To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: October 2020 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: More Zoom: Tuesday, October 13. Erik will host us on his professional Zoom. Please send Erik — firstname.lastname@example.org –Photos of problems or issues to troubleshoot
–Pests or Pest damage
–Need a potential varietal name? Send us a couple views of your nameless dahlia
–Should I discard this plant?
–Your favorite dahlia pix this season
Erik will put them all in a PowerPoint Presentation so we can all discuss them. Depending on the fickle finger of Techy Fate, we may even host a world premiere Dahlia Documentary!
Garden discussion: how to get the best final Flowers out of our gardens, how to begin preparing for digging out, how to choose a cover crop for winter.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 836 8234 8203
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MINI SHOW: MAXI DISPLAY: Thank you to everyone who tried to show us dahlias via Zoom. Many of us have more to learn about using our computer cameras to our dahlias’ best angles. Thank you Becky, for participating all the way from Soquel. So glad Meredith didn’t have to evacuate due to fire even though her bags were packed. We are getting better at Zoom: fewer technical difficulties and more participants! Yay! So relieved that Len and his wife have recovered from Covid and are regaining their energy. Whew!
INSTANT INSTAGRAM LESSON: Thanks to Karen S-C for sharing a mini-lesson on how to download Instagram so we can follow our favorite gardeners. Many DCS members follow Kristine Albrecht’s wonderful 3-5 minute lessons from her glorious garden in Soquel. Try it!
Down load Instagram app onto your device and
set-up an account.
At bottom of the screen there will be a magnifying glass icon
Push that and you are able to search for everyone on Instagram
Search for Santa Cruz Dahlias and press follow.
You will then see all Kristine’s beautiful photos and informative video clips!
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? Stasia reports: I was in SF last week having been evacuated from Healdsburg due to the fires. I took the opportunity to visit the Dahlia Dell- truly breathtaking. It was the highlight of my week. As for my own garden, a number of my plants have succumbed to mildew but the Stasia’s are still going strong. Here are a few photos of efforts today! My plants in Healdsburg grow 5-7 feet tall even when I pinch the early plant. P.S. The fire was close to our property but the weather and Cal Fire were generous! Soraya delighted in her dainty pom even though there was not show this year. Maggie sent in pix from her Berkeley garden. What are their names??? Anyone?
DSC ELECTION DSC holds elections for Officers and Board Members every November. Next month we will ask you to vote on the slate. Officers are voted on yearly. Board Members are on a two year rotation.
Current Officers are:
President Tinnee Lee
1st Vice President Frank Schulkin
2nd Vice President Devi Joseph
Treasurer Joe Norton
Recording Secretary Patricia Hunter
Corresponding Secretary Deborah Dietz
Board Members for the 2021-2022 rotation are:
If you would like to nominate yourself or any other DSC member for any of these positions, you may. Please send an e-mail with the name/s and position/s to 20SFdahlia20@gmail.com.
In addition, the Board nominated and confirmed Tenaya Martinez-Smith for the vacancy left by John Dale’s retirement from the Board. Thank you, John, for your years of service to DSC.
Congratulations, Tenaya. Welcome onBoard!!!
EVERY BLOOM A WINNER: Erik reports: Nick Gaensler instead of exhibiting his dahlias at our cancelled show has been delivering blooms to “shut ins”. These include nursing homes and residences of elderly DSC supporters who can not go out, as well as hospital waiting rooms. September 10, he brought dahlias to the Marin Rehab and Convalescent Hospital, where his grandfather Edward resided during the final years of his life. This has been a tough year for their residents as families can not visit–they can only talk to their loved ones vis walkie-talkie thru the glass front door or other windows.
The administrator of this facility, Debbie Allen, was very fond of Edward, and always appreciated the dahlias the Gaensler’s brought. Debbie kindly drove Edward to our annual picnics. She and her husband Ken would have continued to help us set up this year except Covid preempted our annual gala.
Nick’s Thursday delivery included blooms Lou Paradise generously donated to the effort. Some were a bit scorched by the Labor Day heat wave, and all were dusted with fine ash. There were enough blooms so each resident could get one, and Debbie and her Aunt Elizabeth made arrangements for the public areas. Every “entry” therefore was a winner, and reached its own “Court of Honor!
