Meets second Tuesday of the month at Rose City Park
United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda
Editor: Mike Riordan (503) 256-0425
November 2008
Next meeting November 11th, 2008 @ 7:30 PM


Arthur "Art" Thomas
1912 – 2008    By Gary Murphy

I would like to take a moment to remember a truly remarkable man and a person who helped introduce me to
dahlias over 20 years ago.  Art Thomas was a member of the PDS for many years, although he did not attend
meetings, over the years he would contribute tubers and I would take them to the April sale.  Dahlias brought
Art and I together so many years ago...I would often take a short cut on Art's street in the Glendoveer area of
NE Portland and noticed dahlias planted along his driveway.  One day I stopped and introduced myself as a
dahlia enthusiast and from that day on we became fast friends and I visited with him and traded tubers with him
from that day on.  Art lost his beloved wife Gladys last year and never really friendship with this
wonderful man meant the world to me and it was all born out of our mutual love of the dahlia. Tap'er light my

Editor’s note:

Ed Redd, longtime member of the Federation of NW Dahlia Growers, passed away October 25, 2008.  Mr.
Redd developed the Klondike and Elma Elizabeth cultivars.  Elma Elizabeth was named after Mr. Redd’s
mother. Ed was an accomplished showman, repeatedly garnering best in show honors.  He also was known for
mentoring up and coming breeders and exhibitors.


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.  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 Marge Gitts and Phil Mingus.


Our mentorship program started last month and is off to a respectable start.  If you have any questions about
dahlia growing, please join our mentor of the month 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 of what went well for us in
our dahlia gardens and what went not so well.  New methods, procedures and stratagems will be honestly
evaluated.  We hope to all be able to learn from one another, share our successes and hopefully limit our
disappointments. Which new introductions do you most want to grow or grow again next year? Which ones from
our Trial Garden would you most like to try?


Our annual board meeting will take place Saturday, January 10th, 2009 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 blocks 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?  How are we progressing and what additional steps need to be taken to plan for our hosting the
National Show in 2012?  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.




Adults:  $7.00

Couples:  $10.00

Juniors:  $1.00

Individual: $20.00

Family:   $23.00

Add $8-Snowbirds

Individual $10.00

Dual:  $15.00

Mail to or pay at next meeting

Larry Sawyer, 11015 S.W. Berkshire, Portland, OR 97225


Canby Trial Garden Director, Bill Mishler, indicated that the trial garden had a very good season.  The
weather cooperated and there was ample supply of judges available to complete the task of judging the
seedlings.  Of those hopefuls submitted, 16 out of a total of 29 passed. The highest average score of 91.64 was
given to an orchid dahlia.


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

Limiting Laterals

By Max Ollieu

My first 10 years as a dahlia grower included much deadheading of many small blooms and essentially little
else in terms of manually attempting to influence bloom size.  I enjoyed that laissez faire period, but eventually
decided to reach out for help from others more knowledgeable than I about dahlia culture.  That included
joining the Portland Dahlia Society, attending their meetings and visiting with other dahlia growers.  It also
included reaching out to host foreign grower Ron Wilkes of Goulburn, NSW, Australia in his visits to the United
States.  Ron, in particular, influenced me greatly with his wise counsel from over forty years as an avid dahlia
grower, exhibitor and judge.

Since then, my garden has transformed considerably with no cultural practice left unchanged.  The plants and
blooms are strikingly different now and, if anything, I enjoy them even more.  I’m proud of particular varieties
and blooms that have won their way to head tables at dahlia shows.

As Ron pointed out, one practice necessary for dahlia varieties to reach their show potential is management
(control) of laterals (branches).  In retrospect, limiting laterals is, in my opinion, one of the most important
cultural practices a grower/exhibitor can employ to influence not only bloom size, but stem width and length,
direction of plant growth, ultimate location of blooms in relation to adjacent plants and structure, and
microclimate/phytosanitary conditions.  

