hate to loose those tubers to sitting rot. Otherwise, consider sowing a cover crop like fava beans, hairy vetch or just glorious wild flowers. At home I’ve strewn poppy, foxglove and scabiosa seeds.
Feed your garden. Add leaves, chicken manure, kitchen scraps, and worm casings. Fill the larder so your 2022 dahlias can gorge their way to magnificence this coming summer.
LATE SEASON CUTTINGS: I have been spritzing my cuttings at least once a day in my little backyard greenhouse. I make a jar of pesticide (spinosad or Captain Jack), fungicide (Eagle) and liquid fertilizer and add water. Then I fill my quart sprayer with water and add 10 drops of my already dilute greenhouse cocktail to the quart. So this super dilute mixture coddles the wee roots as they develop leaving them hunky dory. When the new plants come out of the green house their leaves will be plump and shiny—almost plastic! Like Maggie, I am just beginning to make some cuttings from the cuttings I made in November.
Pour through the catalogs and let yourself be tempted. Be sure to request early shipping because we live in such a temperate area.
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Bergman, Capps, Cornett, Davis, Dietz, Donohue, Garden Bee Farm, Garden of Eden Dahlias, L Flaxa, Kelly, Ollieu, Parcell, Parshall, Pentilla, Quinn, Ronen, Smith, Von Allmen-Banlig, Warden
Snailmail Mistress: Patricia