Dahlia Society of California
                                                    November, 2003


Next Meeting:   Tuesday,  November 11, 2003 @ 8 pm @ 9th & Lincoln.  Program:  Lou P. reprises his outstanding lessons on disinterring & dividing tuber clumps.  If you’d like hands-on experience, bring a cutting board, SHARP knife, & (if possible) a tuber mass you don’t care about - i.e.- you were going to throw that plant away anyway.  Who will bring munchies???

LAST HURRAH! Fortunately for the 27 attendees, our 4 competitors brought some wonderful blooms for so late in the season, challenging Jytte & DJ’s shrewd judging skills.  Barbara introduced us to yet more new blooms.  Her Mingus Kay Lynn took B & her Taratahi Ruby aced WL.  Her Blackberry Ripple debuted variegatedly.  When DJ’s Mi Wong out-shone the other Mi Wong, he graciously conceded that he’d gotten the stock from the defeated benefactress. 

DJ’s Moonfire took best S &, following in past triumphs, his Sean C AGAIN triumphed in Collarettes.   We were treated to a sighting of his rare Sandia Shomei, a lavender lovely WL with dark straight stems.  Hoping to fill out the show table, Deborah won some lonely categories:  Glenbank Twinkle, Kenora Fireball, Mingus Gary, Rembrandt, Honka, Powder Gull (still a stupid excuse for a trashy peony), Ginny Ann, Caproz Jewel of Arlene (spectacularly fimbriation even in SF’s foggy climes), x3 Show ‘n Tells (wow!) & x5 Mingus Tonis.  Her new second year seedling, looking like a schizophrenic FD/IC  red/white  hedgehog, hopes to be  classed as a novelty.  Despite competition, Deborah also prevailed with Inland Dynasty—the only non-popped center in her entire crop of AA’s; Kenora Moonbeam, Jessica & Alpen Splendor. 

From the 38 contenders, Deborah’s Camano Pet triumphed as Best in Show.  Later Minah commented, “It’s not so much the competition as sharing with everyone great flowers.”  Wish lists were augmented.  Jamie’s daughters brought a huge Elma Elizabeth as big as Sarah’s head!  Anna Maria brought mystery blooms in for identification.  Lou C. set up a huge board with great photos of the South San Francisco Day in the Park where they found many new members and later sold dahlias for $1 a stem.  “Cheap!” exclaimed Steve.  Participating in a music festival in Aspen  he would treat himself to one dahlia a week for EIGHT DOLLARS each.  Steep!  

How wonderful to have Mary come back bringing a lovely cake, missing one piece for husband Karl, waiting at home.  Hope he joined our noshing in spirit as we munched Thelma’s lemon cake, Barbara’s gourmet toffees and Rose's Banana Pound Cake.  MMmmm.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?  Famous folk singer, Judy Collins wanted to film a video & album cover in the flowers in front of the Conservatory.  Alas—the bright blooms had all been dug out.  Instead, chaperoned by Ted, Rose, & Lou C, she spent 3 hours lip-synching Amazing Grace and other songs at our Dahlia Dell and at various floral locations nearby. 

EVERY DAHLIA NEEDS MILK?  Lou C. reported that Organic Gardening magazine posited using a 10% solution of milk/water to subdue powdery mildew & foliar feed leaves.  Fred queried, “Whole milk or skim?”  Rose tracked down an on-line report which says skim is preferable.  The solution needs to be applied weekly (& weakly -- over 30% & a different weird fungus grows on the leaves). The original scientific article was written by Wagner Bettiol.

PETALS IN PASSING: Joanne was scheduled for a pacemaker but it was decided to treat her condition with medication.  She has lost 30 pounds.   Please include her in your strongest thoughts.  Elsie announced the Orchid Show Nov 1-2 in the same place our dahlia extravaganza was held.  With slide show & wit, Erik G. has been lecturing to garden groups on both sides of the bay about the joys of growing dahlias.  Steve, Joe, Rose, & Ted patiently stand at the fence in Golden Gate Park & continue to regale the public with fascinating tidbits about dahlias.  DJ even brings his dahlia notebook to the Dell when he waters the hillside to better educate curious tourists.  What floral ambassadors!   

NOVEMBER NOSTRUMS;  The waning seasonal light prematurely pops centers, attenuates stems, & slows down growth.  This is your last chance to label your cultivars accurately & to save seed heads to chance the genetic lottery next spring.  Leave a few blooms to wither away & dry out on the stem.  Decide which would make the best “parents” for future crossed offspring. Serge says that watching his 2003 seedlings produce their first blooms really knocks his leaves off.  Begin giving less water.  Wait for your plants to look parched.  If you have well-drained soil, you do not need to dig up until just before the tuber sale.  Mulch with leaves & grass clippings.  If you have adobe or nasty dirt which pools water, you will need to dig out before our heavy rains begin or your tubers will rot.  When each plant turns brown, cut down to 4-5 bamboo-like notches; these act as water seals.   I even put black 5 gallon pots over the tops of mine thereby giving them some protection from crown rot, but still allowing the sidereal roots to absorb nutrients.  Begin concocting your gift for Present Predation at our annual Christmas Party (@ $10 ?).  In the past, many ‘stolen’ items included custom made tool caddies, hand blown glass vases, cleaving chisels, spring bulbs, & homemade dahlia calendars. 

Jytte and DJ beaming over the winners

DJ and treasured Moonfire

Judy Collins singing Amazing Grace
among the Dahlias

Rose transferring labels

Rudy and Mike deadheading

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Ted and Lou discussing next year's irrigation

   Monthly eNewsletter of Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA
   Editor: Deborah Dietz
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