To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: September 2018 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: September 11, at 7:30 PM. Program: Novice Only Mini-Show. Novices, collect those gorgeous blooms and bring them along. Enter Singles of all 21 forms and bring 1 3X and 1 5X. Also, hopefully a discussion on keeping bees safe from spraying.
VERMICULTURE MADE EASY: Booka Alon, designer and manager of the Learning Garden at Jackson and Mariposa, demonstrated how to make a worm bin. Take a plastic box, drill air holes , add layers of cardboard, shredded newspaper, compost and at least a pound of worms. Not nightcrawlers: they are divers. Red wigglers are surface dwellers, so a better bet. Did you know that earthworms are NOT native to America? They originated in Africa. Our Northwest hosts 18” long WHITE monsters. Wow. Worms do not attack our compost; rather they digest the shiny bacteria that starts to decompose our compost. Booka guestimates that a good worm bin goes through about a pound of kitchen castoff a week. Beware tossing rice, bread, oil, cheese or meat because they will lure maggots to your worm bin. Booka’s demonstration would be perfect for all kinds of parties. Imagine every birthday kid going home with a new worm bin for their kitchen! Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JUDGEMENT AT LAKESIDE: Once again Lou led us through the decision tree to come up with Best in Show. John M performed a credible Vanna impersonation, ferrying appropriate example dahlias to the fore. With FORM at 28 points and COLOR at 22 it’s obvious that the bulk of value rests on the BLOOM. Stem and leaves max out at 10 points each; so even a couple holes, a little mildew, a nasty bugmunch, still hardly detract from THE BLOOM. Do you know the difference between tone, hue and tint? Tone is the level of grey: Bad news. Hue is a snazzy word for color; but VALUE means how much white (tint) or black (shade) obscures pure color. CHROMA is the strength or weakness of color; in other words, saturation. Now you know. When do you use brackets in signifying a bloom description? In the rare cases that the DOMINANT color comes from the REVERSE or the ray florets; for example Fidalgo Julie is ST RD [RD23]/YL4. Brackets can sometimes be found describing ST, NX and ID such as Nick Sr. What is a TWO TONE blend? This is when a dahlia has two distinct color petals, but no petals have both colors on them; for example the inner 2-3 rounds of ray florets may by yellow and the outer 3-4 rings may be orange. It was great seeing so many dahlianistas and so many lovely dahlias.
FLORIBUNDA! SF THROWS A GREAT SHOW! Friday afternoon so many volunteers filled a cavernous shell with over 100 tables, screens, signs, and banners. Tremendous, sweaty work. By 6:30 exhibitors began staging blooms. All through the night and into early morning dahlias debouched. Tinnee delivered delicious sandwiches, (spicy Italian!) fruit and cookies, fuel for the long siege. Thanks to the Harts from donating luscious figs and to Chris for home-grown tomatoes and striped cucumbers. Shelley’s super croissants disappeared in a gulp. Colleen set up a dozen orange buckets donated by Home Depot for exhibitors to put their excess blooms in. With Nick’s help, she created The Great Wall of Dahlias Photo Op Stop. She built a ledge in the back for children to stand on; there were 2 “windows” for faces. What an installation! Lines of people waited for their photo opportunity both days long.
THANKS to all the judges and clerks who made this show possible, including Kevin and Karen who drove up from Corralitos even without blooms. Over thirty entrants ranging from age 4 and 7 with Miles and Reid to pressing nonagenarian Roy, created quite a competition. Many quoted Lou L, “ It’s lucky to get to the Head Table, but its hard to stay there.” The final winnowing delivered us Best Open Centered in show to novice, Louise Hendrikson, with her darling Lo-Redeye. Devi’s only question was whether her Best Full Double Large, Hart’s Autumn Splendor or Best Double Small would get Best in Show. Devi’s Chimacum Davi prevailed! Devi didn’t realize that she’d won the whole shebang, until it hit her as she fabricated the winners’ cards for the Court of Honor at midnight on Saturday! Major major congrats and THANK YOU’s to Devi! How can this be the last year for her Cabrillo Gardens? Tom and Chad made a real bid for Novice Sweepstakes, taking Best Flower of the Year, Best Washington Intro, Chimacum Troy, Best Novice Mulitple, Embrace, and Best Novice Bloom, Hollyhill Bill M. Ultimately, Pat Hunter prevailed! This was Pat’s first Sweepstakes! Way to go! What a fitting birthday surprise. Just to clarify, Sweepstakes goes to the grower who amasses the most points in the A, B, and C sections. (1 point for a red; 3 points for a blue and 5 points for anything higher than blue.) Lou secured Amateur Sweeps with Best B, Chimacum Julia; Best Stellar, Camano Pet; and Best x5 Open with his new orchid seedling. Kristine handily amassed Open Sweepstakes with Best BB, Pink Paradise; Best Pom, Pop Willo; and both Best x5 double, Maks Lori Jean and Best x5 Double Small, Rose Toscano. Wow! Novice Sue locked her spot on the Court of Honor with BJ’s Rival, Best Anemone. Another novice, Tony P, was delighted to see that his honking AC Pillow ascended to Best AA and his luminous Wildwood Marie to Best Waterlily. Apprentice no longer! John Ko’s lovey Veca Lucia achieved Best San Francisco Introduction. Nicholas, despite first-time competition, secured both Best Junior Bloom and Best Junior Multiple with Eden Benarys. Deborah entered a bedraggled but BIG Wyn’s King Salmon in the Largest Dahlia in the World. The Mortons topped her 11 ¼ with a 13 ¼” Pennhill Watermellon. But glowering over these, Iris’s monstrous Maki at 14 7/8” demanded the $50 Baker Prize. Zowie Wowie, Iris!!! Click here for the full show results.
