To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: October 2023 Newsletter
Tuesday, October 10 at 7:30 at 9th and Lincoln. Program: the last Mini $how. Doors will be open by 6:30 so please be all set up by 7:30. Do print up your labels in advance. Let’s see who knows how to cut down to new growth producing winning blooms in October. We’ll also discuss how to optimize tuber production and how to prepare our gardens for winter.
SPECTACULAR NOVICE ONLY MINI SHOW
Wow! So many of you brought so many beautiful and wondrous dahlias for us to enjoy with a baker’s dozen exhibitors and over 60 blooms. Deborah judged the cohort narrowing down to the Final Five which she left up to the membership to vote for their Best of the Best.
Brigid’s Ryecroft Helen and Pat’s Blyton Softer Gleam went petal a petal but Lisa’s magnificent Roque Starburst prevailed as Best in Show. Lisa’s Liquid Desire, a NXO, raked claws of covetousness in judge Deborah. Tim showed us several new varieties including Cleo Laine and Bloomquist Alan. What a honking anemone, Mambo, exhibited by Jessica! Many people noted who grew what for future swapping plans. Jenna gleefully distributed ca$h prize$.
GENEROUS GOODIE BRINGERS
John D brought several wisteria cuttings to give away. Thank you to Jenna who brought us Brownie Bites and to Debbie who stole apples from her tree from the rotten rats who tried to eat them all. Alex and Allison brought Tate’s chocolate chip cookies. Especial thanks to Patricia who ALWAYS donates treats EVERY meeting. We gobbled up her cashew clusters! Part of community is taking care of each other, however we choose to do it. Bringing goodies to our meeting is such a delicious way of contributing to the good of our Dahlia Society of California! Jen brought blank exhibitor cards. Thank you to all the people who contribute in so manny ways.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?
At the end our August Floribunda! Julia collected buckets of not-yet-spent blooms at DSC’s tear down. Julia’s team sent 36 bouquets to CPMC and another 6 to Portola Gardens! What a lovely way to recycle our winners while brightening up some otherwise sterile situations. Thank you, Julia!
NATIONAL DAHLIA SHOW: PORTLAND
Right on the Columbia River, the hotel offered practically unlimited (gasp from San Francisco) parking. Because temperatures rose over 90 degrees all 5 days, the Oldenkamps donated a huge refrigerator truck to keep blooms cool until staging time. Volunteers erected a huge banner with logos and a strip of red carpet for walk of fame photos. Deborah, her brother Tom, and her amazing twin nephews Lawson and Hunter joined the army of volunteers to help set up on Thursday including punching tags in the Boutique items. The indefatigable Shirley B took a “quilting tour” of Washington, visiting 40 shops. She bought up all kinds of dahlia-printed material and parceled it out to the sewers in PNDC. They produced amazing items: darling aprons, pot holders, eye glass holders, make-up bags, car garbage covers and many many more. A local jeweler, Barbara Caffarati, sold fused glass wearable art. Two magnificent quilts hung elicited raffle ticket buyers. Julene refereed the volunteer army and solved emergencies (if we could clone Julene we’d achieve world peace in a couple weeks). Thursday night friends from social media met in the flesh for the first time and past ADS pals reconnected over the Covid Years. At the end, we all pitched in to collect the lovely table decorations and move them to the next event. (Yes, it involved wine.) Friday involved watching people from all over the world arrive, many with dahlias. Heather used this pictured box to bring 6 dahlias, two of which eventually landed on the Head Table!! Check out Erik Toedli with his 6 Sir Alf Ramseys, only to be eclipsed by Ryan L’s humongous Kenora Clyde at 13 3/4”. Rumor has it that the Kenora Clyde on the Court of Honor nosed out at 14 1/2”. Wow. (Special kind of sun in the Pacific Northwest!) Tinnee wrote tags for Mark and Laura through the wee hours of the night.
