Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park
United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda
Editor: Mike Riordan (503) 256-0425
Editor: Mike Riordan (503)256-0425 Contacts: Teresa Bergman (360)
274-8292, Jeanette Benson (503) 649-4118
Next meeting Tuesday, May 13th, 2008 @ 7:30 PM
APRIL TUBER SALE AND AUCTION RESULTS
Treasurer Larry Sawyer reports combined net proceeds (allowing for
new member discounts) was $3274 which is a little larger our budgeted
goal. This demonstrates what we can accomplish as we all pull together
to achieve our objectives. Noteworthy improvements this year were the
aerial size signage above each table, courtesy of Teresa Bergman. Also
creating a premium value table for those newer varieties at $4 and up
made so much sense. Thanks to Larry Smith, Teresa Bergman, Gary
Murphy, Linda Sterling, Jerry Landry, Phil Mingus and all who helped
with the set up of the hall. We had more people helping with set up this
year and many hands made for light and quick work. Thanks to Phil
Mingus and Shirley Schaffer 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 and crew 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 Carol Halverson and Bob Merrell 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. Special thanks to
those that helped with clean up of the hall after the sale. My apologies
to anyone not mentioned and mega thanks to everyone who helped make
this sale a success.
COOKIES FOR MAY
Linda Merrill 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. (As
and if available) 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. This year we again plan to
project 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:
Ryecroft Zoe, Formby Kaitlyn, Kenora Jubilee, Kenora Clyde, some
newer Hollyhill introductions, Scott’s Alchemy and Scott’s R.W.
Teresa Bergman will have a presentation on the use of dahlias in
Special thanks to Eric Toedtli for all his hard work on the 2008 Show
Schedule. It will be available at the meeting.
MASTER GARDENER’S SALE
Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday May 4th 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. Ted Kennedy would like
some help setting up the tent on Friday, May 2nd starting at about
11:00 AM at the Fairgrounds. Larry Smith is looking for a few more
volunteers to help man 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.
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 planting 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
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
What is the most important thing to do after I have planted my tubers
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.
HOW LATE IN THE SEASON CAN I TAKE DAHLIA CUTTINGS?
By Ted Kennedy
I generally stop taking cuttings about May 1st of each year. If one were
taking cuttings to make pot tubers, I bet you could take cuttings till
about June 1st.
In my operation, a cutting from a tuber that is about 2-3 inches tall,
roots in about 12 days. Some take longer and let’s use 15 days as the
average. I believe that a cutting that has just rooted, needs another 2
weeks to get a fully developed root system. After it has rooted (15 days
old), one should fertilize the cutting with a weak solution (1/4 rate) of 20-
20-20 soluble greenhouse type fertilizer and do so again a 5-7 days
later. At 30 days from taking the cutting, the plant should be about 6-7
inches tall and can be planted into the ground outside. Some may be too
small and weak and may need another week or so. So from the time you
take the cutting to the earliest time you can plant outside is 30 days.
You should also “harden off” the plants by taking them out of the
greenhouse a few days before planting in the ground.
On the other side of the coin, how long can I leave my cuttings the pots
before I plant them?
I use pots that are about 2.5 inches by 2.25 inches at the top and are 2.5
inches deep. They fit 36 to a flat. I root the cuttings in these pots and
generally do not transplant the cutting to a bigger pot before it is
planted. The cuttings will grow rather tall, sometimes even 18 inches
tall in that small pot. I have taken cuttings in late February and left
them in the small pots and planted them in the ground on May10th.
They seem to do just fine. The average cutting is probably taken about
April 1st and planted in the ground about May10th. So they can be as
old as 80 days in the pot to as young as 30 days. Whatever the age of the
cutting, I do regularly give them a bit of greenhouse fertilizer to keep
them growing well.
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
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.
THOUGHTS ON THIS SEASON
The spring of 2008 seems destined to go down as one of the coldest and
wettest seasons west of the Cascades. Dahlia growers in Great Britain
also report colder and wetter than normal weather. When we do finally
dry out and warm up (?), the floral display will be glorious with many
species of plants blooming simultaneously. In a normal year the display
would be more sequential. So look for and appreciate this rare silver
When can the ground be worked? Try hand working a few areas. How
does the soil cling together? If the soil seems tight and adobe like, with
water puddling in the bottom of the excavation, you need to let it dry
out more. If in a week to ten days, the tops of hand turned soil look a bit
dry, take another look. Try loosely packing a ball of earth in your hand
then drop it to the ground from hip high. If it breaks up on impact,
your soil may be ready to till. What needs to be avoided is soil
compaction caused by roto-tilling soil that is too wet. If you see you are
creating a gummy gooey mess, STOP! Revisit and re-evaluate your
situation after ten days of relatively dry weather.
Dahlias are a resilient species. In late June and July they can easily
make up for lost time in a hurry. Better to have them in a little late,
than succumb to rot in cold wet soil.
What causes the new growth on my dahlias to be yellow or lighter green
in color? Generally, this is the plants reaction to colder night time
temperatures. You will see that different varieties display this
characteristic to varying degrees. This yellow coloration is not
permanent and the plants will gradually grow out of it.
Do you have some clumps left in the ground from last year? If they are
in a well drained location like you would find near the eves of your
home, they might now be coming up. If you would like to dig them up,
divide and replant them this can be done all at once. Just make sure
that each tuber you replant has a sprout or some growth. If you do this
a little later in the season with some green growth on the plant, this is
not a problem. You will encounter some wilting which can be mitigated
by shading with a piece of cardboard staked vertically on the South side
of the plant. (Easier to find than a peach basket) After moving to the
new location, the wilting should go away in about ten to fourteen days
Very Rare Waterlily
BB FD White