Thanks go out to Maggie and Don who presided over the Membership Table from 9 am to 1pm urging the public to vote for People’s Choice, answering questions, and accepting memberships and renewals. Did we have more visitors thanks to Tom and Chad’s wonderful donation of FaceBook bursts to the Bay Area gardening demographic? Thanks to Marilyn, Joe, Tenaya, Debbie, Pat and John for their enthusiastic stints under Tinnee’s magnificent banner. Major gratitude goes out to Lola for caring for all the food both days and assuring that the potato salad staunched appetites but didn’t cause food poisoning. Linda typed until 10 PM inputting all our results on her computer; then Devi took her emailed “baton” and spent until after midnight printing out all the award cards and putting them into frames. Tinnee, thank you for designing our stunning red and yellow ribbons. Ten alluring blooms vied to attract public votes including a stunning Snoho Storm, a ruffled Stevie O, a crackling Show ‘n Tell, and a malevolent Hollyhill Spider Woman practically crawling out of its container. Which one? Tony says he’s glad he didn’t throw away his humongous Harvey Koop because of its popped center and instead WON the People’s Choice. (Pat says even though Tony helped tally all the votes, that the results were legitimate…..) Major Congrats, Tony!
NEW AND COOL: So many of us look forward to the first show of the season to see the latest genetic combinations of our favorite flower. Kristine’s new seedling, KA’s Champagne taxed the 3 senior judges to determine color. It’s petal, a very pale yellow, was influenced by a rosy obverse. Ultimately, ADS Classification Chairman, Lou P, determined that the eye saw a Dark Blend. Congratulations to Kristine’s KA’s Champagne for the ADS Seedling Award. Lou’s Seedling, My Pagoda, a pink IC holds promises. Iris’s AC Holy Cow truly evokes that response, 0309, AA C PR from 2017. BIG. How did the Mortons get that darling Allen’s Pink Treasure, 3505, BB LC DP, 2018? Deborah’s Knee Deep, 3506, BB LC R not only kept its lustrous Chinese lacquered red sheen without fading but laciniated in San Francisco! From 2017, Tahoma Curve, 3311, BB C BR, caught many an eye. Who added Devi’s Lexa, 2413, B IC DP/Y, 2014 to their wish list? Imagine catching Eden Patricia B SC OR/Y with the eponymous Pat holding them???
STILL DAZZLING: Here are a few that still stopped me in my tracks. Chris Dix continues to grow the most amazing Normandy Orange Fluff. Such laciniation! Love the 2-tone Blown Dry, 2110, with the yellow center surrounded by fluffy orange petals. Sue’s Thomas Edison, 2109, emits such glorious perfervid purple wavelengths! A 1929 Intro still growing amazingly. Speaking of perfervid purple, Paula’s River’s Purple Pinwheel, not only knocked purple out of the ball park, it was one of only 4 Novice x5’s! In one of its rare consistencies, Lou’s Fickle, rocked purple with white tips. Designed by Fabrege, Kristine’s diminuative Skipley Spot of Gold, proved an object d’art.
Skipley Spot of Gold, 4005, is a fabrege wonder; Kristine’s pristine pink with wee golden points stunned as an object d’art.
CLEAN UP CONTINUES SMILES: So many people pitched in to clear the Gallery in a mere 2 hours! So many people ran containers to exhibitors rapidly drying and storing vases. Colleen filled her dozen Home Depot buckets with winning blooms for the Family House at UC San Francisco Hospital. Likewise, Erik, filled a bucket for his radiology waiting room. Chad keeps his Emergency Room filled with beauties. Lola found homes for our leftovers. Pat recycled our pencils and dots for next year. Tinnee and Craig lugged off the huge white screens back to the Pottery Building to await next year’s photos. Thank you to everyone who contributed to a splendid show!!!