Saturday morning judging teams of 3 judges and two clerks fanned out to deliberate. There were over a dozen splendid blooms on the seedling bench for evaluation. After lunch Deborah learned that her supposed Dahlia 101 talk for beginners was filled with major hybridizers, champion growers and writers of articles. On the fly she pivoted to Dahlia 10,007! The audience laughed as she used her body to illustrate turning “tightly rolled doobie” petals of a straight cactus into incurved varieties. She challenged her learned crowd about all the other color combinations that are NOT covered by the official ADS 15 colors presently: two-tones, tri-colors, or combos with the two sides of a petal being starkly different (like My Hero or Nick Sr.). For another treat, we listened to 5 famous hybridizers answer questions: Dick Parshall of Clearview Dahlias; Ted Kennedy of Hollyhill; Alan Manuel of Alan’s; Wayne Loubaugh; and Allen Kaas of Maks beginning with the “origin story” of their nom du plantes. What a magnificent banquet! Our Lou Paradise and John Morton both won ADS medals: Lou for serving 10 years as ADS Classification Chair and John for serving on the ADS Judging Handbook Revision Committee. Major Congratulations to our great guys!!!
NEW AND COOL
What a smorgasbord of gorgeous NEW and New-to-me dahlias were on display in Portland! Check out these two M FD V: Brooklyn from Susan Derry and Newaukum Fun from Vicki Baulig. Vicki also showed an exquisite x3 Lakeview Premier BB FD L. Connie YoungDavis showed both a x3 Clearview Pastille B SD LB and a fabulous x5 Clearview Sarah BB SC W. The x3 stellar AC Tweedly Dee performed well for the Andersons. A darling entry into a sparse category, HGB Rose Marie served Tiffany Jacob well. What could be better than a single Agape Circus B SC V? Three Agape Circus from Lamb/ Pavich! Outstanding on the seedling evaluation bench was Allen Manuel’s gorgeous B SC DB. Dick Parshall’s Clearview Cameron ascended to Best in Show.
There were so many lovely arrangements. A couple standouts: Vista Minnies from Patty Boyten and this lovely pink cascade whose name I could not read. The Court of Honor was crowned by a couple of massive displays and baskets. Wow!
Sunday, we took buses to Judy Hargreaves’s home. Overlooking the Columbia River and the airport, we immediately saw 3 double garages in an ultra-modern glass and stone house straight off the cover of Architectural Digest. A artist in her own right, Judy apologized for the horrible windstorm that hurled its way up the Gorge and battered down so many of her lovely dahlias. We gasped at her airconditioned greenhouse, larger than many homes! Then on to Dan and Vicki Baulig’s where the first thing we noticed was the ham radio tower anchored with industrial guy wires—obviously by people who do nothing by half measures! Such beautiful plants: no mildew anywhere! Vicki grows the most fanciful Stevie O’s—a whole 6 1/2’ bush worth. Alan Manuel shot photos of every purple bloom in Vicki’s plot. “If you want to breed purple blooms, start with purple dahlias.” Hollyhill Tiger Lily and Barbary Apache (BB FD DR) stood out.
Sunday night everyone helped tear down the show. Congratulations to our Kauna and her winning ribbons! Kauna toted vases for the Birch Bay/Sandia hybridizers Sandy and Steve Boley. We Bay Area growers enjoyed a group picture. Check out the BIG ribbons for such small winners!
On Monday the long-anticipated tour of Ted and Margaret Kennedy’s Hollyhill Garden thrilled everyone. It sold out. They added another bus and it sold out again. Very Very popular! Everyone thronged to the seedling beds to see our future. Congratulations to Portland for hosting such an exemplary National Show! Next year the National Dahlia Show will be in Wenachee, Washington, home to many legendary hybridizers, so the tours should also be fabulous.
RACHEL PERLS: TWO OPENINGS!
Congratulations to our resident artist, Rachel Perls, for being included in the DeYoung’s show! Wow. Major. You are also invited to Rachel’s Open Studio. https:// www.artspanart.org/sfos2023 If you want to follow Rachel, here’s the link: https://www.rachelperls.com/ subscribe Steve and Deborah caught up with Rachel at the Noe Valley Art Festival. We loved her big and small works of art including her darling dahlia magnets!
WALK ’N TALK TWO
Over 60 people thronged to the Dell to hear Deborah, Sarah, Mini and Erik talk about aspects of our beloved teardrop and hillside. Deborah described complicated genetics and spun some fun hybridizing stories about our Lou. As Sarah cavailed over the plague of PHD gophers besetting the hillside, who peered out of his hole— right on cue!—but said PHD gopher! Egads. Not daunted by so many many people crowded around his front tier devastation zone, this little beast blithely munched his lunch. Grrr! Erik demonstrated tubers and upcoming DigOuts. Mini explained how she trained on Elvira and worked her way up to “The Petting Zoo.” Many people subsequently asked her about volunteer possibilities. Jenna collected emails for our Tuber Sale, talked up our show and sold 12 memberships as well as explaining some of the history of DSC at the teardrop. Erik proposed that we might offer yet another Walk ’n Talk about digging up, dividing and storing tubers?
