Portland Dahlia Society Bulletin
Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda

Editor:  Teresa Bergman (360) 274-8292 Contacts:  Ted Kennedy, 503-655-6951, Jeanette Benson (503) 649-4118
Next meeting Tuesday, April 11th, 2006 @ 7:00 pm ***(Note earlier starting time)

It’s that time of year again … time for the PDS’s biggest fund raising event of the year.  All members are urged to
participate in this event that raises the needed funds to pay for our annual show and other events during the year.    If
you didn’t get your tubers to the tuber workshop, it’s not too late to bring them in.  Donations are down – probably
because of a bad production year for many of us.  Please dig deep and donate what you can.    Listed below are
things you need to know to help make it another very successful auction and sale.

1.  Be sure that each tuber is clean, plump and has a live eye.  In other words, DON’T SUBMIT TUBERS YOU WOULDN’
2.  It would be ideal to put each tuber in a plastic baggie with a label on the outside.  If that isn’t possible, be sure each
tuber is marked with the name of the variety, the classification and the color.  Consult your ADS Classification Manual
for correct classification data.  
3.  Note that the starting time is 7:00 p.m.  Some changes have been made this year in how the sale and auction are
going to run and it is going to take longer to get things set up.  Some of us plan to be at the church at 4:00 to be sure
things go smoothly.  We can use extra help in putting pictures on boxes, getting tubers in correct locations, etc.
4.  This year, purchases from both the sale table and the auction will be paid for at the cashier’s tables just before you
go out the door.  Tubers will be counted and totaled there.  To assist the cashiers, please have sufficient change and
small bills to assist the cashiers, and, BRING LOTS OF MONEY! Checks are also acceptable.
5.  If you are going to participate in the auction, you will need to get an auction number. They will be available at the
table as you come in the door.  Auction sales will be tallied according to your number, and these sales will also be paid
for at the cashier’s tables.
6.  Another change that we have made is that we will be adding a $4 per tuber category to our $2 normal price.  This
price will be used for newer varieties that we have a lot of and aren’t practical to auction.  These varieties will be clearly
marked, both on the tuber bag – and on the box – that they are $4.00.  One of our goals this year is to have no
varieties on the auction table that are also on the sale table.
6.  SHOPPING  WILL NOT START UNTIL WE ARE TOTALLY SET UP (7:00).  It is just too difficult to get things set up
right while people are going through things.  