Family House wrote us: “Thank you to our friends from the Dahlia Society of California, San Francisco for donating the beautiful flowers from this weekend’s Dahlia Show! Though the show is over, Family House families will get to enjoy them while they are still fresh and gorgeous. We look forward to this donation every year.”
ANNUAL GARDEN PICNIC: September 8 at the Dahlia Dell. Erik reprises his festive potluck picnic replete with Gigi the Clown, face painting, mounted police, fire engine, and tables for food food food. Bring something yummy to share, invite friends, family, neigbors and those you might infect with the dahlia bug. Surely the spirits of Joanne smiling and Bill playing Scrabble will lend to our joy. Erik says he would appreciate any help setting up in the morning around 9. Party gets into swing around noon.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? What is the secret to Curtis’s clean blooms? Look how his shade cloth protects his dahlias not only from the formidable sun in Walnut Creek, but also from bits of debris sifting through the air. John reports that they set up a security cam to warn them if people were lurking near their house. It just kept ringing! No wonder. The Shen Yuen Art School brought youngsters to sketch at our hillside. So fun. John brought a friend to help disbudding and deadheading at the Dell. Look how patiently Helen manicures wee Elvira.
SPREADING THE WORD: Both Deborah and Erik have been leading docent tours around the Dahlia Dell. Audiology students from UOP listened acutely to Erik’s genetic discussions of 64 chromosomes and octoploid DNA strands. Erik donated his speaker’s check after regaling the St. Paul Tower’s crowd. Deborah’s book/travel group loved her rendition of “why there are no blue dahlias” a la Dr. Virginia Walbot. Erik took his carousel o’pix on the road and has a couple donors waiting to name new Lou cultivars. Paula shared her PowerPoint Presentation with Master Gardeners in Marin. Bob Papp dismisses all those new-fangled techy tricks, and delivers Show and Tells at least once a week to garden clubs throughout SoCal. He brings in buckets of blooms and raffles them off at the end. “That way they stay through all my jokes.” Way to Go, Dahlia Ambassadors!
SEPTEMBER SOMETHINGS: Only 2 shows left: San Leandro Sept. 8-9, and the Heirloom Expo Sept. 11-12-13. Last opportunities to get your beauties in the 2019 ADS Classification Book. I’ll get free passes for anyone who’ll sit a couple hours at the Dahlia Information Table in Santa Rosa. Fascinating Speakers, great food, amazing vegetables, colorful people.
If you trim your plants back severely, you may get a wonderful flush of new growth. Keep cutting back to new growth and you’ll have dahlias blooming at least through Thanksgiving. Give them one more healthy fertilizing. Sue has been mixing milk and dishwashing soap to thwart mildew; Chad mixes in a little vinegar into his cocktail spray. I’ve been plying Stylet Oil, but the mildew is indomitable. Beware of aphids. Usually they begin by populating a single bud. Simply cut off this bud and you remove the problem. The winds have kicked up in SF because of the difference between the hot inland valleys and the crummily cold coastal San Francisco. Dahlia Bondage is the order of the day. Phil uses reusable Velcro and flexible wire bonds. Many professional growers use Hortonova in successively higher levels. I use plastic string. Don’t let your beautiful babies get beaten up in the breezes.
ROGUE! Now is a great opportunity to begin rogueing. Eliminate any dahlia bush not thriving. Do NOT put it in the compost; trash it in the garbage never to infect your garden again. Do it NOW. Next: if you grow 2 or more of the same varietal, determine which is the better. Mark it. Is the other adequate to donate to our DSC in April? OK. Use cuttings or tubers from your BEST for next year. Check all your names against the ADS Classification Book’s definition. If it says light blend pink and white and yours is yellow and pink, something is hinky. NOT Right. Bring unnamed lovelies to our DSC meeting in the hopes of proper identification. In Lou P’s immortal words: A dahlia without a name is a WEED.
Time to throw a garden party. It doesn’t get better than this! Give glorious blooms away. A single bloom lights up a whole room and invokes marvel. Be profligate! Blow people’s sox off!
Exhibit in San Leandro and the Heirloom Expo or at least visit and admire.
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Baker, Bevilacqua, Byers, Dietz, Gaensler, Heggie, Joseph, Maxwell, Messina, Parshall, Wallace
Webmaster, layout and distribution: Devi Joseph
Snail Mail: Patricia Hunter