To see the full original newsletter with all the photos, click here to get the pdf: November 2022 Newsletter
Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 PM Our inimitable Lou P will demonstrate good clump lifting techniques and dividing procedures. We will discuss when to dig, how to mark tubers, and how to protect them until planting time. Deborah will bring her amazing Dremel oscillating dividing tool. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity in person or via zoom! Zoom link will be sent out a couple days before our Tuesday meeting.
BEST IN SHOW!
Congratulations to Lucy for her darling Eden Elizabeth, taking Best of Show in the final novice-only mini show. She said she can’t believe how much dead heading she still has to do in October. Thanks to Sarah for setting up the cameras, microphones and wrangling zoom questions during our meeting. Deborah urged growers to cut back on water, stop fertilizing and aggressively dead head back to vigorous new growth.
With the shows forby, Sarah, Karen, Tara and Deborah tripped off to Santa Cruz. Iris met us in her paradisial Eden: lemon and avocado trees, tomatoes, and HEDGES of dahlias taller than people. Her Auggie Whites—pale yellow not white—were all over 12” and magnificent. As the Heat Wave continued to slam Santa Cruz, Iris’s husband Dave went down to the nearby creek and hefted buckets of water back to her parched patch. This same wonderful (enabler) husband also XXXXX gopher barriers. Iris erected huge beach umbrellas over her gargantuan Emory Pauls for a little shade. The pale pink Imaginier MBA contrasted with her BB FD DR TY Royal. Look how Tara matched Iris’s dahlia wall.
In the midst of a cozy beach town, who would expect to turn the corner on an acre of spectacular dahlias? Wow! Kristine walked us through isles of wonderful first, second and third year seedlings. She used net bags like you see for wedding favors to cap over hand-pollinated seed heads. Her husband, Brion, mounted a huge almost transparent netting across their mostly white collection to keep the bits and dabs of airborne junk from marring the perfection her bridal customers crave. We met several of her famous KA introductions like KA’s Mocha Katie, KA’s Peachy, and KA’s Isabell which won the SF show’s People’s Choice. With so many women working such long hours during the height of event season, Brion also installed a composting toilet room; slowly his throne room morphed into the trophy room!
DUE$: AD$ ACCOUNTING REVAMPED
The American Dahlia Society (ADS) has changed their membership year to May 1 through April 30. In order for us to synchronize with them the DSC will change their membership year to match. For CURRENT ADS and DSC members, your 2022 membership will extend to April 30,
- Renewing memberships for ADS/DSC or DSC only, for the 2023-2024 year, should be paid in April, 2023 and each April thereafter.
For NEW members joining between now and April 30, ADS is charging $15 to cover these months before the new cycle begins in May.
In addition, the ADS is increasing their membership dues effective May 1, 2023.
Individual – $30. (Previously $24)
Household/Family – $35. (Previously $27)
This increase in price is due to the rapidly rising costs of printing and postage. The membership form on our website sfdahlias.org reflect these changes.
If you have questions contact Debbie Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org
SQUATS: WARDEN BOOT CAMP
The Warden’s garden looked like the height of August flush in the middle of October. Just amazing. The plump, spotless leaves, the strong stems and glorious blooms all proved that Emily’s spraying regimen really paid off. Sarah patiently crawled through the thicket of stalks to read labels; Deborah checked the names against the blooms in case revisions were necessary. Where there was no label, they wrote a description M FD PR, for example, in case this would become an orphan tuber donor. Marilyn spoiled them with freshly baked date muffins and pumpkin bread. The next day, Sarah felt the effects of 120+ dahlia squats!
OUR RACHEL LEADS OPEN STUDIOS!
Colorful posters and billboards, featuring a glowing, swirling dahlia blossom painting by Rachel Perls*, are popping up around San Francisco to announce ArtSpan’s SF Open Studios (SFOS). Rachel’s painting is the poster child for the entire Open Studios Events, and the cover for the guide book to studios. Over four weekends, from now through November 13, 2022, ArtSpan invites the public to visit the creative and hosted spaces of local artists. A beloved annual tradition since 1975, ArtSpan’s citywide SFOS offers residents and tourists the free opportunity to engage directly with the artists responsible for the unique creative culture and vibrancy that attracts admirers from all over the world.
*Perls will be exhibiting during Weekend 3, November 5 & 6th, from 11a-6pm at 111 Minna Gallery in SOMA. 21+ (venue rule) Go visit her!
