To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: October 2018 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: October 9, at 7:30 at 9th and Lincoln. Program: Open to All Mini Show. Please limit your enthusiasm to 2 entries per category. X3 and X5 if you can. Who will bring goodies to share with fellow dahlia growers?
LATE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Instead of being the first dahlia show of the season in August, San Leandro hosted the penultimate contest the second weekend in September. Exhibitors cut, transported and set up all night long. Congratulations to Lou for amalgamating Amateur Sweepstakes including Best Open, Eden Star, and Best B, Eden Predator. Our Patricia stages Best Variegated with the ever-winning Rolf. Chad’s Eden Benary won not only Best MiniBall but also Best Novice Bloom. Chad and Tom now have to play with the Big Kids next year. Deborah delighted in her Best x5 Large, Bloomquist Parasol. A magnificent North Lake Pride garnered Iris Best in Show. John and Johanna won best seedling and several of their human seedlings attended to cheer them on.
NEW AND COOL: Curtis caused quite the buzz with his purple Raeann’s Mystery—an anemone with collarettes! Lou investigated, “That’s something to talk about at the Nationals.” Presently it’s classified as just an anemone; obviously it should at least be considered an open centered novelty. Lou discovered that Platinum Blonde also has small collorettes but they are not obvious because they are the same white color as the ray florets. Annettes? Colonems? What should we call this new form? Tony Palacios showed a cool BB FD BI R/W, Clearview Jonas. Quandam dazzled all with FIVE AC Marlene’s, a B V R/Y. What a perfect waterlily Iris brought: Sandia Susan, spiraling exquisitely. Deborah had a bevy of fun dahlias: Normandy Wild Willy, Higgo Wonder, Hapet Perfect and Bloomquist Jean.
ALWAYS CLASSIC: When was the last time you saw April Dawn on a Bay Area show table let alone THREE utterly lovely ones by Tom Starky? Do numbers count? Then count SEVEN astounding For Robins from Lou. Ferrell’s Lemon Merengue stunned for brightness of yellow and sharp contrast of white. Camano Sitka showed why it’s always on the table somewhere. Lastly, Tony P’s Ketchup and Mustard rocked the red/yellow combo brilliantly.
CLEANING UP AND CATCHING UP: Deborah has long been blessed with a wonderful tradition. Her college freshman roommate, Jacq, helps her break down the show every year and they catch up on a whole 365 days’ of events whilst drying and wrapping. Who’s the Floral Warrior helping Chad? Must be his husband Tom looking like the Statue of Liberty. A few towels, carriers, water holders and containers were left behind. Check with John or Deborah if you think you’re missing something.
SATURDAY IN THE PARK: Erik reports: September 8, the DSC had its annual Open House Potluck Picnic at the Dell, for the 28th year in a row. San Francisco sent a Fire Truck and two Mounted Police. Super Gigi did her usual superb face painting, and Sharon Palermo her balloon artistry to the delight of all. Jen Stakich catered the core of the potluck. Jenna Kaiser helped Erik set up and clean up the party, following Terry Stephens new table layout. John Dale, as always, faithfully tended bar. Sok Oulson returned from a back accident a year ago to help drive, and Nicholas Gaensler’s sophomore class provided volunteers to set up and break down tables, place cones, and help with parking.
The Park leadership including Phil Ginsburg and Drew Belcher were on hand. Lou Paradise’s new introductions Eden Louise and Eden Lucinda drew raves from people who knew the named honorees. Best of all, the weather was near perfect. We had an unfortunate conflict with San Leandro’s atypically late show date, and hope that will not recur. Next year’s Picnic is planned for Saturday September 7–please put it on your calendar!
PARKS GALA: The very next day, September 9, dahlias were provided to grace Opera in the Park. September 15, Dell Growers Lou and Deborah contributed blooms for The Party for the Parks fundraiser–a wonderful tradition begun in 2006. Jenna Kaiser spent the whole day making 60+ corsages, and Nicole Krassner designed table arrangements.
September 17 Pat Hunter and Erik enjoyed a luncheon at the DeYoung with wonderful centerpieces that included orange ball dahlias. We are still trying to figure out who grew them…Thanks to Erik for arranging the picnic, taking the pix and writing these paragraphs.
OCTOBER OCCUPATIONS: October is one of the rare months that Bay Area dahlia growers can kind of coast along. I stop fertilizing AT ALL October first. The predominating wisdom imputes late fertilizer leads to poor tuber storage. ??? I’m still going to spray a couple more rounds of Stylet Oil and dishwashing soap to knock down some of the mildew which has been reveling in our foggy froggy weather.
Just as I write this, I learn that our typical glorious sunny and warm September and October weather may be setting in. This means: watch your dahlia bushes. When they begin to sag, they need more water. Continue to water deeply and then let them dry out again. Depending on our weather, I water my section of the Dell sometimes every 3 days when the warm winds from the Valley desiccate; on the other hand, I went 10 days with no water during the mist and drizzle. Your dahlias will tell you what they want.
DEADHEAD assiduously! Cut severely down to new growth; when in doubt, cut farther down. We should have at least 5-6 more glorious weeks when your dahlias can prosper. Fewer flowers on fewer branches will yield stronger and longer stems and bigger blooms. Don’t be dismayed if you start getting open centers on your previously fully double bushes. This is often the case as the sunlight portion of the day dwindles. I’ve been out of the Dell for 3 weeks. When I returned it took me three 4 ½ hour stints just to bushwack the back pathway of my section. The dahlias LOVE this glorious Indian Summer weather.
Rogue: destroy any questionable plants. Do NOT compost; DESTROY into garbage. Recheck labels. I’m marking mine: “regrow next year” or “give to DSC.” It’s good to make these decisions whilst the dahlias bloom and you can SEE for SURE what they are. Check your labels one last time for verification.
Last chance to invite friends for a dahlia viewing or to visit other patches. I like to bestow bouquets on our local library, on the Martha Brothers Bernal Heights who save milk cartons for me, to the Neighborhood Senior Center, and to all my neighbors. My bookclub members went home looking like bridesmaids. Pat likes to give out a dahlia with each meal on wheels. Chad keeps his emergency section a little cheerier. What do you do?
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Baker, Dietz, Fletcher, Gaensler, Hart, Jenson
Webmaster: Devi Joseph
Snailmail mistress: Patricia Hunter