To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: November 2018 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: 13 November. Elections! Come vote for your representatives. Throw your name into the hat. Program: Lou will demonstrate how to dig up, divide and store tubers for the winter. Please come to learn how to process your own clumps. Your Dahlia Society of California is so appreciative of your tuber donations to our annual sale in April. Think how many people your excess tubers can bring joy next year. Come learn how to do this correctly and safely. Who will bring treats to share with hungry diggers?
LAST GASP MINI SHOW: Thanks so much to Pat and Deborah for sharing their October blooms, despite the fact that some were so mildewed they appeared flocked. Judge Erik noted that there’s often a natural tendency to evaluate dahlias the ADS way. When he takes in a bunch of blooms to his radiology break room, they seem to disappear in the approximate order that judges would have awarded them prizes; the Best of Show gets snapped up first on down to the scraggier ones. Looking at the anemones, Erik remarked, “This is sort of what scuba divers see when they dive on a coral reef.” In evaluating the waterlilies, our Solomon noted, “This lovely Porcelain needs a little orthodontic work” to straighten out its squirmy stem. What a magnificent bouquet Dianne built! All glorious Autumn colors. Deborah’s x5 Hollyhill Showtimes looked punched out of the same cookie cutter. Erik demonstrated the proper 45 degrees “attitude” we ideally look for in dahlias. “Unfortunately, some of these have attitude faults like teenagers. We hope they’ll grow out of them.” Ultimately, it came down to a choice between Pat’s Blyton Softer Gleam and Deborah’s Bear Creek Sunrise. The 1 1/2x the diameter of the bloom stem and perfect attitude won Bear Creek Sunrise Best of Show.
GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS: Thanks to John and Annette for the yummy crepes, and to Gino for the cute cupcakes. Besides dahlias, Pat brought apple juice—so harvest! Lovely to have 4 new visitors, including Cirrun who knitted sox the entire meeting. Too fun. Was it not enough that Pat should bring so many beautiful dahlias to our mini-show but that she also staged a surprise birthday party for Deborah! Wow. What a surprise! Deborah embraced fellow Libras, Tinnee and Dianne, into the fete. What luscious birthday apple tarte. Too very very kind of our Patricia.
NEW CATEGORY FOR OUR SHOW?? https://www.facebook.com/tattooloversshop/videos/747515885599640/?t=13 Check out this amazing dahlia tattoo that Erik alerted us to.
HEIRLOOM EXPO SHOW: Tough timing Sept. 11-12-13 up in Santa Rosa. Four factors led to limited participation this year. 1) San Leandro closed Sunday night and staging for HE began Monday night. 2) The Santa Cruz County Fair took place at the same time so all the Monterey society members supported their home venue. 3) Heavy hitter, Lou, and others were off to the ADS National Show. 4) Last but not least, the Heirloom Expo takes place during the work week. The up-side of having only 7 exhibitors was that there was lots of glory, prizes, ribbons and moolah to share. Chad grew not only the Best AA, but also the Largest Dahlia in the World, 13” Penhill Watermelon. Wow! On top of that Emily Gettle chose Chad’s bouquet as Best in Show. John and Deborah went petal a petal down to the last crowning Elfin as Best in Show. Thanks to Barry, Marcia and Cathy for setting up tables, judging and clerking. Congrats to Quandam winning the Best Novice x5. Thanks to Burnie for sitting at our information table on Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon, over 12,000 people had been through the dahlia show, many voting for Deborah’s Bloomquist Candy Corn as People’s Choice. Thank you, too, to the Gettle Family and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for giving us such a beautiful venue, security all through the night, fancy ribbons and prize$. Such generosity! This year the Heirloom Expo featured 2 labyrinths made from squashes, pumpkins and watermelons. So much fun. Kids climbed all over hay bales and danced to great fiddling, blue grass and country bands. Besides the Largest Pumpkin Contest, they measured tomatoes for prizes, too. Hope more of you can participate next year!
