To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: November 2014 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: Nov. 11 at 7:30 at 9th and Lincoln. Program: Our Lou P. will demonstrate how to dig out dahlia clumps, the fine art of dividing them and the various ways to store them for the winter. Plus, rumor has it that past Prez, Lou Cornish, might drop in from England….
Who will bring goodies to be thankful for?
BOUQUETS–SIMPLE TO EXTRAVAGANT
Wil Gonzales, internationally famous floral designer, reprised his amazing seminar on how to arrange dahlias for every occasion or competition. Firstly, his team culled through the Dell—in mid-October—for almost 100 presentable blooms. Taking a big fig leaf and bending it artistically, Wil showed how to highlight just one perfect dahlia bloom in a very dramatic mode. For dinner parties where one prefers to see the other guests, Wil stressed that the arrangement needed to be low. For a spectacular finale, Wil used a painted structure and deftly deployed dahlias dipped in individual vials of water. Stunning!
GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS AND DAHLIA THANKSGIVING THOUGHTS
Delicious thanks to Colleen for her fresh grapes; to Gino for another yummy Sock it To Me Cake; to Ron and Joann for their homemade lemon bars.; and to Baker Bill both for his white cake and for keeping track of which generous DSCers brought which delectable goodies.
How many ways are we thankful for our dahlia society? DSC is blessed to have 8 remarkable people donating and caring for a massive public display of dahlias in Golden Gate Park. DSC is blessed to have so many diverse people who bring their talents—diplomacy, classification expertise, organization, mentoring, grant writing, xl spreadsheet building, web mastering, dessert cooking, picnic organizing, corsage devising, table set ups and tear downs, room sweepings, kitchen cleaning, fascinating program speaker inviting, money handling, membership managing, newsletter writing, photo snapping, show entering, clerking, judging, lemon sharing, milk carton donating, publicity pervading, garden outreaching (just to name a few) to constitute our society. DSC is blessed with a community rich with unique people who share their time and their passion.
How did the hot new iphone choose to glorify its latest iteration? Huge billboards, flat screen tv’s and print media show the new Apple gizmo displaying the lovliest lavender image: a dahlia! Utterly eye catching.
Mother Nature’s Lavender Perfection
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL
For the fourth year in a row, Erik G has taken three days off work to expose Marin Country Day third graders to the glories of dahlias and gardening. The week before, Nick, now a sixth grader, delivered a PowerPoint presentation to prime their curiosities. Whilst the young scholars noshed on lunch, Erik took them through the history of the Dell starting from the original Sutro sand dunes, on to the 1906 earthquake, Model T’s, victory gardens, the Japanese concentration camps like Mansanar, on up to the present.
With lots of show and tells, including an ancient tent peg he and Nick uncovered while planting and lots of photos, Erik entranced the kids. Then teams were deployed under the scrutiny of General Jenna, Pat, Deborah, Erik and a teacher to disbud, deadhead, pick off mildewed leaves and weed. Looking at a seed head, one young man asked Deborah “If dahlias have both male and female parts, how do they know which to pollinate?” Finding black seeds amidst the brown chafe proved that nature finds a way.
Wow! Hard to believe how well the dahlias at Cabrillo Sidewalk gardens are still blooming. Must be Devi’s special worm bin elixir. Sue and Valeria have eradicated every mildewed leaf and weed in their portion of the hillside continuing to produce stunning Bodes, Eden Lemonades, Pinot Noirs and especially honking huge Show ‘n Tells. Deborah’s section yielded late season Hollyhill Cotton Candy, Rolf, Blown Dry, Rock Star and Jessica. What crazy weather we’ve had in October. We’ve been strafed by the Blue Angels and thrilled with the Giants winning the World Series—AGAIN. We exult in the gentle rain even on Halloween.
NESTLING INTO NOVEMBER
Some people like Sue, still have a major flash of dahlias going on in their yards. They will be watering less but continuing to deadhead and disbud. For the rest of us, many of our dahlia clumps have already turned brown. For the plants you plan to leave in the ground over the winter, cut back to about 5 joints and cover with a 5-gallon bucket. Pat reminded me about covering the ends of the stalks with tin foil to prevent water from dripping down the shaft and rotting the crown, thereby ruining all the tubers. If your plants are in pots, put them somewhere where they will not get wet when we finally get some rain. After clipping back brown scraggly things to 5 joints, wait 5 weeks before digging up.
If you only have a couple you might try the “fake hibernation” technique. Into a large cardboard box or a 5-gallon can, add a couple spadesful of soil. Then carefully place your tuber clump with as much dirt around it as possible inside the container. Lastly, add another couple spadesful of soil. Now put these containers in your garage, under your house or anywhere they will be cool (but not cold) and dry until spring.
Third choice: dividing tuber clumps. I like very much Lou’s admonition to process an entire clump at a time so that you don’t shift labels around or get various tubers mixed up with each other. Divide, bathe in a 10% Clorox solution, label, let dry for one day and then store in vermiculite, sand or guinea pig shavings. When I have very skinny or very small tubers, I pop them directly into a milk carton with dirt. These little smidges of dahlia genetics don’t survive the Clorox, sulfur, drying and storing process well. So I start them in milk cartons and put them in the warmest part of my Maus Haus, the loft.
Recommendation: remember all those friends who loved receiving your beautiful dahlias? Call them up and ask them to help you process your treasure trove. It’s so much more fun to do this with company. Do you know someone who needs help processing their dahlias? Volunteer to go to their garden and help out. Thus begins another great season. If you have inadvertently lost the name of a particular dahlia, remember that we are selling orphan tubers again in April. Have you saved seed heads???? When they are dry and brittle, gently break them apart and search for seeds. Some people (Lou P. Tinnee) meticulously note the name of the seed parent and put them in individual envelopes. In anticipation of our holiday party in December, start searching for the ultimate steal-provoking gift in our crazy Present Predation game.
Yours in Dirt,
Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Page layout: Mike Willmarth
Snail mail editing and mailing: Pat Hunter
Photo credits: Dietz
Originally Organized in 1917
in San Francisco the Dahlia was adopted as the
Official Flower of San Francisco on October 4, 1926
by its Board of Supervisors