Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park
United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda
Editor: Mike Riordan (503) 256-0425
February 2010
Portland Dahlia Society Bulletin

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

Editor:  Mike Riordan (503) 998-5184 Contacts:  Teresa Bergman (360) 274-8292  Jeanette Benson (503) 649-4118

Next meeting Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 @ 7:30


Welcome to dahlia season, 2010!  Though it is very early in the year, planning is being done in earnest for the upcoming
season and long-range for the National Show in 2012.  We are all hoping for a more normal weather pattern to carry on
our beloved hobby (compulsion? addiction?).  I'm afraid the extreme, unusual cold at the beginning of December may
find more losses than normal, especially from those who don't normally dig.  Because of that, I think the demand for
tubers is going to be higher than normal for our upcoming sales, and the donations down.  Please, as you are going
through your tubers, set aside as many as you can for our sales.  If you have a problem getting your tubers into one of the
meetings or workshops, please contact any of us listed at the top of the page and we will find someone who can pick
them up.

The Board  decided that we are going to try to offer more green plants at the Master Gardener's Spring Fair and our
May sale.  If you grow cuttings, why not grow a few extra for those sales.  The two categories we can always use a lot
more in are the AA's and the waterlilies.   With your help we can continue to build our bank balance to take care of our
normal costs and build towards the 2012 show.

See you at the meeting!


We will have a  DVD put together by Claudia Biggs (ADS Image Coordinator) of the new dahlia originations for 2010.  
Also commercial grower sources for the new introductions will be made available.  We will be discussing which 2009
introductions proved most promising in our local growing area.

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.

We hope to have the 2010 Edition of Dahlias of Today available for purchase at this meeting.  

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


Larry Smith and Mike Riordan will be providing cookies for this month’s meeting


Your Board met on January 16th to go over Dahlia Society business and plan for 2010.  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.

We are very excited about our hosting the ADS National Show in 2012.  We are working on laying the groundwork with
the site selection process.

Some changes you might like in this year’s show will be a more efficient and timely method of coming to “head table”
decisions.  We are also planning on expanding  the size of the head table itself so the winning entries will not look so
crowded.  Tiffany Boatwright has also devised a plan of highlighting the Best in Show Entries.  We have also added two
new special entry categories: One for best triple of other types and also a pompon, miniature ball and ball progression.


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 27th, and the second will be on Saturday, April 24th.  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.  We also intend to have some green plants available at our public
sales events to satisfy this interest.  Please be generous as these 2 sales are major source of funds.

         At your board meeting it was decided that Portland Dahlia Society members would be given early access to the
April Tuber Sale at 6:00PM.  The general public will not be admitted until 6:30PM.  The idea is to give those who
support your society first choice among the dahlias available on the sale tables.


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  We need this information ASAP to complete the show schedule.   Some of our
members sponsor awards in the name of their businesses and/or offer gift certificates.  Compliments to Erik Toedtli who
works very hard each year to produce a first class show schedule we all appreciate.


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.

PDS                                           ADS                                                    PNDC

Adults:  $7.00                  Individual: $20.00                             Individual $10.00
Couples:  $10.00             Family:   $23.00                                Dual:  $15.00
Juniors:  $1.00                                       
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-clumps.

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, goat, alpaca, horse,
chicken, leaf mold compost, mushroom compost, rabbit, or Llama will work just fine. Those who use the internet can  go
to Craig’s List for Portland, next click on for sale farm+garden.  Next put the word Manure in the search field and click
on search.  I found at least four sources of manure free for the hauling! Also, 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 Dr. John E. Kaiser, B ID Flame, was selected as this year’s challenge flower.  This flower was
introduced by Phil Mingus in 2007.  Ample stock will be made available at the tuber and plant auctions.  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 Ted J. Kennedy

inter time can be a difficult time for gardeners. There is only so much work that can be done outside and of course the
rainy, cold weather of Oregon can make the outdoor work less than enjoyable. I remember what I used to do in the
winter when I was a home vegetable gardener: I read and re-read the seed catalogs with their colorful illustrations of
vegetables. I would plan orders from two or three mail order companies and enjoyed the descriptions of the new
vegetables to try in the coming year.  If you cannot be outside enjoying the garden at least you can plan your next year’s

Now as a dahlia enthusiast, I find myself having the same winter blues and enjoy searching out new dahlias to try next
year.  There are still some nice vegetable seed catalogs and I have read the Territorial catalog a couple of times this
winter.  In the dahlia world, there is probably only one illustrated dahlia catalog that serves the same function as the seed
catalogs of old and it is the Swan Island Dahlias catalog that is filled with wonderful photography and useful information.  
I look forward to reading it every year.

