Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park
United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda
Editor: Mike Riordan (503) 256-0425
March 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)256-0425 Contacts:  Teresa Bergman (360) 274-8292, Jeanette Benson (503) 649-
Next meeting Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 @ 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 27th, and the second 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 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.


Theresa Bergman and Phil Mingus will be providing cookies for the March meeting.


Our program for March will feature a guest speaker on soil preparation and fertility.  We will also have our
tuber and plant auction of newer and hard to find varieties.

Copies of 2010 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.

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 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 of 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.   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 20th.  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 17th. The banquet facility is located on the lower level.  PNDC
Delegates meet in executive session at 11:00. 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 always spirited and
entertaining.  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.
Click here for flyer:


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 severe drought that has been plaguing that continent.  Ron
phoned a few weeks ago to report that his area had been blessed with three inches of recent rainfall.  Like
Churchill said this is not the beginning of the end but hopefully, the end of the beginning.


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.


Our National Show Committee is still in need of suggestions for a theme for our 2012 ADS National Show
which the Portland Dahlia Society is hosting.  Last year Everett’s theme was “One Hundred Years of
Dahlias”, by way of example.  There is a nifty prize for the winning theme.  Please give your suggestion in
writing to Tiffany Boatwright at the April meeting or e-mail Tiffany at

The Gitts Family would like to remind all Portland Dahlia Society members that they are eligible for a 20%
discount when ordering from Swan Island Dahlias.  Simply enter the coupon code PDS20 on the
Winners from our 2009 show from left: Tiffany Boatwright,  Eugene Kenyon,
Audrey Oldenkamp, Larry Smith. Picture by Shirley Bankston
Sandia Apache