To see the full original newsletter with all the photos click here to get the pdf: September 2020 Newsletter
NEXT MEETING: ZOOM September 8 at 7 PM. Mini-Show!! You are each invited to show up to 3 dahlias on Zoom. Know what the category is ( AA, A, B. ST, Wl, S etc) so you can show with your cohort. We’ll look at each one and evaluate positives and negatives and end up with a best of show. Moreover, if you have and Unidentified Super Something, we’ll try to key it out for a variety name. Do not bring water too close to your computer J.
Zoom meeting links and info:
Time: Sep 8, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 859 1258 6166
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Meeting ID: 859 1258 6166
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TRIBUTES AND TRIALS: Our second Zoom meeting had fewer technical glitches and a couple techy tour de forces. Erik let Devorah slave his terrific PowerPoint about how donors are able to name new dahlias developed from Lou’s seedlings. First Lou sows over 100 seeds from the previous year. When they bloom, Lou evaluates them for show-worthiness: do they have good form? Strong stems? Good color? Correct attitude? Something NEW??? 3-10 seedlings might pass this first critical stage. Lou saves those clumps and grows them again the next season at the Dell. If you spot a plant with a number, it’s a second, third or fourth year seedling. Each year a few more are discarded if they don’t develop along Lou’s discerning aesthetic. Finally in the fourth year, they need a name. That’s when Erik enters in; Erik auctions off the naming rights. So look for Eden Stacia, Eden Louise, Anne Hyde, or Eden Lucinda, or Eden Kirby. All these have paid for our meeting rooms, our show rooms, bought us a projector, and Devi’s editing programs. Thank you Lou and Erik!!!
ADS CLASSIFICATION BOOK: Who knew there were so many ways to use our ADS Classification Bible???? Deborah walked us through how to find the number of an unknown dahlia; how to name an unlabeled dahlia in your garden; how to discover where and by whom your favorite dahlia was hybridized; when was a variety first introduced; and how to evaluate the growing and winning potential of pretty pictures when you’re contemplating buying new treasures. Spectacular dahlias modeled her points.
ZEBRAS, GIRAFFES, AND OKAPI, OH MY! Peggy M sent in this special report: The Oakland Zoo is proud to have an on-site composting program. Manure from giraffes, elephants, zebras and other plant eaters is mixed with straw and hay along with fruits, veggies and coffee grounds then thrown into a scrapper which chews up all the materials. After being masticated in a composter machine, the manure is ultimately squirted into 60 foot giant plastic bags shaped like a tube. Within this tube, the material is heated up to 130-150 degrees for 3 months. The finished product is rich and 100% organic compounds that amend the soil. This compost feels rich, free of any odors, and is like a sponge when dampened with water in the garden. The compost is free to anyone. So if you want to come get the compost, it is open Monday to Friday during zoo operating hours. Important to know, you must bring your own shovel, gallon size garbage bags, 5 gallon buckets or truck. As you drive into the zoo, just tell the parking attendant at the entrance you are there for Zoo Poo and he will direct you to the maintenance yard of the zoo.
To get to the zoo:
Hwy 580 Eastbound, Exit is Golf Links Road/98th Ave.
Take a left off the exit under the freeway and follow the signs for the zoo.
9777 Golf Links Road Oakland
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW: Only a couple people sent in photos from their gardens, despite August and September being the glory days for our favorite flower. Louise has often posted wonderful little bouquets of her open faced beauties. Myrtle’s Folly delights Tara: such outstanding and unusual color! (BTW: Myrtle Bloomfield was the wife of Deborah’s Dahlia Godfather, Bob Bloomfield in Portland, Oregon. Both Bob and Myrtle mentored and indulged Deborah for over 20 years. Deborah is so happy when she sees Myrtle’s Folly, Myrtle’s Brandy or dear old Half Ass.)
Those humongous tin water troughs in last month’s newsletter have yielded humongous dahlias for the Gregorys. Their son Tut proudly displays their bounty. Kevin delights in his lovely Hilltop Kemper. The Wardens 150+ dahlias are blooming gloriously. Occasionally they take bouquets to the Botanical Garden officials to brighten up their counter. Marilyn also donates to churches, elderly programs and an art studio. What great ideas!
SHARING AND HEALING: Erik and Shelly bring bouquets to their respective hospitals around the Bay Area. Dahlias brighten patient waiting areas and staff break rooms–both of which fill with people who appreciate the extra color and cheer, particularly in these tricky times. Unlike our DSC shows, every bloom is a winner! No one has criticized the occasional popped center, crooked stem, insect damage or or even powdery mildew–though it helps that the dahlias can be staged without their first leaf pairs! The amount of public admiration for each bloom exceeds that at a regular show, except of course for the Court of Honor.
