February 2008
Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda
Editor:  Mike Riordan (503) 998-5184 Contacts:
Larry Smith (503) 777-1857 Jeanette Benson (503) 649-4118
Next meeting Tuesday, February 12th, 2008 at 7:30 PM
We will have a  DVD put together by Claudia Biggs (ADS Image Coordinator) of the new dahlia
originations for 2008.  Also commercial grower sources for the new introductions will be made
available.  We will be discussing which 2007 introductions proved most promising in our local growing

A demonstration of how to take dahlia cuttings and care for dahlia green plants through their various
stages of development will round out our program for February.

If you have tubers of newer varieties that are ready to be auctioned, bring them in and they will be
auctioned off at this meeting.  The Board feels that we may get a better price if we do some selling prior
to our main event and some of those who take cuttings would like to get them sooner.  This will be
limited to newer varieties, or those that are very hard to find.

Teresa Bergman and Mike Riordan will be providing cookies for this month’s meeting.

Your Board met on January 12th to go over Dahlia Society business and plan for 2008.  I think we have
put together a very exciting line-up of meetings for the year.
We want to make our programs interesting and informative for all dahlia growers.  We realize some
growers like to show and others just want to grow good looking flowers in the garden. Our aim is to gear
the programs with something educational and informative for all growers.

There was discussion regarding conversations in the audience during presentations.  We all agree we
want to show courtesy to our speakers and make it easy for all to hear and understand what each
presenter is saying.  We have ample time to socialize before meetings and during the refreshment

This year we will continue our mentoring program which will begin at 7:00 PM at the rear of the meeting
room.  This program is designed to let newer growers ask questions and gain insights on successful
growing methods and procedures. Newer as well as more experienced growers all welcome to attend.  
Phil Mingus will be mentor of the month for February.

In looking ahead to our annual sales, we will be holding 2 tuber workshops at Swan Island Dahlias.  The
first will be on Saturday March 22nd, and the second will be on Saturday, April 26th.  The second one
will be to prepare tubers for the Master Gardener’s sale. Starting time for both workshops is 9:00 AM.
Please help out and one or both if you can.  Also, we would like to have tubers you are going to donate
for the sale brought in to our March meeting, or in to this month’s meeting if you can’t be there in
March.  Please be sure each variety is clean, free of rot and has a viable eye.  You do not need to write
on each tuber, as long as it is clearly marked in some way.  More than one tuber of a variety may be
put in a bag with the name written on the outside of the bag.  Please be generous as these 2 sales are
major source of funds.

We also need volunteers to help set up the tents and sale racks at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds
on Friday, May 2nd.  Those helping are asked to meet at Swan Island Dahlias at 9:00 AM.  Please
remember that the Master Gardeners’ Sale is the most successful of all our fundraising endeavors.

If you have donated awards in the past or would like to sponsor an award for our show, contact Mike
Riordan at 503-256-0425 or riordanm@prodigy.net.  We need this information ASAP to complete the
show schedule.  This year our show will be hosting the Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference show,
which rotates annually between the Conference societies.   Some of our members sponsor awards in
the name of their businesses and/or offer gift certificates

If you haven’t already paid, dues are past due.  Judges please remember that you are required to carry
membership in both the American Dahlia society and the PNDC (Pacific Northwest Dahlia conference).  
PDS dues, ADS dues and PNDC dues should be combined and paid to the Treasurer as noted below.
Federation of Northwest Dahlia Growers dues are $10 and also payable through our Treasurer.

Adults:  $7.00
Couples:  $10.00
Juniors:  $1.00
Individual: $20.00
Family:   $23.00
Individual $10.00
Dual:  $15.00
Mail to or pay at next meeting
Larry Sawyer, 11015 S.W. Berkshire, Portland, OR 97225

How are those tubers doing in storage?  Regardless of your storage medium and method, it is
advisable to see how things are storing.  Sometimes rot can spread from one tuber to the next.  If there
is some rot, many times the tuber (s) can be saved by cutting away the rotted portion and treating the
cuts with flowers of sulfur or Captan.  If you are using vermiculite and the medium seems too damp
(vermiculite clinging to tubers), more dry vermiculite can be added to the storage container. As you are
checking through, this is a great time to select tubers you want to take cuttings from and/or donate to
the PDS tuber sale. Not sure how many of you store over pot roots.  I keep mine stored open in nursery
flats in the same storage area (garage) as my tubers.  They are still in the same pots they grew in last
summer.  One thing I’ve learned is to take the flats outdoors and water them thoroughly about once a
month.  This does not promote premature growth, but does enhance the keeping quality of the mini-