For those who enjoy trying new dahlia varieties, the American Dahlia Society publishes an annual DVD that has pictures
of the new introductions that passed at the trial gardens and in the dahlia seedling competition at shows. Our club shows
this DVD at our February meeting. The American Dahlia Society also publishes the trial garden and show bench scores
in the December ADS Bulletin.

Another source of dahlia related information is “Dahlias of Today” published by the Federation of Dahlia Growers by the
Puget Sound Dahlia Society. Its 100 or so pages are filled with color photos of the new varieties and various authors
write about them in florid detail.  It is published each year in about February. If you are new to dahlias, you need to buy
the Dahlias of Today and by the way they sell prior editions of most of the years for very reasonable prices. Our club
buys a bulk order each year to sell at our meetings.

And if you still miss those dahlias, there is the internet. If you are shopping for dahlias, most dahlia suppliers have their
catalogs on line, complete with lots of pictures.  The Colorado Dahlia Society has put together a service on their internet
site called the “Big List”.  You can access the site by typing “Dahlia Big List” into Google and it will appear as the first
entry on the list results. The “Big List” has links to nearly all of the commercial dahlia nursery web sites and more
importantly they list all of the dahlia varieties sold by these nurseries in alphabetical order. For example if you are looking
for an older variety that you have not seen in years, you may find it on the “Big List”.  

Another winter dahlia activity is accessing the internet message groups. Yahoo sponsors “yahoogroups”  free for people
who have related interests.  There are three groups on Yahoo:

(1) “Dahlia Net”  the oldest one but no pictures are allowed

(2) “Dahlias” the most popular one and pictures are allowed

(3) “Dahliacreating” a specialized group for dahlia breeders.

To join one of these message groups, go to and they will have instructions there.

In addition to Yahoo groups, GardenWeb ( has discussion forums that are subject related. Dahlias are a
popular forum and the posts and replies are very interesting. Many people post pictures too.

And last but not least, if you like pictures of dahlias, photographers use sites such as Flickr (another free Yahoo site) to
post many of their favorite pictures for all to see. The internet address is easy: If you search the site for
“dahlias” some 130,000 pictures are listed and thumbnails of the pictures can be clicked to see the full version and
sometimes very large versions of the pictures.  The quality of some of these pictures can range from average to
outstanding. For those of you who are reading this article on line at the Portland Dahlia Society web site, here are links to
several of the dahlia pictures that I liked and I am sure you can find many more on this site.    
If the links are not in blue type, you will have to copy and paste them into your web
brouser.                                           Nice picture of Franz Kafka. It is an old variety that still wins.  Nice picture at Swan Island Dahlias  Nice close up of Rolf  Dahlia tatoo  Pink cactus with exquisite detail  White dahlia that has excellent contrast  Nice orange FD  Purple flower enhanced in Photoshop  Nice colors  Exotic colors; anybody know variety?  Nice tri color dahlia  Beautiful picture of dahlia bud Nice deep yellow dahlia with red tips with blue sky Excellent picture of an orange ball(min ball, pom?) dahlia showing
quilled ray florets


The Federation of Northwest Dahlia Growers will hold their Spring Workshop on Saturday, March 20th in Mt.
Vernon.  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.  The Federation Workshop also has an Auction of new introductions.
Contact Teresa Bergman (360) 274-8192 for more information and to coordinate car pool arrangements.


The Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference will hold its spring meeting on Saturday, April 17th at Georgetown Realty in
Portland.  This change of setting is necessitated by the closure of Steamer’s Restaurant.  Currently, it has reopened
featuring an East Indian Cuisine.  Georgetown is located at 1000 NE 122nd Avenue, Portland 97230.  The luncheon
begins at noon. Details concerning the luncheon arrangements will 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
(sometimes 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 acceptable.
Winners from our 2009 show from left: Tiffany Boatwright,  Eugene Kenyon,
Audrey Oldenkamp, Larry Smith. Picture by Shirley Bankston
Some pictures of our 2009 show by Shirley Bankston