Despite the sage advice I received, it has taken me a few years to become a true believer.  However, I do
remove the bottom-most leaves and buds/laterals from all my plants to allow more airflow as well as remove
hiding cover for insect pests around the base of the plants.  Also, I grow my plants fairly close together and
have considerable shade from large trees immediately adjacent to the garden.  Therefore, the number of
laterals that works for me likely would vary for other growers.  For instance, I only leave two laterals for A or
Large-sized dahlias and four laterals for BB or Small-sized dahlias.   Anemones (Comet, Goldie Gull and Alpen
Fury) I grew four up (four laterals) which worked well for me.  Replacement laterals are groomed as religiously
as the originals so a cut/spent bloom has one bloom only to replace it.  Meanwhile, unwanted laterals are
dispatched as quickly as possible.  Incidentally, all my plants have one stalk only originating from either a
mother tuber or a rooted cutting.   

Growing dahlias is somewhat like a continuous chess match and the analogy extends to choosing which laterals
to save.  For starters, which nodes (enlarged portion of the stalk where foliage and laterals originate) should
the laterals come from?  The number of nodes varies among dahlia plants with 13 being about average.  For
many varieties, the dahlias will be topped early anyway, leaving perhaps only 8-10 nodes from which to select
laterals.  If you got a late start with your plants, you may want to focus on nodes closer to the ground to get
blooms as early as possible.  Laterals on a node also often have one dominant and another sub-dominant.  I
tend to choose the dominant bud/lateral, then move on to the next node until reaching the desired number.  
However, if I wish a plant to grow in a particular direction/s (to miss support stakes or take advantage of more
open space), I may go with a sub-dominant bud/lateral and/or with every other node to encourage growth in
those desired directions.  Remember, each node produces leaves and buds at a 90 degree offset from the
previous node, which provides considerable opportunity to influence the direction of plant growth.

If particular varieties tend to grow too tall, I choose replacement laterals farther down the stalk, say the third
or fourth node from the bloom if available.  Kenora Majestic and Camano Sitka are two that come to mind.  
This year, I was able to keep both varieties seven feet or under whereas in previous years, they reached 8-9
feet.  I did notice that nodes farther from the bloom can have slow bud/lateral growth and in some cases had no
buds at all, which limited replacement options.

Before I got into lateral management, I read an article I believe by Graham Cary, who lives and grows dahlias
in the United Kingdom.  As I recall, he was talking about growing Kiwi Gloria seven up.  It took me a while to
figure out he wasn’t talking about the soft drink.  I wondered how he knew to grow a particular variety “seven
up” and how many “ups” would I use for the other hundred varieties I grow?  Life’s persistent questions as
Garrison Keillor would say.


The nominating committee of Larry Smith, Mike Riordan and Shirley Bankston has arrived with the following
slate of officers for 2009-2010.

President                               Teresa Bergman

Vice President                       Ted Kennedy

Treasurer                               Larry Sawyer

Recording Secretary            Shirley Bankston

Corresponding Secretary    Tiffany Boatwright

This slate will be voted on at the November meeting.  The by-laws allow for additional nominations from the
floor.  Floor nominees need to be present and indicate a willingness to serve if elected.

Outgoing President Larry Smith adds:  “My term as President of PDS has been an enjoyable one, thanks to
you, the members. I have been blessed with a strong, active Board and a solid, supportive membership base.  
Working together, we accomplished much during the last two years.  Let’s keep that momentum going as we
pursue our passion for the dahlia into the next term.”


November’s meeting will be the last regular meeting for this year.  We will get together the second Tuesday of
December at our regular meeting spot for our annual Christmas Party.  There will be a December issue of the
Bulletin around the first of December. There will be no Bulletin or meeting for the month of January and our
regular meeting and publication schedule will resume in February of 2009.

at Portland
Show 2002
Kenora Clyde AA SC W