THE DAY THE WORLD TURNED ORANGE: One Monday Deborah went to deadhead at the Dell. It felt very dark at 8 am and continued to grow darker, so dark that by noon, she fingered the stems braille-like to deadhead. Street lights glowed eerily in through the orange fuzz. All the dahlias looked biliously orange. All of them. It became a Mars landscape. It was also San Francisco’s last day of decent air quality for 10 days. Due to a marine inversion, fog flowed in, pushing the smoke from over 60 fires aloft and trapping us under baleful gloom for 6 more days. The air grew dense with bits of ash and soot; we had to chew our oxygen before breathing. Our eyes rimmed with grit; our skin caked with debris; our cars covered in grey toxic crud. Lou tried to spray his blooms clean but the water mixing with the aerial junk just turned to cement sludge. Ug. We hope it composts well.
DUES DUE: It’s almost time to renew your ADS and/or DSC membership.
During this unprecedented time, it’s been such a pleasure for all of us to see the beautiful pictures and hear the musings of dahlia folk, hasn’t it? And remember that we have a connection through our love of dahlias and their cultivation. We’ve even arranged ZOOM meetings so we can still get together, albeit remotely.
Your ADS membership gives you 4 fact-filled Bulletins a year, a Classification Guide, access to the ADS website Members Only section and occasional e-mail blitzes.
Your DSC membership gives you fabulous monthly newsletters with growing tips and tricks, seasonal growing guides, pictures of new cultivars and information on various events. Although our monthly meetings are on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, we have arranged Zoom meetings. We even held our cutting sale online, for members only.
We are currently working on an addition to the DSC website so you can renew your membership online and hope to have it up and running by November.
The national society, ADS, now wants us to send all renewals for ADS membership in by Dec. 31st. So if you are an ADS member, we will need you renewal by Dec. 31st to ensure that you receive your March Bulletin.
If you would still like to fill out a paper application and mail it in, you can access it here:
ROAD TRIP! Pat and I (Deborah) were mentally exhausted after the Week of Orange Air Fuzz. To reinvigorate ourselves, we launched south along Highway 1 to breathe in the coastal air—finally CLEAN! Iris and Dave welcomed us to their Santa Cruz backyard Paradise: avocado trees, persimmon trees, apple and more apple trees, and a massive fig tree alongside a dainty pineapple guava bush. Wow! Major tomato hedges. And such dahlias!!!!! 6-8’ tall with such perfect leaves (even this time of year) that they looked plastic. Iris could have benched an entire show by herself. Astounding. Heather, 2214, is a MUST HAVE for me next year. Loved several of Iris’s seedlings. AA’s Emory Paul and Maki overshadowed Pat and me on stems as strong as soldiers’ thighs. Wow.
MANUEL’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT, 261 Center Ave, APTOS added 6 outdoor tables amongst 400 dahlia bushes. So in addition to take out, Manuels serves sit down food at well-distanced patio tables a block from the ocean. Patricia Santana explained how her grandfather-in-law started Manuel’s before WWII when he cooked, waited, served, and washed dishes all by himself. Now his grandson, her husband, runs it. Patricia Santana pointed out several very promising seedlings including a huge progeny of KA’s Cloud, pinker and flatter, which arrangers love.
DISFUNCTION JUNCTION: Despite its affectionate sobriquet, Kevin and Karen’s remodeled home is wonderful. Through the glass doors, eyes sweep over the patio, over the garden, over the pasture, beyond the large apple orchards and berry farms all the way to the ocean. Although Corralitos Garden is now closed, K&K still grow two patches of their favorites including Darla and Amulet. Their grande dame and puppy borzois, have soooo much roooooom to roaaaaam. The 8-month old Midge noses through the garden munching on peppers and slurping up snails!
