To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: September 2013 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: September 10 @ 7:30 @ 9th and Lincoln 12 Program: Mini $how! All forms plus x3 and x5. Educate our group and win prize$. Bring any unnamed variety for possible identification. Who will bring treats to share???
WALK OF FAME…OR SHAME?
Deborah talked us through the minor and major sins of show dahlias. We noted that mortal sins included popped centers and single or no-leafed exhibits. While it’s ok for balls and waterlillies to be top facing, the 45 degree “attitude” is preferred; downward facing is almost the kiss of death. Short stems and longer, gracile stems were still preferred to wimpy, weak stems. Deborah demonstrated how larger hollow stems could be used as crutches or sleeves around thinner ones to suit a frog’s tines better. DJ repeated Erik G’s nostrum about competing: 80% of winning is just showing up. He encouraged all novices to bring their best blooms and let the judges weigh grave and slight sins on the balance of beauty. Deborah stressed that only through the annealing process of competition do we breed stronger stems, greater disease resistance, clearer colors, and more interesting forms. Deborah also set out napkins with a single petal from around the middle of 9 different dahlias. The challenge: id the form, perhaps the size and even name the exact cultivar from which each petal was plucked. Tough! From a hidden room, Deborah whisked out the actual blooms and alleviated much mystification.
SAN LEANDRO LIBRARY FIRST EDITIONS
The first show of the year always challenges us with getting our new cultivars to bloom by the first weekend in August. Wow! What a great collection of beauties convocated at the SL Library August 3rd. About 1 am Roy Stier wheeled in his stable of Clydsdale dahlias including a gargantuan Harvey Koop, so perfect we all knew we were competing for second best in show. Sure enough—standing proudly magnificent with a huge trophy next to it, Roy’s Harvey Koop earned obvious BEST IN SHOW. Tinnee waltzed in at 5 am with only a few blooms, but they were the RIGHT blooms; her x3 Elsie C’s went straight to the Court of Honor as Best Large Three. Peg clocked in with Smallest, a diminutive Stonliegh Joyce. DJ delighted Gerda by putting two Juul’s Amethysts on the head table, one for Juul’s Introduction and one for Most Unusual! Kevin and Karen from Corralitos Dahlias, astounded all with a glorious x7 Blown Dry—how did they carry it to the table??—as well as Best Waterlilly, Gwyneth, Floating Carmen Bunky, and Largest Dahlia in the world at 14 ¾, Creve Couer. Deborah landed Best Nx, Valley Porcupine, and Best Peony, Elvira as well as her perennially radiant Bi-Color x1 and x3, Jessica. They used her lovely Old Fashioned Bouquet on the Welcoming Table. Much to Team Dietz’s delight and amazement, . they also dazzled with People’s Choice, a malevolent Stillwater Brilliant and amassed enough points for Amateur Sweepstakes, to sit in great company with Iris for Novice Sweeps, and K&K for Open Sweeps. These honors notwithstanding, the table was otherwise littered with either Albrecht or Paradise winners. Our Lou accumulated Best B, Chimacum Julia; MBA, a new seedling; St, Camano Pet; NXO, Verrone’s Morning Star; Best Small, Aitara Caress; x3 Open Centered with his new seedling; x5 colors; 2013 Intro, Eden Predator; and Best Arrangement using HH Spider Woman to represent fireworks exploding near the Statue of Liberty’s crown. Kristine’s Clyde’s Choice, Best AA, practically growled at passersby.
Lou held a 2-hour judges’ seminar on form using great examples from the various tables. One question was why Oriental Dream is considered an nx and not an fd or a wl? Lou reiterated again that all our form definitions are humanly defined categories; nature does not care. Thus, some dahlias are betwixt our definitions. We use form constructs just so we can be fairer about how to begin judging one dahlia against the other. Oriental Dream is on the sliding continuum of FD and WL but not deep enough for an FD, nor cupped enough for a WL, but lovely enough to be grown and shown and thus an nx. You be the judge. Doug Almand brought blooming dahlia plants which the public bought right off the floor
NOTEWORTHY, NEW OR COOL
Part of the excitement of the first show of the year is to discover the new cultivars and be surprised by excellent versions of older varieties. Kristine’s April Dawn, b id lb, certainly fell into that category. Deborah showed x3 darling BJ’s Rival, an orange anemone. Corralitos Dahlias exhibited a stunning Lady Darlene and Gayland Rose. Doug Almand put up the best Bumble Rumble, col, seen in years. Leslie Rene, the M FD pr, introduced by Chris Dix is a must-buy for next year. Roy’s stable included Steve Meggos, an orange version of Spartacus. Pat showed a lovely orange ball, Blyton Softer Gleam, 6010. For a very tight pink Ball, Deva brought us Narrows Pam, 6008. Mortons introduced us to Clearview Lilly, 2217, a stunning two-tone SC and Bloomquist Sweet, 9013, rather like a NW Cosmos collerette. Deborah brought us a purple ruffled waterlilly, Karma Lagoon, 7309.
LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE
Dahlia aficionados always head straight for the seedling table. Wow! what great dahlias bloom on the horizon! Lou’s spotted orchid seedling went all the way to the Court of Honor. Tinnee displayed a big BB or smaller B very cactus-y yellow third-year full of promise. Iris and Kristine had us salivating with all sorts of stellar/novelty forms. Our future is bright!
AZTEC ACRES: special report from John Mani
Did you know that one of California’s largest commercial dahlia growers is an easy drive north from San Francisco? AZTEC DAHLIA’S is located in Petaluma, just off highway 101 freeway to the east at 2115 Adobe Road. Owned and operated by Jaime O’Brien and his wife Rosa, this 2 acre, 5000 plant dahlia farm has been in business for 12 years. Jamie and Rosa sell dahlia plants, tubers, and blooms to wholesale and retail buyers, servicing 11 farmers’ markets. They grow 430 different varieties. Buyers and dahlia enthusiasts are encouraged to wander through the neat rows of mature dahlia plants to make their selections. Operating hours are 10 AM to 5 PM, every day, during the growing season (June thru October). Go visit soon. You’ll love their dead head composting machines: young black angus chompers who bellow when the rejects aren’t forthcoming. Jamie says he’s already taking orders for 2014 via his website Aztecdahlias.com.
SAN FRANCISCO SUPER SHOW:
WoW! What a show we put on! Major congrats to Kristine Albrecht for winning not only Best Large in show with a fabulous Clyde’s Choice, but also Best Small in Show with Jomanda and Best First Year Seedling. How wonderful to see Gerda on the Court of Honor again with a basket of seedlings and x5 Disc Centered Matt Too. Curtis claimed a spot of honor with Best Almand Introduction, Al Almand. Tinnee’s x5 Camano Concords blazed grapely. Deborah accumulated Amateur Sweepstakes with Best Peony, Elvira; Best Nx, River’s Novelty; Best Micro, U2 Drew; Best x3 BiColored, Jessica; Best Variegated, Rolf, Best Maxwell introduction, Marcia Pat; and Best Bryn Teryfl. Devorah swamped the Head Table with Best A, Belle of the Ball; Hall of Fame, Hamari Accord; Flower of the Year, Verrone’s Morning Star; Best Ball, Eden Lemonade; Best Eden Testarosa; Best Paradise Intro, Eden Talos, Best Flower of the Year, Eden Barbarossa; Best x3 Disc, Cinder; and Best New Zealand Intro for the New Zealand Medal with Taratahi Ruby. Wow! Kevin and Karen of Corralitos Gardens nailed Open Sweeps. Here are a few highlights from the myriad Paradise winnings: Second Year Seedling; Best NXo, Verrone’s Morning Star; x3 Eden Barbarosa; Best Washington Intro, Lakeview Glow and Best California Intro, Eden Predator; and Best O with his mottled pink seedling. Thanks to John Morton for wrangling excellent judges.
Altogether Joe, our hard working DSC Treasurer, wrote almost $2,000 worth of checks to 26 oustanding winners. DSC money well spent!
SF NOVICE TRIUMPHS
The newest growers on the Hill in GG Park, Sue and Valeria, scored with Best Novice x3 No, Verrone’s Morning Star; Best x3 Min C, Badger Twinkle; Best x5 Pom, Ginger Willow; and a glorious Rancho which took a round trip to the Head Table as Best WL. Baker Bill killed again with his stunning Nick Sr, as well as cashing in on Best Stillwater Brilliant and Best SC A with Kenora Jubilee. Congrats to DJ with the smallest, Stoneleigh Joyce. Paula’s dainty NTac Eileen secured a Court of Honor ribbon for Best Col. Iris continued her Novice Sweepstakes domination so she will have to play with the Big Boyz next year. Congratulations to Nicholas for his run of the Junior Sweeps, with especially fine Pink Paradise and Birds Nest. Lawrence captured utter dahlia delight in his winning photograph. All in all over 14 Novices participated with more than 30 exhibitors total. Without you all we don’t have a show!
NEW AND COOL IN SF:
Devi’s scintillating orange col. Cinder caught many eyes at the Court of Honor. C G Amber, 3011, impressed many for its perfect regularity. Kristine’s Carmen Fiesta proved a different pale variegation. Mortons always bring new surprises: NTac Eliza a cool col, 9013, and Chimacum Pumpkin, spicy orange poms, 6203. Patrice must grow in a warm climate to get such fimbriation from Lakeview Curly, 2015. What a burgundy froth exploded Paula’s Normandy Wild Willy, 2510.
