TO SEE THE FULL NEWSLETTER WITH PICTURES CLICK HERE: July 2019 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: July 9, at 7PM. Who will contribute tasty treats to hungry dahianeers?
WHY BUTTERFLIES? Frank delivered a “book report” about monarch butterflies. Over 90% of our pollinators, including butterflies are gone. Frank told about their amazing 2000 mile migrations where one butterfly can leave a spot in California, travel miles and miles and only the third or fourth generation returns to it’s exact home spot. John D described his grandfather’s “fence rows,” miles of wild flower strips just to lure and nurture pollinators along side his regular crops. “What can we do to encourage butterflies?” Frank asked. He urged us to plant milkweed seeds and distributed both envelopes of seeds and instructions on seed germination. Frank described “bee condos” in Lake Merrit Park in Oakland for solitary bees. Annie’s Annuals offers 9 types of Milkweed seed. Frank exhorts us all to be on the lookout for good speakers and to let him know.
ROAD TRIP TIPS: Frank recommend Blooms and Bees in Santa Rosa. Amongst other attractions Blooms and Bees has a massive lavender labyrinth to puzzle through. Maria recommended Cottage Gardens in Petaluma. Diane suggested the Luther Burbank Gardens which are not only lovely gardens but also a museum dedicated to the famous botanist who lived there. CalFlora in Petaluma specializes in endemic plants. Aztec Dahlias, off Washington in Petaluma, features 2 acres of dahlias. Maggie reported that she grows in 5-gallon above-ground pots, liberally sprayed with Amazon’s green “dahlia food.” Tinnee touted Kellog’s organic Fertilizer with mycorrhizae. Christine used Sloat’s organic potting soil for her cuttings. Annie’s Annuals in Richmond is a treat for the senses.
GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS: Ron brought another huge bag full of his organic Meyer lemons. Who brought the pineapple bits? So healthy. Thank you also to the bringers of raisin and Oreo cookies. Deborah brought in a dozen cuttings including Carmen Bunky, Gitts Crazy and Badger Twinkle. Christine brought in 3 flats of gorgeous cuttings including Franz Kafka, Rocky, Alana Obscure Clair, AC Abby, and Kari Fruit Salad. So fun!
SAVING FACE? What is going on? Three of our cohorts displayed facial displacement. After major divots of cancer were dug out, Ron received remarkable skin patches. Pat seered her face with an RX light treatment. And Tony had a fight with cement stairs. Egads! Beware DCSers! Smear your sunscreen on thickly and watch your step!
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? Not only does our Bob Papp grow several rows of dahlias at the Veteran’s Administration in Long Beach, but every Wednesday he leads some sort of hands-on cultivation-related activity for vets. For example, Bob builds special hay bale “raised” beds for his wheelchair helpers to plant in.
PEDAGOGE NICK: In May, our Nick planted a dahlia garden with the kindergarten class at George Washington Elementary School in Daly City . Nick’s Marin Country Day School teacher, Elizabeth Long, had started after seeing the Dahlia Dell years back, building the planter boxes with a grant from Home Depot. Liz had moved to Daly City Schools a few years back, and has been getting extra tubers and plants for several years from Nicholas. This spring Liz was out on maternity leave, and Nicholas offered to take over, filing paperwork to volunteer with the Daly city schools. Nick has been able to practice his Spanish while teaching gardening, as that is the native language of most of the students. He plans to coordinate with the PTA and maintenance staff to keep the disbudding and deadheading over the summer, so the garden is at is peak when the students come back in late August. Muy Bueno, Nico!
