November 2007
Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E.
Editor: Mike Riordan (503) 256-0425 Contacts: Larry Smith (503) 777-1857, Jeanette
Benson (503) 649-4118
Next meeting Tuesday, November 13th @ 7:30 p.m.
With profound sadness we report the passing of our life member Nick Gitts. Nick passed away in the company of his family on
October 16th. His Celebration of Life Service was held Monday, October 29th at the Canby Grove Conference Center. Nick and
Marge Gitts purchased Swan Island Dahlias from Francis McDuffy-McCarter in 1963. From the start, the Gitts family have been
strong supporters and promoters of the Portland Dahlia Society. Nick and Marge and their sons have given of their time, serving
as Board Members for our society. They are the only commercial growers that have staged an unbroken succession of floral
displays at our annual shows. In their annual full color catalogue shipped worldwide, they have always promoted and encouraged
membership in local dahlia societies. Over the years they have generously sponsored several awards in our annual show schedule.
During their
Dahlia Festival on Labor Day weekend they have always encouraged their customers to visit our show at the
Fairgrounds. The Gitt’s family has generously hosted our September meeting at their facility and answered questions about their
operation and dahlia growing in general. The Gitts family has sponsored an ADS sanctioned Trial Garden next to their display
garden. This sponsorship has included receiving and starting entries mailed from around the country, watering, fertilizing and
spraying the trial garden. In recognition of Nick and Marge Gitts countless contributions to the dahlia world, they were awarded
the 2007 Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement.
Eleanor Shantz reports that long-time Lane County Dahlia Society member David Fox, Sr. passed away unexpectedly. David and
his wife Janet were regular participants in shows throughout Western Oregon. Our sincerest condolences to the Fox family.
Our November meeting will feature a continuation of the “silent auction” of undivided clumps. If you have extra stock you think
other members might like, please bring the November meeting. This fundraiser stimulated lots of interest and competitive bidding
last month.
Part of our program for November will be our annual photo competition. Photos may be either conventional prints from film or
prints of digital images. The competition will be divided into three categories: 1) Photos of dahlia blooms, 2) Dahlia blooms with
people or critters, and 3) Dahlias in landscapes or garden scenes. There will be a ten dollar prize for each category and the best of
all three categories will receive an additional ten dollars. Please bring your photos in prior to the start of the meeting so we will
have a chance to stage the entries on a display screen. We hope to have the screen available at 7:00 PM. There will be time for
viewing and judging during the refreshment break. The judges will announce the winners and award the prizes prior to the
conclusion of the meeting.
Cookie hosts for November are John and
Carla Stables.
Our mentorship program started last month and is off to a respectable start. If you have any questions about dahlia growing,
please join Max at the rear of the meeting room starting at 7:00 PM. Learn what stratagems are used when you can’t see the
darned eyes. What do you do with a whole clump of spaghetti roots? How do you mitigate broken necks while digging?
Experienced growers are also welcome.
In addition to the clump silent auction and the photo contest we will have a discussion and demonstration of how to best care for
and winterize our garden tools. If you have a tool that has worked very well for you this season could you bring it in to show
other members? Maybe it’s a pair of bonsai sheers that works great for dividing. Maybe you’ve discovered a newer type of hoe
or cultivator that’s worked wonders in your dahlia garden. The holidays are fast approaching, so this is an opportunity to put
some new and labor saving items on your gardener’s wish list from Santa.
Our annual board meeting will take place Saturday, January 12th, 2008 at 12 noon. We will meet in the community room at the
Georgetown Realty Office located at 1000 NE 122nd Avenue in Portland. From I-205 North or South bound take exit 21A to
Glisan Street. Take Glisan East (street numbers increase) to 122nd Avenue. Turn left from Glisan to 122nd. Georgetown is two
block down 122nd on your right. Parking is behind the building. We will start the meeting with a potluck luncheon. Everyone is
encouraged to bring a dish they believe others will find popular. All members are welcome at this meeting. You need not be a
member of the board to participate. We will be discussing what went well and where and how we can improve. What do we want
to change or revise in the show schedule to make it even better? How can we increase participation in our annual show? What
changes would you like to see in our monthly meeting programs? How can we go about attracting and retaining more new
members? This is a planning and strategizing session, so please bring your ideas and enthusiasm.
Why not take care of this now and get it out of the way. 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.
Individual $10.00
Dual: $15.00
Mail to or pay at next meeting
Larry Sawyer,
11015 S.W.
Portland, OR
At last month’s meeting after a dead heat tie with Weston Spanish Dancer was broken, Chimicum Katie, BB FD Lavender, was
selected as our 2008 flower of the year. Put this one on your list of new varieties to order for next season.
After looking after the sale items for many years, life member Doneen Burgess is retiring from her duties at the sale table. We
thank Doneen for her many years of service for the good of our Society. Please give Jeanette Benson 503-649-4118 a call to
volunteer for this job.
In Oregon dahlias should be dug as soon as possible after the first killing frost. In any case do not leave in the ground after
December 1st and many growers plan to start digging by November 10th whether they have been frost killed or not. There is one
exception to this rule. If the soil is unusually well drained and the tubers well covered with soil, one may risk leaving them in the
ground all winter. If the spoil is heavy clay, never take a chance as it always remains soggy enough to damage the tubers. There
is always the added risk of the weather being sufficiently cold that frost may travel down the stem to the tubers and kill them.
If possible choose a sunny, slightly windy day. Cut the tops off a few inches above the ground and toss in a pile for later disposal.
Some growers cut the tops off several days before digging, but this practice is not to be recommended as there is too much
chance for water, either resident in the remaining stem, or rain, to seep down into the clump and promote rot. There is always the
possibility of frost following down the open stalk into the crown and starting rot there.
Try to have two people to dig, each equipped with a light, well sharpened shovel. A third person to grasp the stalk and aid in
lifting the clump, shake the extra soil off and gently set the clump aside, will aid materially in saving tubers that might otherwise
be damaged or ruined entirely. The important point is that all fine feeder roots must be cut off all around the clump before
endeavoring to lift it. Extreme care should be shown with all long neck varieties to keep from straining or breaking the necks as
the break will dry out clear through and the tuber will be ruined. Set the clump to one side, carefully knocking off all loose earth
possible, inverting it to allow plant juices in the stem to drain out. It will pay to leave some soil around the slender necked varieties
to help prevent breakage. Some people like to use a frame with wire bottom set up on boxes to set the clumps in to dry off. This
permits free circulation of air on all sides of the clump.
The stalk should be cut off close to the clump and a tag firmly attached. The wire may be run through a tuber if necessary or the
name written on a large tuber with an indelible pencil. If digging must be done under wet and muddy conditions, the clump should
be washed off with the hose using a gentle pressure and the clump thoroughly dried off before storing. If stored too wet with
insufficient ventilation, and most storage rooms do not have proper ventilation, much loss from rot may be expected. Some
varieties have very heavy crowns and coarse heavy tops and these should be split into two pieces before storing it aid in drying.
The above from Practical Dahlia Culture published by the Portland Dahlia
Society in 1946
RaeAnn's Peach S-DB or/r, Winner
of the Evie Gullickson Trial Garden
Newaukum Honey BB-ID-Or Winner
of the Derrill Hart Medal
Portland Dahlia Society Member Wayne Lobaugh Wins
Medals from the American Dahlia Society
for Two New Dahlia