To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: October 2019 NEWSLETTER
NEXT MEETING: October 8, at 7 PM. Program: Master Gardeners Paul Matalucci and Shilpa Thanawala, will present Site and Soil Preparation for Dahlias. Their talk will include the following: dahlia soil needs, dirt vs. soil, compost vs. fertilizer, amendments, cover cropping, sheet mulching, raised beds, and a high-level summary of Soil 101 (physical properties, chemistry, and biology/microorganisms).
Frank works very hard to bring us excellent speakers. Please come to show both your interest in the subject and your appreciation of the topic. Who will bring treats to share?
NOVICE-ONLY MINI SHOW: Perhaps due to the late notice or due to the intimidating quality of her fine dahlias, Pat dominated the show table with a gorgeous Belle of the Ball Best of Show. What tremendous work Pat puts into her Dahlia Dell apportionment and into her back yard collection. She tends them both almost every day.
MONTEREY MONSTER: Kristine Albrecht lassoed the big one; her 15 ¾” Maki so far tops the LARGEST DAHLIA IN THE WORLD contest this year. Wow! Our Lou and Chad proudly represented DSC on their Court of Honor. MBDS inhabits the Santa Cruz Museum; the venue is beautiful and educational! Two weeks later the MBDSers launched into the Santa Cruz County Fair which for the first time was an ADS sanctioned show. Now all those beautiful dahlias count for the ADS Classification Book not merely local glory.
CHECK OUT THE SAN LEANDRO LIBRARY: How wonderful to have a beautiful dahlia show in an air conditioned space. Deborah succumbed to gout AGAIN, but Steve lept into the lurch by volunteering, “I’ll be your slave.” He packed all the cases of vases, boxes of blooms and then drove to San Leandro so he could unpack them all and “run” all the entries to their various tables. Definitely Steve earned his certificate in Dahlia: the Advanced Practicum. He cheered when Elvira stayed on the head table. Lest Steve need return on Sunday, Deborah’s freshman college roommate from 51 years ago, Jacq, deftly engineered tear down. Lou landed two seedlings on the Court of Honor: Best Large, 17-Eden Kirby and Best x3 Disc Eden White Knight. Moreover, despite gigantic Harvey Koops and Nick Srs., Lou’s dainty red and white genetic mess garnered People’s Choice. Quamrun earned Arrangements Sweepstakes. Despite many gorgeous bouquets, Louise’s wee mini presentation got the judges’s nod for Old Fashioned Bouquet. Check out the winners HERE.
SL NEW AND COOL: Ken’s wee MB, Skipley Splish Splash caught many an eye. Quamrun’s 3 huge My Hero’s stopped people in their tracks. Chi Ree Paige x3 flirted with the public. Tom and Chad’s Crazy Cleere stood out as Best MB.
DELICIOUS PARK PICNIC: Erik’s picnics get better every year! This year he erected double tent domes over fabulous meat balls, chicken and ham spreads. John D officiated at the drink wheelbarrows. Gigi the Clown and her helper painted hundreds of amazing monster and hero faces. The Blue Grass People played throughout. Kids thronged the fire truck, receiving honorary fire helmets. We enjoyed Goldilocks weather: neither a downpour, nor freezing, nor blazing. Rather, just right.
CABRILLO DAHLIA GARDEN EVOLUTION: Devorah’s lovely sidewalk dahlia display garden at 39th and Cabrillo continues to delight passersby. This year Devi has highlighted a single strip of super show dahlias so close to the walkway, the photographers are utterly delighted. Check it out and check out the award-winning playground beyond, which Devi was instrumental in resurrecting.
HEIRLOOM HEROES: Who arrived Sunday afternoon to secure tables and layout our show? Cathy Fletcher! The Early Scout gets the tables! At 7 on Monday, Deborah arrived with the ultimate ClownCar; who could believe what she crammed into it: more than 200 dahlias, buckets, water pails, snacks, bottled waters, Court of Honor drapes, change of clothes, big buckets, and 12 cases of vases!!!! In the wee hours Chad arrived with what became the World’s largest Dahlia, Holy Cow, to claim the $50 prize. Beverly D set up the ONLY novice triple, a lovely Blyton Softer Gleam to match Peggy M’s fine Tutti Frutti Novice Single. John M not only patiently put up gorgeous blooms, he judged, and helped tear down. Over and above, truly! Gorgeous wolfblood and neon green ribbons decorated a stunning Court of Honor headed by Verrone’s Sandra J. From over 5000 votes cast, John’s wee two faced miniball triumphed. Extra thanks to Lola and Diane who answered questions at our information table during the 3-day event and to Cathy who officiated EVERY day. We were all grateful to the Jere Gettle family and their Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for donating the beautiful venue, security over night, parking during the day, stunning ribbons and $2,000 in prize money. What great dahlia supporters!
PARKS GALA: Once again Lou, Pat and Deborah donated dahlias to enhance the tables at the Parks annual fundraising party held this year at the Civic Center. Jenna crafted 70 boutonnieres; her poor fingers were frayed from all the twisting.
OCTOBER OBSERVATIONS: Unless we get slammed with another heatwave, cut way back on your watering. Water only when your dahlias beg you. No more fertilizer! Many growers think late season fertilizer can result in tubers that don’t quite go dormant; they go bad. Radically dead head and cut back to VIGOROUS new growth, not wispy hints of green. As the light wanes, you may want to begin double disbudding; disbud not only the two extra buds with your main bloom, but also the next level down. Thus, more of the plant’s energy gets to your single opportunity to bloom. Do not be alarmed if stems get thinner, blooms get smaller, and plant is not as tall. This is the beginning of Autumn. DO keep tying things up, clear bottoms, trim away brown leaves, and recheck labels.
Is there anything in your garden you REALLY want to save for next year. Here are 3 ideas:
1. Try taking some stem cuttings. Put them in a mixture of soil, perlite and/or vermiculite and put them under 16-18 hour lights. As they establish roots move them to bigger containers. LABLE immediately. If you have questions about this come to the Dell some Saturday morning and I’ll show you how.
2. When you dig up the clump, DO NOT DIVIDE. Leave the whole clump covered with dirt. Put in a cardboard box in a cool, dry place. LABLE immediately.
3. Give your clump to someone who has a better track record saving tubers over winter. Offer to split the bounty. Half of something wonderful is better than none but mere fond memories.
If any of you have cruised the Dell lately, you will note that Lou is letting his whole area literally “go to seed.” He wants his dahlias to establish firm fat seed heads for planting next year. After the last show, Kristine mows down all her open-centered dahlias so the subsequent seeds will have been pollinated exclusively by fully double dahlias. You could do the same. I generally save only B and up size seed heads. I wait until all the petals have dropped, cut the stem, put in water at home until they turn brown and then hang upside down to dry. These are your dahlia lottery tickets. Almost all will grow, but will they be something you’re glad to have in the garden? Take a chance.
MILDEW!!! Yuck! No fun. For my birthday, John P solicited volunteers to help pluck brown and mildewed leaves so I could spray with Stylet Oil, baking powder, milk and Serenade a couple more times. Our October and even the first two weeks of November can be beautiful and wonderful for final flushes of dahlias.
SHARE: Whilst dahlias burgeon, give them away. As mentioned above, the Dellians donated to The Parks Gala fundraiser, to a couple weddings and to a Sonoma benefit bash. Some went to the studio with Kevin Woodson for a new round of dahlia watercolor oeuvre.
Yours in dirt,
Layout and Webmaster: Devorah Joseph
Photo credits: Baker, Dietz, Fletcher, Gaensler, Kaiser, Morton
Snail Mail Mistress: Pat Hunter