DAHLIAS FOR POLITICS
Deborah recorded a commercial for Yes on I and posed for pix in the Dell. Erik hosted a party for school board candidates Hsu and Motamedi which Sarah and Steve also attended.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
The Lion still roars at magnificent dahlias in Santa Barbara. Ted and Larry primp their beauties to the last gasp. Their strolling neighbors love it. Sonia (mother of Abby) says the Bill Mischler and Tartan have been favorites in their Fremont garden. Abby demonstrates just how tall Hollyhill Gordon is.
Once again Jenna constructed 65 corsages for Party for the Park, the annual fund raiser. Using dahlias from the Dell, Jenna wrapped her boutonnieres with florists tape and lovely pins. Luminaries at the gala sported her floral fantasies.
October’s dahlias have drawn quite a crowd. One Wednesday morning there were two shuttle busses stopped at the Dell neither with passengers. One driver chatted with the other??? Also spotted driving around the Dell (where the 7 Dahlia Donors are not allowed to drive) were a mobile lending library van and the Randal Wild Life Museum outreach bus. They said they were there “to cement the no cars policy on the ballot.”
Despite other states already posting frost and freezing warnings, San Francisco has enjoyed fair weather. Although strafed by the Blue Angels during Fleet Week, Pat and Tinnee deadheaded with smiles. From Yorkshire England via Glacier National Park and Seattle, Barry, Barbara and Geoff Davies trekked in to our Dell. By merging their names Bar and Barry, they founded a famous line of Barbarry dahlias, specializing in balls and formal decoratives. In England, mostly pale yellow, white and light pink FD’s and Balls succeed, so Barry was amazed (aghast) at our diversity. “How do you judge all these types?” In his country, judges look for the slightest reason to downgrade an entry. “They have to be perfect.” Erik shared a photo of himself getting married wearing a Barbarry Gem boutonniere 23 years ago. Tara bought the cutest collection of mini vases attached to one tray; perfect for the shorter stemmed final blooms of approaching winter. She bought them in St. Helena from a shop called Acres. An entire family came up from Fremont to help deadhead and disbud. Abby and her mom Sonia teamed up and the the guys Danny and Colin worked farther up the petting zoo. Abby could identify so many varieties on sight already; her mom Sonia could name even more! They all loved contributing to the traveling compost hole and smashing it down. A wee tyke named Dahlia beguiled Steve out of a yellow deadhead.
NEEDY NOVEMBER NOSTRUMS
What will you dig up? What will you leave in? What will you throw away? If you have well-drained soil, you can dig clumps any time between now and March. If your soil is compact or clay you run the risk of rot the longer you leave your plants in the ground. NOW is the time to label. I choose the best of multiples of the same variety to replant for myself in the spring. I decide which dahlias I will donate to our society in tuber form and put a big S on the label. Anything mismarked, I label OT for Orphan Tuber. We sell these without names at our tuber sale in April. Anything that is JUNK, should be tossed out NOW. Try writing 4’ or 5 1/2” on your labels to remind yourself next year how tall something grows; that way you can better situate it next year.
MAINTAINING BLOOMS TO THANKSGIVING
The Prime Directive of dahlias is to replicate, propagate. In order to do this, they must bloom and make seed. When you dead head, your dahlia sends the message that it wasn’t able to reproduce; it must try again. So it starts the process of building another flower. The more assiduously you deadhead and disbud and cut down to new, vigorous growth, the more likely your dahlia bush will continue to delight you with blooms. Once your dahlia has given up trying to seed and turned completely brown, cut down to 5 notches. Lou often secures a plastic bag over the top with a rubber band to prevent water from rotting the crown. Other people use tin foil; some do nothing after cutting down. If you have a real favorite or a really expensive clump, try putting a 5-gallon bucket over the top. This will both stave off rain and act as a mini greenhouse. By waiting at least 3-4 weeks between lopping back and digging up, you give the tuber time to harden its skin, making it better at surviving storage.
Certain commercial dahlia sites are already open for business. Check with your friends to learn who are the reliable ones and whom to avoid. Please let me know with whom you’ve had good experiences and those you’re leery of. I’ll name some names in next month’s newsletter. As always, thedahliaaddict.com is a great place to source the sources.
Yours in dirt,
Photo Credits: Dibner, Dietz, Gaensler, Kaiser, Smith
Webmastery: Devorah and Payam