Next meeting Tuesday, May 8th, 2007 @ 7:30 PM


APRIL TUBER SALE AND AUCTION

Treasurer Larry Sawyer reports combined net proceeds (allowing for
new member discounts) was $2961 which is about on target with our
budgeted goal.  This demonstrates what we can accomplish as we all
pull together to achieve our objectives.  The highest individual bid went
to Swan Island’s new anemone, Platinum Blonde, at $23!  Thanks to
Larry Smith, Teresa Bergman, Gary Murphy, Phil Mingus and Marge
Gitts who helped with the set up of the hall.  Thanks to Phil Mingus,
Marge Gitts, and Gary Murphy who worked as cashiers.  Special
thanks to head cashier, Larry Sawyer.  Thanks to Aaron Ridling for
organizing and nimbly projecting the images on the screen. Thanks to
Tiffany Boatwright for collecting and printing the photos for the point
of sales.  Thanks to Shirley Bankston, Pam Rechel and Carol Halvorsen
who worked on tally totals for each bidder. Thanks to Ted Kennedy and
Eric Toedtli who acted as auctioneers.  Thanks to Don Sailer for his
work on the blackboard. Thanks to Teresa Bergman, Wayne Lobaugh
and Monte Stowell who worked as runners.  Thanks to the many tuber
donors.  Thanks to all the volunteers who helped at the preparation
workshop and a huge thanks to Marge Gitts and Swan Island Dahlias
for the use of their facilities for packaging and generous donation of
tubers and packaging supplies.  My apologies to anyone not mentioned
and mega thanks to everyone who helped make this sale a success.

COOKIES FOR MAY

Shirley Bankston was kind enough to volunteer to bring cookies to the
May meeting.  Since we anticipate a good number of people for the
Plant and tuber close out sale, could a few members give Shirley a hand
with a few more cookies?

PROGRAM FOR MAY

May program will feature the final sale of the remaining tubers.  Tuber
selection might not be great, but close out pricing promises to be rock
bottom!

Each year many of our members take cuttings of the newer more
desirable varieties.  This year our members will be donating a few of
their green plant crop to our plant auction.  A new feature this year will
be the projection of digital images of the new offerings.  Aaron Ridling
has again consented to handle this task using the society’s digital
projector.  Could those members bringing plants e-mail Aaron with a
list of what you are bringing?  Aaron’s e-mail address is
aaron@dahliasuppliers.com   If you have a superior digital image of the
variety could you e-mail it to Aaron as well?

A partial list of some of the varieties available at auction is as follows:  
Ferncliff’s new waterlilly, Canoz Anne, Penhill Andre’s Memory,
Bracken Lorelei, Hollyhill Spiderwoman, Ryecroft Zoe, Ryecroft
Claire, Ryecroft Jan, Peach Delight, Narrow’s Tricia, Bloomquist Glow,
Papa’s Benji and Scott’s R.W.

Special thanks to Eric Toedtli for all his hard work on the 2007 Show
Schedule.  It will be available at the meeting.

MASTER GARDENER’S SALE

Saturday, May 5th and Sunday May 6th are the dates for our
participation in the Clackamas County Master Gardener’s Sale at the
Clackamas County Fairgrounds.  This is the same location as our
annual show.  Hours are 9 to 5 Saturday and 9 to 4 on Sunday.  We will
have two adjoining sales spaces at the fair.  Larry Smith is looking for a
few more volunteers to help man at our sales booth. Please contact
Larry at 503-777-1857 to let him know when you would be available to
help.  Last year this was the most successful of all our sales in dollar
volume.

The Spring Garden Fair will have more than 170 vendors selling
hanging baskets, bedding plants, annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs,
shrubs, trees, dahlias and garden art.  Every half hour there will be ten
minute “University Classes” on a variety of gardening topics.  Learn
more at the Clackamas County Master Gardener’s website: http://www.
clackamascountymastergardeners.org/SpringGardenFair2007.htm

SOME THOUGHTS ON GROWING DAHLIAS IN THE PORTLAND
AREA
By Ted Kennedy

When should I plant my dahlias?

The classic answer to that question has been Mother’s Day or about
May 10th.  The soil is warm and dry enough to work and the tubers or
plants will grow very fast.  Having said that, I know people who plant
much earlier, perhaps as early as April 15th or so.  Frost has occurred
as late as April 22nd at my house.  Even if it does not frost, the soil is
cold and wet.  Tuber rot becomes a real issue under such conditions.  
Another reason not to plant early is the risk that there will be a rainy
period after you plant and the weeds will grow very fast and you cannot
get out there and weed.  There is no reason to plant rooted cuttings
until the last frost date is behind us and again the best date to plant
them is right around May 10th.