PORTLAND DAHLIA CHAT
As he does every month, Dan Baulig will referee an on-line zoom chat about dahlias. Take this opportunity to hear other opinions, ideas, questions and solutions and ask questions yourself. Ted Kennedy (Hollyhill) often sits in.
Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86144472186? pwd=YmtUalRRb21hTlhnNnJQUXhlSEw2QT09
Meeting ID: 861 4447 2186
START THE NEW YEAR BEAUTIFULLY
Alan Fisher from the Capital Dahlia Society again offers a dahlia calendar. For prices, go to nationalcapitaldahlia.org. At the top, hit “calendar sales.” If anyone wants to step up to organizea group order for DSC, the price goes down with multiple orders.
Stephanie turned her brush towards complicated dahlias with amazing acuity. Her modus operandi includes taking photos in the wild and painting in the calm of her studio. Check out a couple of her intricate paintings. firstname.lastname@example.org
CASA PERALTA = CASA DE KRISTI
At first, Kristi created a dahlia patch at Lakeshore Park in Oakland. Then when Roy lost his helper to early dementia, Kristi pitched in at Casa Peralta, the house museum at 384 W. Estudillo Ave. in San Leandro. Eventually, Roy decided that the dahlia garden he had lovingly tended for so many years so close to the San Leandro library had found its heir; so Roy retired (at 90 years old!). Kristi set about cleaning out what turned into an amazingly large storage space and made it lockable—very important in an open public space. Next she investigated various water schemes and devised a brilliant project whereby she tapped into the existing underground pipes. Growing 250 plants including Woodlands Wildthing and Manor Jayne keeps her busy. When Kristi discovered that her Brookside Snowball seemed immune to mildew, she began hybridizing towards that desired trait. Because it gets very hot in San Leandro, Kristi mulched with straw, not a bad choice in itself. But….the straw bred unforeseen consequences: feral cats loved the insulation quality of her soft mulch and would burrow in for the night, bringing with them their feral fleas. Kristi adapted by wearing knee-high boots and spraying her legs with insect repellant. Living and Learning.
DISBRANCHING FOR YOU
Larry Smith has released another short educational video about disbranching your dahlias. Check it out. https://youtu.be/gZVPmLnWuBY
DAHLIAS: A MONTHLY GUIDE
Deborah picked up a lovely 50- page year-of-dahlias guide put out by the Puget Sound Dahlia Association: great pix and good advice. She particularly liked its explanation of the various forms with both the ADS info and then more common thoughts on the form distinctions. You can order it through the Puget Sound Dahlia Association for $5 plus shipping. They lower the price and shipping costs if multiples are ordered, in case a few people want to get together.
DSC hopes to have our 2024 Show Schedule out by New Year’s! That way we will all know what the $pecial categorie$ and the Flower$ of the Year are so we can order and grow them. To this end, please consider sponsoring something. Pat likes to put up $25 for Nature’s Oddity. Deborah loves sponsoring People’s Choice and Old Fashioned Bouquet. Look at our 2023 Schedule. Is there something there you’d like to sponsor? Is there a special flower or hybridizer you’d like to promote with sponsorship? Paula loves orange cactus dahlias and so she sponsors this category. Peggy and Lucy co-sponsored The Largest Dahlia in the World for a whopping $50! Please contact Deborah as soon as possible. Do you have candidates for Flowers of the Year? We need both a fully double and an open centered.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
Out in Lodi it gets HOT, so Ken and Kathy built a shade house covered with shade cloth. Even delicate orchids like Eden Tie Dye thrive in their special environment. Well done! Katy took a flower arranging class and look what she produced!