Now is a good time to think about soil in preparation for next growing season. Consider topdressing
your dahlia garden with compost or manure.  In fact this early in the spring, it need not be that well
composted.  Cow, horse, chicken, leaf mold compost, mushroom compost, rabbit, Zoo Doo or Llama will
work just fine.  Check your local newspaper or feed store for suppliers both you - haul or delivered.
Besides beneficial nutrients, organic amendments enhance the ability of the soil to hold water.  This
month the soil is too wet to work with machines, but can be hand turned.

While discussing soil, let’s visit the subject of pH.  Soils in the Pacific Northwest tend to be naturally
acidic.  Add to this rain through our polluted skies, and we end up with more push to the acid side. To
counter act the acidity, apply Dolomite Lime or Prilled (pelletized) Lime either now or at planting time.
By pulling your soil more to the neutral side the plants are better able to absorb and process nutrients.  
An added benefit to liming is the addition of Calcium to the soil.  Calcium is essential for the production
of cellulose in plant tissue. (Healthier plants with stronger stems).  A soil test will give you an accurate
picture of what’s needed in your soil.  See A & L Laboratory’s web site at

At the board meeting Gitt’s Perfection was selected as the Challenge Flower for 2008. The board
unanimously voted to so honor the memory of Nick Gitts.  We will offer a $10 award for the best bloom
in each competition class: Junior, Novice, Amateur and Open.  There is also an additional $20 award
for the best overall bloom from all competition levels.

By Max Ollieu
Editor’s note: Max originally wrote this article for the ADS Bulletin and it is reprinted here for the benefit
of our non-ADS members.

Dahlia growers in North America have embraced Australian dahlia cultivars (ADCs) and their originators
for decades and that relationship continues to the present.  One could say the appreciation for and
anticipation of new ADCs is currently at an all time high.  What fuels this high interest certainly includes
their wins at our North American dahlia shows but also the appreciation for the quality of the plants and
their blooms by the general public.  All of this is supported and enhanced by the ever-expanding
interrelationships between Australians and North Americans not only in terms of travel to and from, but
also the ease of communication via email, telephone & fax.

The American Dahlia Society (ADS) annually compiles a list of those cultivars which achieve 50 blue
ribbon or higher awards in sanctioned ADS dahlia shows throughout the United States and Canada.  
This listing, called the Fab 50, in 2006 contained just over 100 cultivars.  Ten were ADCs with Embrace
garnering the highest point total.  Those 10 included: Embrace (# 1), Pam Howden (# 4), Glenbank
Twinkle (# 51), Cameo (# 54), Aitara Caress (# 75), Aitara Success (# 88), Karras 150 (# 90), Peach
Delight (# 91), Pop Willo (# 95), and Willo Borealis (# 96).  A second list titled Cream of the Crop
includes cultivars which achieve 15 blue ribbon or higher awards in the various size/form/color classes
in ADS sanctioned dahlia shows.  This more extensive list for 2006 included the 10 ADCs in the Fab 50
as well as: Kelvin Floodlight, Winkie Colonel, Aitara Majesty, Sylvia Craig Hunter, Mary, Devon Citation,
Formby Alpine, Aitara Diadem, Night Life, Alden Snowlodge, Ken’s Choice, Bowen, Little Willo, Small
World, Hallmark, Willow Surprise, Rhonda, Bracken Aquarius, Figurine, Red Velvet, and Kelgai Ann.

In the State of Oregon, we have four dahlia societies: the Douglas County Dahlia Society (Roseburg,
Oregon), the Lane County Dahlia Society (Eugene, Oregon), the Portland Dahlia Society (Portland,
Oregon), and the Southern Oregon Dahlia Society (Coos Bay/North Bend, Oregon).  Each society has
an annual dahlia show.  In 2007, the best single, fully double bloom at three of the shows was an ADC.  
Peach Delight won at Eugene and Roseburg whereas Embrace was selected at Coos Bay/North Bend.  
Other ADCs to win higher awards at those shows included: Aitara Caress, Alden Snowlodge, Bowen,
Cameo, Fern Irene, Linda Harris, Little Willo, Pam Howden, and Rhonda.