But how late can I plant dahlias and have them bloom?

One of our club members has been known to plant as late as July 1st
because the soil has been very wet where she plants.  I would advise
people to plant before June 15th if at all possible.  I personally try to get
everything planted before June 1st.

How deep should I bury my tubers?

I put them under about six inches of soil.  One club member likes to
plant eight inches deep and he says it helps the pant produce more
tubers.  Some others start out at four to five inches and mound some soil
around the sprouts when they come up, much as people mound the soil
around potatoes.

I have some rooted cuttings.  How deep should I plant them?

I plant them a few inches deeper than what they were in the pot so that
the plant will grow some tubers along the stalk.  If the plant is really tall
it can be planted in a slanted hole (trench).  If you plant too deep (more
than seven or eight inches), the soil is colder and the plant may not grow
as well.

What is the most important thing to do after I have planted my tubers
and plants?

Make sure that you have controlled the slug population in your garden.  
Slugs are the number one enemy of dahlias early in the season and will
eat the sprouts as they come up.  They will sometimes even burrow
down into the ground to live right on top of your tuber and the tuber
will never seem to sprout.  I have found too that the baby slugs are the
worst, as there are so many of them and they grow really fast.  Do
whatever you can to control the slugs early in the season.  Surprisingly,
once the plants are two feet tall or so, slugs do not bother them.
ORGANIC FERTILIZER

Member George Ermini has sent us information regarding a local
source for well composted horse manure at a reasonable price.  It is u-
haul only.  Cost is $20 for a 4x8x3 foot trailer. George says it is excellent
black manure/sawdust compost.  The vendor is Mr. Bill Hopgood 503-
632-6438.  Please call ahead to arrange a time for your pick-up.  
Directions:  Turn left (East) on Eldorado Road from Highway 213, take
the first gravel road approximately 100 yards from 213.  Sign says
“Quarterhorses” and the phone number. This gravel road is South
Gristle Plain; follow it to the end to Hopgoods.  Stable is on the left at
“Y” by big red barn.

TRYING FOR TRIPLES
By Max Ollieu

From my first dahlia show, staging entries of triple blooms has held a
particular fascination for me.  As beginners luck would have it, a single
bush of the cultivar Intrepid brought forth three very evenly matched
blooms.  To my surprise, the triple entry made its way to the head table,
which also answered why it wasn’t still on the table where I had
originally placed it.  Those judges are sneaky!!  Now after several years
of showing dahlias. I have found that what was so easy hen has never
been so easy since!  Isn’t that the other side of beginner’s luck?

My friend, Ron Wilkes, who is a long time senior judge from Goulburn,
NSW, Australia has visited and stayed with us for four of his trips to the
US.  Each visit, he has advised me, among other things, to grow fewer
varieties of dahlias so there would be more dahlia plants per variety and
consequently, more blooms per variety.  As a result, I have reduced the
number of dahlia varieties in my garden from slightly over 200 during
his first visit to 100 when he visited in 2006.  Currently, the count for
2007 is 80 varieties and holding.   I also believe that my chances of
finding three very similar and competitive blooms form a particular
variety increase with the additional bushes.  Those odds are probably
even better when using cuttings form the same mother plant.

At one of the 2006 dahlia shows, six of my triple entries made it to the
head table and one single bloom entry.  In my view, it is actually more
difficult to get a single bloom entry to the head table than a triple.  
Everyone entering blooms in a dahlia show can have single entries.   I
don’t think that is the case with triples.  Like the ten dollar table in
poker, triples generally take a higher ante.  However, in this case, the
fewer entries equate to a better chance to win.

Consistency and uniformity are important triple bloom considerations
when selecting a dahlia variety to grow for showing.  If you check the
show results for any issue of Dahlias of Today, you will find certain
varieties that win consistently as triples.  As an example, notice the
number of times the following varieties are listed as triples winners in
the 2006 issue; Barbarry Red Dwarf, Embrace, Kathy’s Choice, Mary’s
Jomanda and Pam Howden.  These varieties come close as dahlias can
to what is meant by “peas in a pod” in terms of uniformity and
consistency.

