Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park
United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda
Editor: Mike Riordan (503) 256-0425
March 2009
Next meeting March 10th, 2009 @ 7:30 PM
Arrangements at Portland Show
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)256-0425 Contacts:  Teresa Bergman (360) 274-8292, Jeanette Benson (503) 649-

Next meeting Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.


Please bring the tubers you plan to donate to our annual fundraisers to the March meeting.  Please be sure each tuber  
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.  In
preparation for our annual sales, two workshops will be held at Swan Island Dahlias.  The first will be on Saturday,
March 28th, and the second on Saturday, April 25th.  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 at one or both if you can.   We need
your tubers and assistance.


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.


Shirley Bankston and Marge Gitts will be providing cookies for the March meeting.


Our program for March will consist of a panel discussion on soil testing and garden preparation.  Dahlia seed will also
be available for sale for our annual seedling contest.

Copies of 2009 Dahlias of Today will be available for sale.


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 or insects (springtails or fungus gnats) can spread from one tuber to the next.
Remove the rotted portion of the tubers and treat the cuts with captan or sulfur.  Many growers believe that a rotting
tuber gives off ethylene gas which promotes premature sprouting in the other tubers in the same bag.  While checking
the tubers you may want to select some varieties for cuttings.  I don’t have the space to take all the cuttings I want at
once.  Therefore, some tubers are rotated back into storage and others come out to take still more cuttings.

While going through your stored tubers please take time to set aside tubers for our Auction and Sales.  We need
everyone’s support to insure the success of our annual fundraisers.  Including a list of varieties and respective
quantities is helpful to the volunteers who will be doing the packaging at the workshops.  Since the Portland Dahlia
Society is a 501C-3 non-profit, your tuber donations should be tax deductible. Their value would be what they went
for at auction or were sold for on the tables in the back.

March is a good time to get a soil test and find out what your ground lacks or perhaps has too much of a given
element.  Most soils in the PNW tend to be on the acid side.  Applying lime, either regular calcium carbonate or
dolomite, will help bring your soil back to neutral.  This aids in the plants ability to photosynthesize and process soil
nutrients.   Using dolomite also adds magnesium to the soil. John Menzel once told me he thought the reason
Australian growers had fewer problems wintering “hard to keep varieties” is because the Australian soils are naturally
more alkaline.  Most soil tests require at least a cup and a half of soil collected in a zip lock bag.  It is advisable to
take this sample from several different places in your garden to get an accurate representative sample. Try to keep the
sample as sterile as possible by using very clean implements and wearing latex gloves.  A&L Laboratories is a
resource for soil tests.  See their web site at


The Federation of Northwest Dahlia Growers will hold their Spring Workshop at the Mt. Vernon Senior Center on
Saturday, March 21st.  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 arrangements.


Mark your calendars!!! The Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference will hold their spring meeting at Georgetown Realty
on Saturday, April 18th. The banquet facility is located on the lower level.  PNDC Delegates meet in executive
session at 10:00. The luncheon and general meeting begin at noon.  More details to follow.

This is a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with the top originators, growers and exhibitors in the PNW and
British Columbia.  The most exciting part is the tuber and plant auction which begins at 1:00 PM.  Many growers
bring their newest and best introductions and/or imports.  The bidding is spirited and entertaining and is handled by a
professional auctioneer.  Membership in the PNDC is not required to attend any portion of this event.  It is perfectly
acceptable to arrive at 1:00 PM and participate in the auction only, if this is your preference.


Included in this mailing is a flyer for our sale and auction April 14th.  If each of us could place (with permission) the
flyer or copies thereof  in our area stores, community bulletin boards, health clubs, garden centers, places of
employment or any other place interested parties could take notice; this would help with the success of our sale.


Many of us have had the pleasure of meeting and/or hosting Ron Wilkes as he has visited the Northwest on several
occasions.  We have all heard of the continuing drought, high temperatures and devastating brush fires.  We all hoped
and prayed he and the other folks we know down under were spared the worst effects of their National disaster.  
During the height of the heat wave, daily high temperatures were between 104 and 117 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here’s some of the news in Ron’s own words.  “Some cooler weather is helping dahlias to recover form the heat but
that will take a long time as crown bud was burned plus the next two below, all B cactus are a mess…Even waterlily
and the BB decs and cactus all have the same problem so any chance of any being on the show bench is very remote
at this time.  During the next five weeks there will be three shows, so it is possible there may be a few entries.   All my
dahlias are protected with shade cloth - that will give you some idea of the burning heat we have had.  Today (2/21)
was declared a national day of mourning for all who died in the fires, still only 209 confirmed dead,  but that will rise,
main problem being so many were burned so badly only ash left so impossible to get any sure DNA.  Three fires are
still burning out of control…New South Wales (where Ron lives) has been very fortunate that no one has decided to
light fires here as this place is just as dry as Victoria.”


Many growers prefer to start their tubers indoors ahead of planting time.  This gives the plants a head start and results
in earlier flowers in the garden.  An added bonus is that there are extra sprouts available for taking cuttings and thus
having additional stock for planting, trading or making pot roots.

Many growers have a set up of stacked plastic or wire rack shelving in their basement or spare room.  Suspended
above the shelves are fluorescent light fixtures.  The multiple shelf set up yields some bottom heat from the light fixture
on the lower shelf.  Regular shop lights work just fine.  There is no advantage to using the more expensive “grow”
lights.   I leave my set up on 24 hours a day and the plants grow just fine.  

How soon should we start the tubers in pots indoors?  Most growers think that four to six weeks is just about right.  If
you were planting mid to late May, starting your tubers about the first of April would yield 8” plants to set out at
planting time.

If you want to experiment on a smaller scale, you can start just a few plants on a sunny window sill.  Or better yet put
a few pots out on a sunny patio or deck and bring them in on a nightly basis.

As the plants increase in growth, you may want to begin hardening some of the plants off.  This involves leaving them
outside in a sunny, yet protected area.  I have a south facing deck that works great.  By late April or early May they
can be left out all day and night.  Be watchful of a late frost and be prepared to move inside at night if necessary.  
Some yellowing of  the new growth is normal, caused by the cooler night temperatures.  Plants will grow out of this
condition as warmer weather ensues.


Wayne and Eleanor Shantz will teach a special seedling judging school in Spokane August 8th and 9th.  More details
to follow.
This is another sport of Spartacus that was shown at the
Portland Show.  I do not know it's name but it was shown by
Wayne Shantz and the breeder is Steve Meggos of the
Chicago area. I believe it will be introduced in 2010 by JS