DAHLIA DELL DOINGS
All the volunteers want to thank Loren for his bi-weekly deliveries of tart apples and zucchini from his garden. What treats! When Steve and Deborah came Monday evening to spray for mildew, who greeted them but John and Annette. John disbudded while we talked about new and cool dahlias. Sue asked Deborah to take some cuttings of her rarer varieties in the hopes that they would compensate if the tubers fail due to early disinterring. Erik, Sarah, Joe and Sue hope the Hillside Project really will commense November 15—such a long-awaited improvement! Lou has literally let his section “go to seed.” A hybridizer begins with seeds and seeds begin with pollinated dahlias trashing out and loosing petals on their stems. Tinnee, Pat and Jerry rake their quarter to Zen perfection. Check out their new cultivar, Salish Twilight Girl, for unusual form. Do stroll around the Dell whilst it’s still radiating its autumnal glory.
As the light dwindles, so will your dahlia plants. To ensure decent flowers, disbud and even double disbud—that means instead of removing just the pair accompanying your main terminal bud, go down to the next level and disbud it as well. This will put all the energy that would have gone into those 9 pitiful little flowers into one gorgeous and strong one. Depending on our labile weather, you will probably need to water less. Let your dahlias tell you. If they are erect and fully turgid, NO WATER; only when they start to sag, then water. I’m going between 10 days and 2 weeks inbetween major waterings now. No more fertilizer! You want your dahlias to begin plumping up tubers. I will continue with anti-mildew cocktails through October but without the liquid fertilizer or Spinosad.
ROGUE AND LABEL
Pull out those dahlias that have not been up to snuff. If you don’t think people at our Tuber Sale would be happy growing it, don’t save it. Toss it NOW. Walk through your patch and make sure all your labels are correct and are legible. Use pencil or pencil with Sharpie on top.
LATE SEASON CUTTINGS
Have you noticed that some of your naked lower stems have suddenly re-sprouted? Your dahlia is trying to make a few more blooms and seeds with the waning light. Take this excellent opportunity to make late season cuttings. Unfortunately, several of our favorite dahlias come up bupkis in the tuber department: e.g. Rolf, Belle of the Ball and Jessica. Late season cuttings give you a little insurance against loosing popular (or expensive) varieties from this season. Step 1. Find a sprig with at least 3 leaf pairs. 2. Gently prize it off the stem with your fingers maintaining its ultimate node. 3. Snip the lowest leaf pair off. 4. Put in a 1x1x3” starter or in a synthetic grow-plug. I use a mixture of lush potting soil well tossed with perlite. 5. Water immediately. 6. LABEL! 7. Put under 18 hour light. Some people fill a container and enclose it to keep the humidity high. Lou L. used to put a whole flat of 64 containers under a dome and fignored it for 3 weeks. I find that wee roots begin forming 3-4 weeks along in my heatless greenhouse depending on ambient temperatures. When many roots extrude through the bottom holes, I transplant into a 4×4” container and leave under the lights. Try it. It’s fun and satisfying.
POT ROOT EXPERIMENT
I’m experimenting with my leftover 4×4” cuttings. After my houseguest, Kevin Woodson, cleared out my blackberry-infested beds, I raked it clean of roots, rocks and kitty poop and larded it with granular balanced fertilizer. Then I placed my 4×4” cuttings side by side and filled in all the cracks with more soil. The area gets watered but not really tended. I am hoping that all these cuttings (Jessica, Belle of the Ball, Rolf, Bloomquist Vivian R, Foxy Lady, Bloomquist Jeff et al.) will make mini-tubers confined to the size of the 4×4” container. The roots will flow out the weeny holes in the bottom of the 4×4” and into the soil, but the fibrous tubers will stay in their little black containers, thus producing pot roots. What’s so wonderful about pot roots? They often have almost as many eyes as the same roots that would have sprawled out unconfined by plastic edges. So pot roots can be used on a cutting bench in early January or February to produce lots of cuttings for our April Tuber Sale. Moreover, with a little 4×4” of dirty real estate, I can secure “insurance” for my own planting in early spring in case of poor tuber production at the Dell. I’ll let you know how this turns out.
I am in need of two volunteers to help out on Saturday mornings with deadheading, disbudding, weeding and watering pots. We’ll also make some late season cuttings. If you feel you could dedicate 2-3 hours most Saturday mornings, please let me know.
Bring your last glorious blooms to our October Mini Show! Come at 6:30 to set up with official exhibitor entry cards. We all learn from every exhibited bloom. Share one more flush of beautiful glory before we put them all to bed.
Yours in dirt,
Photo Credits: Dietz, Esparza, Gaensler, Getzler, Kaiser, Kurhan, Young-Davis
Web and technical geniuses: Payam, Laura, Mini