Considering that Chris Dix’ third year white fim seedling took all kinds of ribbons including Best x3 Small, his 3501 portends a terrific destiny. Lou’s O seedling again won Best O and Best Seedling. Iris hybridized a small BB or large min with petals striped orange and pink—arrestingly cool. Hollyhill Pinkie beware! Kristine’s m lc pink tutu can twirl circles around you. We see the beginning of different length petals in DJ’s second year dark blend. Curtis brought two snazzy seedlings: a pink m lc and a darling peppermint m ic. We have much to look forward to growing in our own gardens soon. To insure insightful futures, Lou held a “color” seminar for judges and clerks. Congrats to Deborah who passed her Senior Judge test. Tinnee promises to take the test soon, so bug her a bit……
Just as you can’t have a dahlia show without blooms, you can’t begin to mount a show without LOTS of people to make it work. Thanks to all who arrived early on Friday afternoon to shift tables and arrange show signs by the time first exhibitors began arriving at 8pm to start staging. Thanks to Tinnee for providing healthy goodies for all those staging overnight and early into Saturday morning. Thanks to Tony who began sweeping as soon as he finished knocking tables together; Tony swept us out Sunday night. Pat put out an A-frame dahlia show sign and Orlando attached “Free” to it to lure Golden Gate strollers into our show. Lou arranged for all the food and drinks for the judges’ lunch and Mary, angel of our hearts, kept it in or out of the ‘fridge, tidied the meeting area, and officiated back stage. Erik designed both chocolate and white dahlia covered cakes. If there were a category for marathon hosting, Shuatan would win; she sat at our membership table giving people reasons to join DSC and urging the public to vote for People’s Choice BOTH DAYS ALL DAY LONG! Sara, Stephanie, Avis, Devi, Debby, Pat, John D, Dick Meyers, and Gerda took turns, too. Barry photographed up a storm. Colleen and her sister, Lisa, took some of the better flowers after closing up to the Family House where relatives of children with cancer stay across the street from UCSF Hospital. Vince came directly from work to help Erik, Orlando, John, Deborah, and Lawrence break down the hundred tables and roll them back to the cave. Tinnee retired the photo screens to safety for next year. Gina helped several exhibitors collect and pack back their containers. Pat and Colleen rolled and rolled table cloths for reuse. It takes the entire DSC to build and survive our Floribunda! Well done!
Are your dahlias going crazy right now??? Do they sprout more buds as soon as you turn your back? Excellent. This is their glory month. Last chance to foliar feed with a nice cocktail of fertilizer, insecticide and fungicide. Remember to err on the dilute side. Caterpillars and aphids prove the nastiest critters this month. Make sure your insecticide covers these bugs. Throw a garden party to flaunt your blooms at their best. Give dahlias away. Watch people’s faces who are not familiar with dahlias; you will astound them. Keep setting gopher traps. Marilyn reveled in triumph stopping her first of many marauders. Have the winds been whipping up near you? Stiff breezes are great for the America’s Cup but not so splendid for dahlias. Practice some dahlia bondage. Ideally corral your plant with 3 stakes and lasso them in. Phil has been using two kinds of ligatures: one a plastic coated fat wire and the other, Velcro strips. Both gently secure the dahlia AND can be reused next year. If you have a greenhouse, or greenhouse-like bookcase, now is the time to make cuttings to winter over and provide cutting stock for spring. Look at the base of your large plants. If you see sprouts with 3 or more sets of leaves, nip them off at their bases and pop in a small container, ideally 2×2” or maximum 4×4.” Spritz but do not water heavily. They should root in 3-6 weeks. Check your labels now! Make sure the flower matches the description in the ADS Classification Book. If not, try to key it out. For id help, bring a bloom to the September meeting. Catch the final dahlia show of the year at the Valco Shopping Center in San Jose, Sept. 7-8. Throw out any non-performing, diseased, stunted or questionable dahlia now. Do NOT compost. Toss in the garbage. Make something delectable and come to our potluck picnic Sept. 21 from noon to 4. Or come early to help set up. Remember to wear layers; we’ve had scorching and arctic conditions in the past—even at the same picnic. Take pix for the 9 categories of the ADS photo contest. You can submit up to 2 digital pix per 9 categories. Send me pix of cool new dahlias or new dahlia technology or catchy things of note for our newsletter. PLEASE! Pop by the Dahlia Dell of a Saturday morning when a show is NOT going on to help disbud and deadhead. Wallow in this overabundance of beauty!:
Yours in Dirt,
Dahlia Society of California, Inc., San Francisco, CA — Copyrighted
Editor: Deborah Dietz
Page layout: Mike Willmarth
Photo credits: Cadell, Colleen, Dietz, Hart, Lawrence, Mani, Schulkin