To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: June 2019 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: June 11 at 7 PM. Program: Deborah will conduct a hands-on session at the Dell at 6:00PM to practice disbudding, pinching out and deadheading.
DAHLIAS 101 ONCE MORE:
Because we had to move our meeting date and place, Erik responded to the call with lower tech, but well-working portable screen and slide carousels and stand-alone accordion show ‘n tell screen. No matter how many times he gives this wonderful overview of all things dahlia, we each glean new nuggets of dahlia lore. David exclaimed, “You mean we should cut the blooms—deadhead? No wonder my dahlias always died by the first of September.” Seeing so many members of yore whom we have lost was also a bittersweet pleasure.
GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS:
Knowing that we might have more visitors than normal, DCSers really came through with goodies. Sanziana lugged in a huge cooler full of soft drinks and WINE. MMM. Made for a more appreciative audience, surely. Cathy—all the way from Kenwood—donated cookies. Erik contributed yummy meatballs. Who served up those exquisite cherries? MMMM! Tony brought a few last milk cartooned tubers. Raquel relinquished her 2 extra Café au Lait tubers. Christine wowed us all with several trays of gorgeous cuttings from her greenhouse including Lakeview Glow, AC Abby and Tutti Frutti. Christine also brought a clump for dividing demonstration but before it could perform its educational function, it got bought up, too. Tinnee, Devi, and Pat brought 6 trays of luscious late sprouters from the Greenhouse. Pat and Devi matched photos to lure buyers with empty holes at home. (Even though I have 200 cuttings at home I still bought a too desirable Irish Glow, pom red. Just couldn’t help myself.) Kien also succumbed to the siren song of lovely pix by buying too many; his public garden plot is already over flowing. David purchased a bunch to plant with kindergarteners at their school on Potrero. Pat took her leftover oreos to the men who sit on benches by the Dell. Surely they sang louder as a result?
THE ETERNAL DELL:
As Erik pointed out in his talk, the Dahlia Dell in Golden Gate Park has existed since at least 1917. John P found these wonderful photos from those early beginnings when the site was reclaimed from ancient sand dunes. Check out http://opensfhistory.org/Display/wnp37.00191.jpg for more of these great old pix.
MONTEREY BAY OPEN GREENHOUSES:
June 8 Saturday. Tour Monterey Bay Greenhouses, Cal Pajarosa, Suncrest Nurseries, Kitayama Brothers, Succulent Garden, Four Winds Growers. FREE (831) 818-1193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Between 10am – 4pm Take this great opportunity to see the inner workings of major commercial growers and get special prices on their marvelous plants.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
MIKE DIETZ moved so he lost his 30-year old prime dahlia beds. But as soon as the freezing weather subsided in Boise, he built 4 raised boxes and ordered a truck full of potting soil. His family helped move all that dirt from his driveway to where it belongs in his back yard. Go Mike.
BOB SCHROEDER up in Washington prepared his beds for planting by floating at 18” hortanova across each bed; he’ll add another layer at 36” when the time comes. This way his dahlias grow up well supported and don’t require tying up.
PAULA JAFFE in Tiburon already enjoys Maks Red Ruby blooming. For her more recalcitrant tubers, she plants them in black pots with plenty of holes, sinks them in the ground, covers them with black hats, and has her copper “crowns” awaiting the eventual emergence of shoots. Paula re-built two triangular raised beds and filled them with luscious composted soil. Already her plants are thriving including beautifully tinged Clear View Butterscotch. Check out the art atop her greenhouse where she cossets cuttings and warms up late tubers.
MIKE SCHELP still grows dahlias in his back yard after giving up his commercial florist supply. Check out his drip system in his raised beds. He appreciates not having to bend over clear to the ground to groom his beauties. “These are the sprinklers I use. Never clog!! And I can see if they are working. only 4 1/2″ long and cost 14 cents apiece. Made by Primerus Products. The are called spot spitters. Take a look at their website and watch their video.”
OREGON Anticipating weeks of triple digit heat, shade covers are already flown. Look at the results from last season. When DJ lived in San Mateo he always shaded his dahlias as did Serge in Novato.
In Tustin, Jon Dietz reports that Bob Papp delivered more than 3 dozen milk cartons full of dahlias and 22 potted dahlias. They added these beauties to the collection in Jon’s geodesic dome under the hanging sphere of Damocles.
MONET CULTIVATED DAHLIAS! At the DeYoung, Mina learned that Monet moved into his home in Giverny in 1887 and discovered a little puddle with waterlilys. He convinced the city to redirect a portion of the river through his yard to create a pond. Eight gardeners tended to his magnificent floral collection, including dahlias. As Monet grew older and his eyesight failed, he painted almost exclusively in his own back yard.
FIRST BLOOMS: So exciting to see our first blooms. Chad’s Eden Patricia (named for OUR Pat Hunter) opened spectacularly. Lou’s first Hapet Perfect, opened center awfully quick, but that’s typical for early achievers. Paula’s Maks Red Ruby defied the deluge. Pat’s lovely KA’s Champagne are still unfurling. Deborah’s first Elvira dazzles in magenta pink. What was your first bloom this year?
JUNE JOY: By now you should at least have buds if not glorious blooms! Time to start disbudding, removing the two buds adjacent to the main bud. This channels all the energy into one magnificent dahlias rather than three so so spindlier ones. Your stem will be longer and stronger; your bloom will be bigger and bolder. Yes! You may also need to dead head, that is, cut the spent bloom. Always cut down to new growth. This is below the leaf pair that accompanied your lovely flower. Timely cutting of these releases a hormone that says, “produce more flowers.” Your dahlia’s mission is to make seeds and pass on its genetic contribution; when you cut off it’s head, its chance for making seeds disappears. Judicious deadheading can result in wonderful dahlias through Thanksgiving or the first major frost. If you have any questions about pinching out, disbudding or deadheading, come by the Dell before our next meeting or on a Saturday morning where our Dellions can show you with hands-on practice. YouTube has great videos showing all these grooming tasks.
COCKTAIL TIME: I sprayed my first combination of foliar feeding (Tiger Bloom grow formula), dishwashing soap (not detergent), and Spinosad (Captain Jack’s Deadbug.) Chad likes to add a tablespoon of vinegar to his concoction. Later in the season I will add some Stylet Oil to thwart mildew. Remember: spray after the sun has gone down so you don’t burn leaves. Err on the dilute side of everything. And spray AFTER things are well watered in the morning.
Yours in dirt,
Photo Credits: Baker, Buyers, Dietz, Jen, Kennedy, Schelp, Schroeder
Web Guru and membership mistress: Devorah Joseph
Snail Mail Saint: Pat Hunter