Fans names and e-mails are being collected for the 2021 sale. Current “People’s Choice” winners include the voluptuous dark red Spartacus and giant orange Eden Talos. Size matters! Rolf with is red/yellow variegation is also a big fan favorite, as are all bicolors.
Erik and Shelley plan to continue these displays until the season ends. Deborah has kindly supplied beautiful additional blooms–so Nick’s hillside patch is not picked bare. We bring our show containers with pin frogs to the hospital with our names stuck on them-with stern rules about getting them back! Sometimes if patients plead for a particular bloom it is hard to say no! Old plastic water bottles make great “take-out” transport containers, as they support the bloom (esp with the leaves stripped) and fit nicely into car cup holders for the trip home.
Maybe other DSC members can think of ways to share their dahlias with the public. Neighbors (including those you have not met–yet…), friends, local shops and restaurants doing take out are all delighted with blooms. Nursing/elder care facilities are also appreciative, but check first about their rules. A drop off at their door usually is fine, but use containers you do not want back–old mayonnaise jars, etc…or big paint buckets filled with blooms. These facilities usually have plenty of vases they can use.
ADS PHOTO CONTEST: Anyone can submit a photo taken in 2019-2020. It’s all about the dahlia, so the bloom should predominate the images. You are limited to 3 entries per category. Here are the 10 categories:
1. Undisseminated/Introductions Only one variety in the frame
2. Dahlia Portrait—single dahlia with official name
3. Two or more blooms with official names
4. Dahlia garden please id location or garden name
5. Dahlia Show/clubs/personalities Name club/event/person/dahlia exhibit
6. Macro view can include other elements like insects or water drops
7. Kids id child and dahlia/s
8. Critters dahlia should be well featured
9. Digital Darkroom name program used, black background fits here
10. Dahlia Selfie name cell camera used. YOU must be in pic
Photos can be submitted online or through the mail.
Mail Subbmission: no cd, only usb device; include paper list of images, entry class for each image, and image info. Mail to: Debby Pavich, 200 East Nikki Lane, Belfair WA 98528
Online Submission: send as email attachment; submit up to 3 per category on one email. Include in the text portion: entry class, image info and your contact info. Label the jpeg photo file attachment with the entry class and image id or title. For example: 6A (use B or C for second or third entries in the same category)Hollyhill Jitterbug with tree frog. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: November 15, 2020
Cash prizes for 1,2,3rd places. ADS gets royalty-free, non-exclusive license of all pix.
All of this can be found on the ADS website dahlia.org under the category news/events
HOT OFF THE PRESS: There’s a new dahlia book out by Santa Cruz grower, Kristine Albrecht and her husband Brion Sprinsock available through Amazon: DAHLIA BREEDING, a step to step guide to hybridizing new dahlia varieties from seed. Kristine has introduced over 50 new dahlias including KA’s Cloud, KA’s Khalisse and KA’s Champagne, winning the Lynn B. Dudley award and the Darrill Hart award TWICE!! Kristine is both practical and educational; hands on and speculative. Using the latest genetic information, she provides a list of dominant and recessive traits on which a breeder wagers germ plasm crosses. What lavish photos! Her pictures of the developing corolla, stigma, anthers and ovary are exceptional. She contrasts newly harvested pollen on a penny for proportion. In 8 shots, Kristine documents the maturing of a dahlia seed. You can follow Kristine’s seedling production on Instagram: santacruzdahlias or check out her website at Santacruzdahlias.com. Congratulations to Kristine and Brion for producing this excellent book during the Covid Pandemic.
THE HILL IS ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF …..DAHLIAS! Paula always has a spectacular show garden in the Tiburon hills, but this year is exceptional. What a marvelous spot to shelter in place! At our show in 2019, a winning bouquet by MBDS’s Iris beguiled Paula. So she planted every variety in that bouquet in one section of her garden. Wow! The Purple Flame stretches 6’ or more and contrasts with KA’s Rosie Jo and KA’s Champagne and Clearview Peachy. In another huge raised triangle, Paula grows dainty Hollyhill Pixie and For Robin. On the ledge before the hill slopes towards Sausalito blazes an orange hedge: massive Eden Talos, Bloomquist Butch, Bloomquist Jean, Bloomquist Pumpkin with Hollyhill Dr. Rick for contrast. Simply magnificent! FYI: Paula gave an erudite lecture via PowerPoint and Zoom on Compositae—the family to which dahlia belongs along with daisies, zinnias, asters, thistles and sunflowers. Fascinating! Check out the Master Gardener Programs near you.
