To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: July 2013 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: July 9 @ 7:30 @ 9th and Lincoln12Program: Kristine Albrecht, award winning dahlinista, will show and share her secrets to growing honors dahlias totally “greenly.” Who will bring goodies to share?
MANI’S HYDROPONIC DAHLIAS:
What a fabulous mixed media presentation John Mani gave us! First he showed us how he builds his5 gallon buckets for growing in the hot Novato climate. He mixes vermiculite, perlite, and peat moss as his growing medium in a bandana of weed cloth suspended below the bucket within a bucket. After discovering the disastrous consequences of how warm the thin plastic can get in blistering sun, John wrapped his containers in insulation and covered them with black garbage bags. We were especially fascinated by his invention of a black cork and red button on a wire to signify the water levels in the unfathomable bottom of his pot. In genius. He fabricated a snap ring from the pot lid to secure the weed cloth around the dahlia. Through 8 months of trial and error, John built 90 grow pots at approximately$30 a pot. And what fabulous results he got! So fabulous that he brought three 4’ tall blooming dahlias to give away. John walked us through each step via powerpoint and with show and tell examples on the head table. He also explained how he achieved the right tension on his overhead shade cloth using specific grommets. After answering many questions, John delighted us all with a raffle for over 100 gardening items, including greenhouse heaters, sophisticated timers, lots of different fertilizers, misters, pots, and carrying devices. Wow! His “banquet” felt better than Christmas! John’s brilliance and generosity proved a potent combination.
GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS
Devorah and Deborah brought the last cuttings of the year for sale. Tinnee shared gloriously redolent herbs like rosemary, catnip and shizo, a Japanese specialty. How we plundered the box of Meyer lemons that the Dingwalls brought. John Dale donated several geranium plants as well as a delicious loaf. Gino served cookies. Donna arrived early to set up a coffee service—hot caffine, yes! In addition to bringing bananas and other fruit, Baker Bill stayed to help tidy up the kitchen. Thank you all for making our community yummier and tidier.
IMPROMPTU DAHLIA SALE At the last minute, DSC joined begonia, geranium, epiphyte, and bromeliad societies to mount a combined plant sale. Basically we tried to replicate our April Tuber sale only with no tubers and 2 tables instead of 106 tables. Fortunately, Devorah donated remaining greenhouse cuttings and the sine qua non photo library with frames. Pat and Deborah ferried in her milk-cartooned plants. Sue judiciously decided to feature a few great plants with pix rather than overwhelming our shoppers with too many milk cartons. “Dazzle them with pictures, then sell them what they want.” Tony went to the galleria, which thronged with catci and succulents as far as the eye could see, and entertained those waiting in line for the lone cashier to come visit the dahlia room. John set up a sandwich board with dahlia pictures and a big black arrow pointing to our 2 beladen tables. Susan and Paula dispensed master gardening advice. Given that we did no publicity except in our newsletter and on our website, we decided that we could achieve even better $ucce$$next year.
YOU BE THE JUDGE
DSC will host a judging seminar July 20, somewhere in Golden Gate Park for participants from allover California from 9 to 3 PM. Lou Paradise and John Morton will lead us in better understanding the dahlia aesthetic. Who should/could attend? Anyone interested in growing or showing or buying better dahlias. Learning how to distinguish an outstanding dahlia from a satisfactory one really helps in determining what to continue growing in your garden and what to jettison. We need more astute judges! Take this opportunity to brush up on the ADS Classification of form, color, and distinction. Sign up a tour July meeting or call Deborah 415- 816-2118 or email@example.com to get on the list so we knowhow many lunches to order.
ADS Bulletin editor for twenty years, Norm Hines, left us a legacy of on-time Bulletin quarterlies. Norm engaged his extended family: his son printed our house organ; relatives helped stuff them in envelopes and into bags of kindred zip codes; whilst Norm strived to be inclusive of dahlia writers of all ilks. After being mowed down by a car in the Chicago baggage area, Norm’s leg was amputated and he spent the winter alternately working hard in rehab or fighting infections in the hospital. Valiantly his family has pledged to get out the Fall Bulletin and possibly the Winter one.