THE AUTHOR IS IN: Kristine Albrecht, author of How to Hybridize Dahlias, had just sold over a thousand cut dahlias from her new refrigerated holding room at her “farm” in Soquel when we dropped by. Besides all the beautiful flowers for the bridal trade, Kristine had two long rows each of first and second year seedlings all in 4”x4” containers, side by side by side. In front of us, she eliminated a couple which weren’t up to snuff by yanking the entire pot out of the ground. Many already had tubers amongst the root masses. Several seed heads were covered with mesh bags after Kristine hand pollenated them. The latest addition to the farm is a glass Monarch Butterfly incubator. We watched as a female flitted around the two types of milkweed Kristine grows just for the flitterbys and deposited eggs on various leaves. Kristine puts these leaves in her enclosed incubator where they become caterpillars. Unprotected these caterpillars would be preyed upon by wasps which would either parasitize them or eat them outright. Within their glass encampment the caterpillars can thrive unmolested. Several pupae in various colors from green through smoky golden attached to the ceiling and walls of the Monarch House. Kristine reports releasing over 70 fledged butterflies already this season. How many ways to add to the beauty of our world?
SAN LEANDRO VIRTUAL DAHLIA SHOW: Curtis, Louise and Sue brilliantly organized a virtual dahlia competition. Check it out. How would you have voted? https://sldstuber-plants.sg-creations.com/
WHAT THE DELL? Parks Alliance Newsletter featured our photogenic Pat. Click to check her out. http://sfpa.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=6887.0&dlv_id=12354&pgwrap=n So glad to have so many visitors. Hillary and David Xi returned several times to take more photos for the ADS contest. Kevin brought his sweetie by. Lauren delivered more discarded venetian blinds. Thanks to Lucy for the 4×4” pots. Lilly brought her daughters by for a pleine air watercolor session. Mui dumped untold buckets of water on the back row and loved telling the public that the Pennhill Watermelons originated in South Africa. Nick, Erik and videographer Miguel took footage for a Dahlia Documentary Project. Pat and I were startled by three-part harmony emitting from Sue’s section; the singing nuns from India serenaded us!
OCTOBER: Such a crazy season! Our poor dahlias survived the week of Orange smog, then the Vesuvius Winter, then the heat wave. Who knows what October will manifest? You may notice that as the sun wanes, your stems attenuate; you get more popped centers sooner; whole stems turn brown. This is all natural. Keep aggressively cutting back to new growth and you may get another glorious flush of flowers if we get an Indian Summer run of warm days. As the days get shorter, you need to water less. Watch your plants: they will tell you when they want water by getting a little droopy. NO MORE FERTILIZER! NO! NONE. STOP. The wives’ tale argues that extra fertilizer after the first of October prevents the tuber skin from getting thicker and thus your clumps might be more likely to rot later on. Aggressively cut back to new hearty growth. Be severe. You may be amazed by a late October flush. My Mingus Nicoles and Nick Sr’s are just beginning to bloom. So magnificent! I’ve been spraying the cocktail: Stylet Oil and dishwashing soap. The caterpillars are going crazy right now, but there’s no show, so they might as well chow down in green abandon. This banquet’s for you!
ROGUE, LABEL, JOT NOTES: Get rid of unhappy dahlias. Throw them out! Do not compost. Trash them. If you have any “insurance” dahlias still in pots, plug these plants into the spaces opened up by judicious roguing. Make sure all your labels agree with the descriptions in the ADS Classification Book. I use pencil; it does not fade the way black Sharpies sometimes do. Pat, Lou, and Sue use laminated labels. Excellent!!! Lauren just liberated a bunch of old venetian blinds for me. I have enough to share if you need some. Make sure to note which of two or three bushes of a specific variety is your heartiest. Replant that one. Share the rest with your dahlia society. Note how tall your plant grew so you know where to put it next year. Note which dahlias you will not invite back to the party next year. The more you write down, the less you have to remember. You’ll be glad you did.
Enter the ADS Photography Contest. Check out Dahlia.org for all the details. Share dahlias with your neighbors, friends, cops, dentists and whomever else deserves some beauty in tough times.
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Dietz, Gaensler, Joseph, Lim, Obremsky, Rothchild, Tehrani, Wallace, Xu
Webmaster and membership genius: Devorah Joseph
Snail Mail Darling: Pat Hunter