Of the 100 dahlia varieties I grew in 2007, 10 were ADCs: Aitara Caress, Alden Snowlodge, Bracken
Astra, Devon Citation, Figurine, Moray Susan, Pam Howden, Peach Delight, Rhonda, and Susan
French.  All but two have won blue ribbon or higher awards and nearly all exhibited robust growth in my
garden.  Rhonda, a light blend, white to lavender pom from Australia originated by Rumble in 1941, has
been the most challenging to grow.  However, in 2007 (my third year to grow Rhonda), fellow club
member, Bob Merrell was able to supply me with two dozen cuttings from my 2006 rootstock.  Since a
goal of mine for 2007 was to get Rhonda to the head table (a higher award), the cuttings were timely
indeed.  At the South Sound Dahlia Society Show in Olympia, Washington, my single bloom of Rhonda
was chosen best single pom.  In addition, it was best other foreign single bloom at the Portland Show
and the best single bloom in the open division at our local Clark County Fair.  Ironically, the Rhonda
stock died out in Australia years ago and has not been successfully reintroduced since.   

My friend, Ron Wilkes, from Goulburn, NSW, has been instrumental in supplying me with show quality
ADCs.  In 2004, he sent tubers of Figurine, Peach Delight and Susan French, which I continue to grow
to present.  For me, it seems to take at least a year for the stock to adapt to the changed conditions.  
Tubers dug in the fall in Australia and immediately shipped have little dormancy before being asked to
begin growth again.  In 2004, I was lucky to get a single bloom per plant from those ADCs before the
first killing frost.  Most do much better the second year, but with Susan French, it was the third year
before I had an adequate number of tubers.

The ADCs have and continue to enrich many lives in North America.  Australian originators, despite
challenging climatic conditions, have contributed mightily to dahlia culture here.  We are both fortunate
and indebted to the dahlia growers from the southern hemisphere for sharing their originations with us.  
We salute them for their efforts and eagerly look forward to more wonderful new dahlia cultivars from
our friends Down Under.

By Ted J. Kennedy

Ryecroft Zoe BB SC OR
This one was a very bright blend of orange colors and grew very well. It had show quality blooms on it
all season, but we could not help but to pick the flowers for bouquets. Of course, it did win best BB in
show at the Portland show.

Tahoma Eli MB Dark Pink   If you like easy to grow pink flowers, this is one of the best. It grows just as
well as Chimacum Katie (our flower of the year) and is nearly the same color but in a miniature ball.

Formby Kaitlyn A FD Purple. We had heard about this one but had no idea that it would live up to the
great things being said about it. It is an exquisite dark purple with excellent form. Very bright dark green
leaves and a stem that would hold up a meteorite. Does not grow too tall 3.5 feet but is very healthy
and vigorous.

Ms. Kennedy MB Orange We saw this one a few years ago at the trial garden and wondered if it would
really win in the shows as the orange color was really a blend of orange colors. After numerous best in
show awards, there is no doubt about its potential. Vigorous grower to 4.5 feet and an excellent cut
flower too.

Others that did real well include Ken’s Choice BA DK R, Sharky BA BI Pr/W and Gladys Johns BB C L.


The Federation of Northwest Dahlia Growers will hold their Spring Workshop at the Mt. Vernon Senior
Center on Saturday, March 29th.  There is no cost to this event and most participants bring a brown
bag lunch. Presentations on varied aspects of dahlia growing are provided throughout the day.  
Contact Teresa Bergman (360)274-8192 for more information and to coordinate car pool


The Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference will hold its Spring meeting on Saturday, April 19th at Steamer’
s Restaurant in Portland. Steamer’s is located on Sandy Blvd., just East of the intersection of 82nd and
Sandy.  The luncheon begins at noon. Details concerning the luncheon arrangements to follow.

Following the luncheon is a short business meeting; this is followed by a tuber and plant auction.  Many
of the originators from the entire west coast (British Columbia through Southern Oregon) will be in
attendance.  Many will bring some of their new originations and imports to the auction. Everyone’s
interest in the newer varieties and the spirited bidding (encouraged by a professional auctioneer) is
more than worth the price of the luncheon. You do not need to be a member of the PNDC to attend and
participate in this function. If anyone prefers to arrive at 1:00 and skip the luncheon, this is perfectly
Editor of Bulletin: Mike Riordan
Weston Pirate that sported to a nice white and
purple. Entered by Aaron Ridling in Peoples Choice
Best Bouquet entered by Margaret Kennedy
Elva Sellens and Marge Gitts at our Trial Garden