Cookies this month will be provided by Eric Toedtli, Sue Rasmussen and Don Sailer.  If anyone else would like to bring
a few, we can always use extras at this meeting when we have extra guests.
Although it is a little late to do this for this season, we still have a month or so before we plant, so I’m going to get it
initiated.  If there is a variety you want that you haven’t been able to locate, let me know.  I’ll put it in next month’s
bulletin with your contact information.  Next year we’ll get this started in February.
by Ted Kennedy
Most of us in the Portland area plant our dahlias some time in the month of May. A few hardy souls plant in the latter
part of April but we have noticed that hard frosts have hit our location as late as April 22nd. A tuber planted around
April 15th would probably not be affected by that frost but it will not probably be growing very fast either. But many of
us are planting rooted cuttings and they would be killed by the frost. And there are several growers who have wet
ground and are planting as late as June 15th and seem to have a very nice crop a bit later than the rest of us.
One problem that many of us have is that the area where we plant our dahlias stays wet until late in the planting
season. Do not rototill wet clay soil. If you do you rototill wet soil, you will ruin the texture of the soil. Very large dirt
clods will appear that harden into stone and defy later rototilling. The soil will be very dense and the flower roots will
not be able breathe and grow properly. To test the soil for the right amount of moisture, grab a handful of the soil and
squeeze it. If it forms a solid ball, it is too wet. If the ball of soil breaks up in your hand after squeezing, it is dry enough.
Many growers start their dahlia tubers in pots to get a running start on the season. One grower puts the pots on his
back deck and follows the weather forecast for frost warnings. It there is a frost forecast, he either covers them or puts
them into his garage. There are a couple of advantages to this method: (1) the plants bloom earlier and (2) there are
no blank spots in the garden where a tuber failed to grow.
Max Ollieu is looking for copies of the September and December 2005 ADS Bulletins.  He would be happy to trade
tubers for them.  Please contact him at (360)687-1536 or mollieu@pcez.com
The Master Gardener Sale will be held the first weekend in May at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds. The Society will
have a booth to sell dahlias and give out information regarding dahlia culture and PDS.  Volunteers are still needed to
make it a success.  If you would be willing to work a shift on either Saturday or Sunday, call Marge at (503) 266-7877.  
If you’ve never been to this event before, you should really put it on your calendar.  Thee is probably no plant you are
looking for that you can’t find there.
Rememer that our 2006 PDS Dahlia of the year is Woodland’s Wildthing, B SC (really ID) OR, and our Challenge
Flower is Rae Baby (S Y).  If you don’t have these 2 flowers, be sure to get them at the auction.  If you have extra
tubers of Wildthing, please bring them so everyone interested can get one.  
As we get ready to plant our tubers and plants for this upcoming season, we need to think about what worked and didn’
t work last year.  Here are some excerpts from an article written by Max Ollieu as his project for getting to the
Candidate judging level with the Federation.
    Soil Test – Max’s first signigicant activity for last year was to have a soil test. Certainly other activities occurred
before the garden soil test, such as obtaining new dahlia varieties, donation of surplus tubers, etc., but since the soil
test was a first and it affected my cultural routine, I chose to list it as the first significant activity.  
    Sand - My garden’s soil tends more to clay than loam.  Historically, I have added huge amounts of organic matter
from tree leaves to animal bedding and manure.  In addition to the organic matter this past growing season, I
incorporated about two yards of river sand.  Most was spread over the garden just prior to rototilling, but another
portion was included in the pots in which I started my tubers. The latter was particularly helpful in allowing the soil to
release from around the tubers as the hill was dug following the growing season.  Fortunately, tuber production has
been consistently excellent from my garden and the addition of sand should help retain if not improve that level of
production while aiding the removal of soil from around the tubers.      
    Planters - Containerized gardening has been a work in progress for me with most plants not performing well except
for lavender.  Last winter, a club member mentioned that his smaller dahlia varieties did well in planters when used with
slow release fertilizer.  So, this past season, I grew all my mignon single dahlias in containers.  All bloomed early and
profusely, starting in late June and continuing until first frost in mid-October.  Plants were elevated in the containers,
much easier to access and could be moved as desired
    Shade Cloth - By August, all dahlia plants are generally blooming profusely.  With long, cloudless days, the intense
ultraviolet light quickly reduces the bright colors of many newly opening flowers to washed out versions of themselves
by evening.  Any pictures of  new Moray Susan blooms, for example, have to be taken in the morning to capture their
bright colors because by evening, those colors will be considerably muted.  Protecting flower color takes considerable
ingenuity and use of shade cloth can be part of the answer.  I finally conceived an approach for erecting structure to
support shade cloth that would work well in my garden.  This included the use of metal T-posts, hose clamps and
polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe.   I’m now able to easily secure and install or remove the shade cloth from the structure
without damaging any flowers, buds or other portions of the plants singlehandedly as needed.  The structure also
allows for raising or lowering the shade cloth to respond to plant height.  Results have been better than hoped for
since not only has bloom color been retained, but damage from flying insect pests has been nearly eliminated.  The
latter is more likely where the shade cloth is constructed in a fly screen pattern (squares) and covers not only the top,
but the sides of the rows to just below the lowest bloom.
    2006 -  Regarding the soil test, I’m hoping to develop a better approach to application of nitrogen in 2006.  This will
involve the use of a slow-release form applied just before transplanting as well as some foliar applications particularly
in June and July.  The use of sand will be repeated essentially without change in 2006 as will the use of planters for
growing the smaller dahlia varieties.  Use of shade cloth will be extended to include remaining rows in the garden as
well as incorporating some trial approaches with plastic sheeting to reduce damage caused by