BEACH DELIGHT: SANTA CRUZ SHOW: Congrats to Iris, winning yet another Best in Show! And congrats to Tom and Chad for their final Novice Sweepstakes—Now you’re in the Big Leagues! Click here for the Court of Honor from the Monterey Dahlia Society Show. Santa Cruz County Fair held its first ADS sanctioned show! Congrats!
ADS NATIONAL SHOW: Here are a few pix from our National Dahlia Show in Philadelphia. By all accounts it was a splendid setting and a gorgeous show.
ENLIGHTENED DAHIA GROWING: Om on the Range: Many people describe the outward spiral of an unfurling dahlia bud as a mandala; some of us claim that disbudding and weeding puts the brain in certain meditation wavelengths. Even chanting monks and nuns delight in the magic of dahlia growing. Here is a photo from Shelley’s pal in Bhutan.
NICE AND NECESSARY IN NOVEMBER
So here’s your decision tree: Click here for table.
Experiment with late season cuttings. If you are unsure from where to harvest these or what to do with them, stop by the Dell on a Saturday morning between 10 am and noon and I’ll show you. You will need a light source on a timer under which to cosset your new cuttings.
Our San Francisco weather is usually so mild and the Dell is so well-drained, that I leisurely dig my clumps out January-April. If you have clay dirt which holds moisture, you probably NEED to dig up your dahlias or they will rot from too much rain. Lou and Devi remove their roots in December and put them on the cutting bench for future Tuber Sale Cuttings. So kind. If you have any A or AA tubers to donate, our greenhouse miracle workers would greatly appreciate them by the beginning of January. The public buys these up so fast. Experiment with saving a few seed heads and growing a few seedlings next year. John Phan’s have beguiled him all season with their surprising diversity.
How to label tubers? In the good old days, we used a bottle-of-ink-in-a-pencil which wrote on wet roots and could be read when you dug up the mother tuber the next year. Alas, these are hard to come by these days. Instead, I’ve used purple felt pens like they use in surgery to mark the skin about where to cut. These stay legible a long time and do not scrape the tuber skin too much. Other dahlianeers gently ply a Sharpie. Whatever method you choose, PLEASE mark your tubers. Sometimes I’ll invite a couple friends over to watch a movie and kindly suggest they help me label at the same time………Busy hands make happy pals.
While there are still blooms, I indicate on my labels which ones I’ll be donating to the society and which I’ll be keeping for myself. It’s so much easier to make these decisions whilst I can still see the dahlias. This year I have 3 different BB ic pr varieties. Two have to go. Which???? I grow 4 clumps of Pam Howden. I’ll replant tubers from the VERY best clump and donate the rest to our Tuber Sale in April. Do remember that we sold out of our Surprise! Tubers—the ones with no names. So please process these, too, for your wonderful DSC.
Dahlia Porn: Thanksgiving or the beginning of December usually herald the opening of the next year’s commercial dahlia grower sites. The REALY GOOD CULTIVARS sell out fast. Some west coasters awake at 5am to pounce on East Coast companies unfurling their latest treasures at 8 am EST. Look over your wish lists. Check your desires against the ADS Classification Books evaluations. The new dahlias which delighted me most this past season are: Bloomquist Jean, B ID OR; Sandia Brocade, AN OR with a phenomenal center puff—even when the original 8 outer petal fall off, it’s still a fascinating cut bloom; Bleutiful, BB ID PR with a bluish tint on really straight and strong stems; and finally Bloomquist Andrea, BB ID white/pink. Look for them as you’re cruising commercial growers.
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Dietz, Flood, Gaenzler, Murdoch
Webmistress and membership: Devorah Joseph
Snail mail: Pat Hunter
LINKS OF INTEREST:
How We Cut Dahlia Flowers
Digging, Dividing and Storing Tubers
Overwintering Dahlias in Cold Climates
Digging and Dividing Dahlia Tubers