In staging my triples, its best for me to “listen” to what each individual
has to say about its proper place in the vase.  Suspect this is the “Zen”
side of staging.  Mostly, I hear “hey dummy”, but getting passed the
verbal abuse, I hear “my stem is the longest, and my leaves are better
positioned for me to be in the center back!!”  Or “because of my sweep
and shorter stem length, I naturally need to come in from the left!!”  
Well, hopefully you get the idea that the intrinsic characteristics of the
blooms, stems and foliage have much to contribute to their eventual
location ion the entry and “listening” to what they have to say in that
regard makes arranging triples much easier.

Once the entries are staged, I prepare them for transport first by
securing the blooms to one or more small diameter wooden dowels
pushed into the vase filler.  Generally, I use only one dowel, but
occasionally two or three if needed.  I connect floral ties (pipe cleaners)
between the dowels and the stems including ties from stem to stem to
ensure minimal movement during transport.  Once the blooms are
secured, I place the vases in hard plastic boxes with short pieces of PVC
and ABS pipe for spacers. Transport is generally uneventful now for the
most part, however, this past year on the way to a show, a bloom of an
intended Zorro triple jackknifed onto the open-faced entries.  
Apparently, it was trying to tell me something, but I wasn’t listening.  
Anyway, one Tahoma Hope was resurrected and placed in competition.  
Remarkably, the entry made it to the head table.  No doubt that effort
qualifies as my best dahlia resurrection to date.  However, resurrection
the Zorro triple would have required at least, divine intervention.

I’m looking forward to the 2007 show season and the opportunities and
challenges of “trying for triples” once again.

CARE OF GREEN PLANTS

It is best to set them out in the cool of the day although this is not
absolutely necessary.  Shading them with a couple of shingles or an
inverted peach basket for a few days will aid them in getting off to a
good start.  Do not be afraid of them.  They are very much like a tomato
plant in their requirements and the way they should be handled.  If they
were very dry when received submerging the ball of soil in a pail of
water until all air bubbles cease to rise before planting them out will
prove beneficial.  Examine the ball of soil and if it is found that the roots
have become pot-bound; i.e., the roots have become crowded and have
started to circle around the outside of the ball, all soil should be washed
off and the roots spread out in the hole before covering them up.  If this
is not done, proper development of the tubers is hindered and they are
apt to be so badly twisted together when dug that it will be almost
impossible to divide them without heavy loss.  Another reason for this
treatment is that if not done the roots may continue to grow in a tight
mass and not spread out far enough to procure the necessary food and
moisture. The result is a stunted plant.

Cover the roots and partly fill the hole with soil, firming it well around
them but leaving a depression or cup which may be filled with water.  
The hole should be filled in as soon as the water has soaked away.  A
small amount of fertilizer dissolved in this water, any of the starter
solutions recommended for use with tomato plants, or a B1 solution, will
aid the plants in getting off to an early start.  It will pay to water the
plants the day before setting out with a like solution giving them an
added pickup to counteract the shock of being transplanted.

Green plants should receive steady cultivation from the time they are
set out to promote steady growth.  As they are unlike tubers in having a
root system already formed they should be watered occasionally if the
weather is at all dry.  With a green plant both a root system and a top
growth have been developed when set out and that top growth must
have both food and water if it is to be kept growing steadily.  Most
failures from green plants are due to lack of care in their early growth,
allowing the plant to harden and really stunting it.  If this happens it
will pay to cut the top off above the lower leaves and get a new growth
started.

After the plants have become established the top should be pinched out
to promote more bushy growth.  If the plant tends to be tall and leggy it
may be advisable to cut it back far enough so that only a couple of sets
of leaves are left.

PLANTING AND ALLIED SUBJECTS

In selecting tubers for planting, small ones are preferable.  The eyes are
nearly all on the crown where the tuber is attached to the stalk.  The
main body of the tuber merely serves as storehouse for food to supply
the young plants until it can develop feed roots of its own.  Planting a
large tuber is simply supplying the young plant with an overabundance
of food and tends to discourage it from developing a good supply of feed
roots of its own.  If one has to use a large tuber, part should be removed
and the cut surface dusted with sulfur before planting.


The previous two items are excerpts from Practical Dahlia Culture
published by the Portland Dahlia Society in 1946
May 2007
Editor: Mike Riordan (503) 256-0425 Contacts: Larry Smith (503) 777-1857,
Jeanette Benson (503) 649-4118
Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park
United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda
Ruthie G