DELL-A-GATION: The Dellians have enjoyed so many of you who have trecked out to the Dahlia Dell in Golden Gate Park. Tara came to learn about “cutting back to new growth” and stayed to snip and clip for a couple hours. Likewise, Karen, after rudely learning about the vehicle ban and trying to find walking routes into the Dell, specialized in snapping extra buds instead of pinching them, thereby leaving a smooth scar rather than crude stemlets. Karen quickly mastered the differences between formal decorative and informal dec and between the 3 cactus forms. So wonderful to see that John D. includes the Dell again on his Saturday morning walks. What do you get our favorite dahlia grower for her birthday? Debby F deadheaded and disbudded for 3 hours for Pat’s birthday. Great present!!! What a fine celebration of massive AC GPS, just for the Birthday Girl. Becky and Ed took a mini-vacation, driving up from Santa Cruz to picnic lunch at the Dell. They marveled at the lack of spider mites. Fortunately for San Franciscans, this is rarely our problem because spider mites like 80+ temperatures for a prolonged time. Ron dropped by to groom dahlias and talk dirt for a while. Steve delighted Deborah with a chocolate tasting of 4 snazzy “serious” milk chocolates. Alas, it should have been vodka it was sooooooo coooold! Lou seems pretty happy with some of his new seedlings. Check them out and see for yourself. They’re the ones with numbers rather than names.
SIMMERING SEPTEMBER: Wow! Almost 400 wildfires in California. The air is full of ashes. Our blooms are dusted with sediment of redwoods, lost homes, trapped critters and major LOSS. Please check in with your fellow growers to ascertain who is safe and who needs assistance. To clean my plants at home, I’m spritzing them off with plain water in the early morning. This will shirk off the grit and allow the moisture to evaporate before dark so as to attract the least mildew.
ROGUE AND LABLE: Any dahlia bush that is NOT thriving by now should be dug up and thrown in the garbage NOT THE COMPOST. Something is obviously wrong: disease, virus, bad genetics, something. You do NOT want it and neither does anyone else. It will not be better next year. Throw it out NOW. Go through your patch and make sure all your labels match the flowers. Use your ADS Classification Book. Take a note pad and write some observations. Keep for next year; donate to DSC; very tall, put in back next year; short, put in front; give extra fertilizer during the season; give extra support; give more calcium nitrate; move to more/less sun. The more notes you take now, the better decisions you’ll make next season. Rouging also includes deciding which is your better plant. Lou P usually grows 3-5 of the same variety. Right about now, he decides which single clump produced the best blooms. That is the one he will propagate for himself next year. Have you ever been to the glorious show at Swan Island over Labor Day? Swan Island has rows of 100 of the same variety. Amazing. If you look closely, there will be a couple dips in the long hedge of blooms where the plants are not as tall. They eliminate these. There will also be 4-5 that are taller, bigger, better; they will use these clumps for their cuttings for the next year. Both Lou and Swan Island want to perpetuate whatever that “better,” healthier, more wonderful something is. They ROGUE. I have a couple clumps whose blooms ALWAYS start open centered. They don’t pop quickly; they are NEVER closed centered, although they should be. For example, the little DotCom. I would rather replace it with a variety that will perhaps give me a few blooms in October and definitely provide good tubers in December than leave in a trashy plant just for the color. OUT OUT OUT! My ALWAYS open-centered Bloomquist Butch? OUT OUT OUT! Gone. Replaced by a late Clearview Lila.
CUTTINGS AND POT ROOTS: Have you noticed that your dahlias are making little shoots near the base of your plants? These are the ideal sprouts to make pot roots from. I usually wait until the sprout has 3-4 sets of leaves; gently pry it from the stem; pop it in a 1”x2” container of very loose potting soil; water well; LABLE; put it under lights for 4-6 weeks. When there are well established roots, I transfer it to a 4”x4” pot of slightly denser soil. When this looks well established, I transfer it to the garden. I plant the entire thing—pot and all—into the ground so the lip is even with the surface of the soil. You can get 16 pot roots in a wee spot only 16” x16.” This is like putting varieties in the dahlia gene bank.
Share your dahlias! I put my deadheads on my front steps for my neighbors to pick up. Iris puts hers by the back path adjacent to her property for her neighbors. Peggy takes bouquets into her hospital. Erik and Shelly litter their clinics. How do you share??
Yours in dirt,
Photo credits: Albrecht, Dietz, Gaensler, Gregory, Hendrikson, Joseph, Shawaf, Sprinsock, Wallace
Membership and Layout Genius: Devorah Joseph
Snailmail Benefactor: Pat Hunter