YOU BE THE JUDGE: Monterey Bay Dahlia Society invites you to attend their judging school, Saturday, July 20 in Santa Cruz from 9am to 3PM. Why go? 1. What a great opportunity to learn from our leaders: Lou, Kevin, Ken, Kristine and John Morton. The more you learn about dahlias, the better you will be able to grow them. 2. We NEED more trained judges. Judging a show takes time. The more judges we have the shorter the time because we can have more judging teams. 3. Check out the first of the dahlia crop this year. Monterey will have glorious blooms on hand to illustrate points. They will have new seedlings available to practice “bench” judging. 4. Hobnob with bloomerati. Get to know more dahlia growers and showers in a fun and personal setting. 5. Your benevolent DSC will pay for your education; you may attend FREE. Please follow the link and rsvp:
County Fair July 17 and July 24
San Louis Obispo
DSC Annual Show, August 17-18
DSC Flowers of the Year Bloomquist Candy Corn and LoBlush
Picnic Sept. 7, noon to 5
San Leandro September 7-8
San Leandro Library 114th and Estudillo
Flowers of the Year Bloomquist Butch and Annie Joy
Show: Aug 24-25
Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St. Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Saturday July 20 9am-3PM
BOUQUETS TO ART: Mina and Deborah returned to the De Young Museum for their annual flower event. Over a hundred floral designers chose a specific piece of art, painting, or sculpture to use as inspiration for a “bouquet.” Some of their creations were over 10’ tall! In the bathroom we spied Karma Choc; note the Pride eyelashes!
SWELL DAHLIA DELL: It’s so much fun when all the Dellians happen to show up to volunteer at the same time. Deborah, Lou and Pat are fighting with a wily vole. Instead of water flowing down a row, water disappears down a hole and oozes out who knows where…… Grrrrrr. Voles don’t eat dahlia roots or stalks but their tunnels can expose roots to air, thus killing or maiming dahlia plants. Tinnee sunk the last of her dahlias in cages. Check out Sue’s gay peony, Contrast. Pat zen- raked her section, truly a sight for meditation. Lou scrambled on his knees pulling off the lower foliage on all his plants. This lets in more air and light and thwarts insects and mildew. Christine weeded Deborah’s area to perfection, including a whole Saturday devoted to the “petting zoo,” that vulnerable area along the fence where the public can’t control their hands. Barry and Marcia breezed over from the East Bay to catch Bouquets to Arts and stroll the Dell. Marcia had to help with a little disbudding.
JUST JUMPIN’ UP JULY! Dahlias! Dahlias! Dahlias! blooming everywhere! The 90 degree onslaught in early June really kick-started our plants when it wasn’t turning cuttings into ashes. The Dell is bursting with color. Some of my first fowers are Bloomquist Candy Corn, Bloomquist Danielle, BJ’s Rival and a stunning Sandia Brocade. Disbudding and Deadheading demand almost daily accounting. Remember when you deadhead, cut down to NEW GROWTH. If you don’t, your dahlia will have nowhere to grow and will stop, turn brown and go dormant by September. Aim for blooms for the Thanksgiving table. You can do it! Cut assiduously down to NEW GROWTH. If you are unsure where this is, come by the Dell on a Saturday morning and practice with me J.
HAPPY HOUR: At glomming, I spray my bushes with a cocktail: liquid fertilizer, liquid spinosad, liquid dishwashing soap, Stylet Oil, and a pinch of calcium nitrate. Err on the dilute side. I spray just as the sun leaves my patch and twilight settles. This saves my leaves from burning and gives them a whole night to absorb the essential elixir. DO NOT spray in the morning. Water in the morning and spray in the evening. I spray at least every two weeks. If you have only a few dahlias, keep a spritzer bottle of DILUTE cocktail on hand and give a friendly spritz whenever you walk by.
Check your labels against the ADS Classification Book description. Make sure you are growing what you think you planted. ROGUE: throw out anything that’s merely limping along, anything that looks wonky and sick. DO NOT COMPOST; trash!
SHOW CONTAINERS: Scrounge through garage sales and thrift stores for suitable containers. HEAVY AND SHALLOW are your watchwords. Dahlias can be very top heavy, so you want the heaviest containers to counterbalance and prevent toppling over. ADS rules demand that we show our beauties with the first leaf pair. Some specimens have very short stems, thus the need for shallow containers. I use aquarium cement to attach my pinfrogs. Yes, they are permanent that way. Glue them TODAY. Do NOT wait until a couple days before our competition or they might just come undone and cause a domino-like chain reaction to bring down a whole lot of other people’s exhibits. GLUE NOW. Prevent show disasters! Mark them with your NAME, as DJ always exhorted. Sometimes in the frenzy of breakdown, some containers get left behind. Make sure yours are labeled.
Sign up for and attend our annual judging seminar; you’ll learn a lot and meet some wonderful people.
Please send pix of your dahlias in your gardens, dahlias you’ve spotted in fun places, and ideas about things you’d like to read about in your newsletter.
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Dietz, Gaensler, Hart, Papp