SHOW AND PARTY SCHEDULE FOR 2013
DSC Judging Seminar July 20th, 9:00 – 3:00 Golden Gate Park (room TBD)
San Leandro Dahlia Society August 3rd & 4th Main Library, Karp Room300 Estudillo Avenue, San Leandro
Dahlia Society of California August 17th & 18th County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park9th and Lincoln Avenues, San Francisco
Monterey Bay Dahlia Society Aug 31st & Sept. 1st Soquel High School401 Old San Jose Road, Soquel
National Dahlia Show Aug 31st & Sept. 1st Grand Rapids, Michagan
John Stowell Dahlia Society September 7th and 8th Vallco Shopping Mall10123 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino
Dahlia Society of California Picnic September 21st Golden Gate Park Dahlia Dell
BEST LAID PLANS
Here is a little story related by Bob Papp, Pres. of the South Coast Dahlia Society in LA.: 2013, another year to ask the same question again, “What did we learn from 2012?” Just when you think you’ve got it dialed in, the Great Kabuchy throws another curve ball! I’ll start this story with digging at the South Coast Botanical Gardens in Pacific Palisades on the California Coast. Our normal game plan was: leave the tubers in as long as possible; then take them out when they start to sprout and divide them. K.I.S.S.! (Keep It Simple, Stupid.) Let’s back up three years ago. Bob Miller and Ed Wiemer decided to plant Ranunculus in the beds during the down time. That became a big hit for flower looky lookers. Problem was when it was time to plant the Dahlias the Ranunculus were still blooming. So the Botanic Garden took over the planting. They decided to plant in January this year. So we started to dig in December. We wanted to store all our clumps in the greenhouse on the grounds. It just so happens the Botanic Garden was having a rat problem then. So I decided to try four clumps just to see how bad the problem was. They became lunch fast. No problem. I thought, “We will add a little rat Poison to their salad.” We had this same problem four years ago and the poison got rid of the rats fast. But this year we were informed, “THERE WILL BE NO Poison USED IN THE GARDEN. ”So next we tried traps. We used peanut butter for bait. Empty every time. Now I went to Google and YouTube for help. There was a ton of things to get rid of rats organically. I tried the coolest one first. It was a five gallon bucket half full of water with a string stretched across the top with a can in the middle of the string. You put peanut butter on the can and when the rat walked out to get the bait the can turns and the rat goes swimming. I called this “The Titanic” because how long could rats tread water? I was excited to check the next day to see how many were in the bucket. How many of you guessed none? Not only were there no rats but there was no peanut butter left on the can. So now the Botanical Garden wants all the tubers out of the beds to get the Ranunculus planted. We dig all the clumps and put them in the heating beds over potting soil in the greenhouse. So back to Google. There is a thing called quick patch. It looks like a white powder used to patch holes in walls. You mix this with oats and when the rats eat the mixture they(the political right term is displace). I wait a week. I can’t stand the suspense. I go back to see how many rats have been displaced. How many of you guessed none? Not only no dead rats but all the clumps were broken and thrown all over the place. All the containers with the deadly mixture were empty. The only thing I can think of is that someone has a key to the green house and they are messing with me. A volunteer, named Larry, walking past the green house sees me scratching my head. He says to me, “Bob, come out here and sit down, you will not believe the story I’m about to tell you. I get here every morning at five AM when the garden opens. I noticed you have the light on in the greenhouse since you dug the dahlias. I usually walk over just to take a look. It really got interesting when you put that five gallon bucket in there. One morning I saw two squirrels sitting on top of the bucket. One squirrel was holding a can while the other licked something off it. A few days later the bucket was gone but there was a big opossum eating white powder out of small pans. A week later there were three raccoons throwing the dahlia clumps all over the place and digging holes in the soil.” So I laughed with him and really gave “the rat problem” some heavy thinking. It finally came to me like a smack on the back of my head, which usually was the start of a training lesson from my Dad, who was a butcher by trade. I tried feeding our cat once, and after my eyes became uncrossed, he told me never to feed the cat. “If you feed the cat, the cat will not hunt the mice.” So I went to Larry, who feeds the “Feral Cats” at the Botanic Garden. I asked him if he would please put the cats on a diet for a couple of weeks. He said he had the perfect cat, “The Nabor Kiddy.” Now this is one of the ugliest cats you ever saw. It has only one eye and a broken tail. Remember, this is December, one of our coldest months. So I thought I would hedge my bet just a little. I made a bed in the middle of the tubers with a wadded up old towel. Now all you Chalk Betters on the rats, PAYUP! Now who is going to evict the fat Nabor Kiddy???
Aren’t dahlia blooms gorgeous! So much fun seeing new dahlias bloom for the first time. What a lovely bit of gentle rain followed by hot weather! It felt like the dahlias in the Dell almost doubled in that week, they thrived so well. Time to pinch out the last, late centers. I wait until I see the first bud: I look for the accompanying leaf pair, tuck them over my main bud’s “ears” so to speak, and pinch out below where the leaf pair is attached. Lilly came by the Dell last Saturday and practiced pinching out several as well as honing her disbudding skills. Keep disbudding. There’s a meditation to the ministration of disbudding. My heart slows down; I grow calmer, quieter, happier. Thanks to Renee and Dick who disbudded and managed the hydration plan. It’s great to have company and help on Saturday mornings. Start checking for dahlias that just aren’t up to snuff. The plant is smaller, scrounchy, unhappy, virused, or all the supposedly fully double blooms show their centers immediately. Throw these away; do not compost. Replace with some of your 10-20% “insurance” dahlias. Don’t let crummy dahlias grow in your garden. Do you get breezes that gust rather than tickle? If so, time to start tying up your plants. Lou, Pat and I bind up individual plants; Corralitos, Bob Papp and John Morton corral theirs by surrounding a whole bed with strings at strategic levels. Bob adds at least two levels of hortanova to help secure the plants as they thrust their ways upward. Continue your cocktail spray at least once a month: insecticide, fungicide, water soluble fertilizer and a bit of liquid dishwashing soap (not detergent) to use as surfactant, helping your solution stick better to your leaves. Green solutions include Serenade, Captain Jack’s, spinosid, and Neem oil. Less green are Ortho antifungal, malethion and Hoist. Frank shared an anti-aphid gourmet recipie: mince garlic, olive oil and steep 4 days; filter; mix one teaspoon of this per pint of water; he suggests you add a few drops of dishwashing soap and hot! chili peppers. Surprise those aphids! Clear out any bottom leaves which touch the ground. Lou has really stripped the lower one third of his plants in the Dell. This keeps the air moving and thwarts bugs and bacteria. Remove deadheads by the stem, not by the spent blossom. Bees hide out inside the petals causing a nasty sting if you inadvertently squeeze them when you are removing the old flower.
Yours in Dirt,
Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA – Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Page layout: Mike Willmarth
Photo credits: Dietz, Joseph, Mani, Papp
Originally OrganizedIn 1917 In San Francisco the Dahlia was adoptedas the Official Flower of San Francisco on October 4, 1926by its Board of Supervisors