Next meeting Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 @ 7:30 PM
COOKIES FOR OCTOBER

Cookie hosts for October are Monte Stowell and Art Olmsted.

PROGRAM FOR OCTOBER

Our program for October will include the selection of next year’s flower of the year.  This should be a flower that’s easy
to grow, B size or smaller, widely available commercially and one that’s not already served as dahlia of the year for the
past five years.  Past flowers of the year are as follows:

2007 – Pam Howden
2006– Woodland’s Wildthing
2005– Cornel
2004 – Wildwood Marie
2003 – Jesse G.

Members are encouraged to bring a staged entry of their nomination for 2008 Flower of the Year and the winner will be
determined by popular vote.

Our October program will also include a demonstration on dividing dahlias and a presentation on tuber storage methods.

SEEDLING COMPETITION

Again this year we will have a competition for the best seedling.  First through third year are ok, as long as they will not
appear in the 2008 ADS Classification Book. We will have an award for the best show dahlia as well as the best and
most unusual cut flower. So bring one or more entries to this debut competition.


MENTOR PROGRAM BEGINS

Starting with our October meeting we will be inaugurating our mentor program for new (er) dahlia growers.  We will meet
a half hour before the regular meeting at the rear of the meeting room from 7:00 to 7:30 PM.  Bring your problems,
frustrations and disappointments and Max will let you know how he’s overcome some of the same or similar issues. It’s a
great way for all to learn and share information and ideas. Experienced growers are also welcome.

CLUMP AUCTION

At the meeting we will have undivided clumps of dahlias available.  They will be sold using the “silent auction” method.
Members are asked to bring a few clumps of surplus stock that can be donated to this event.  Please make sure the
clumps are well washed and marked with the variety name. We will have 3 x 5 note cards available for the bidding which
can take place before the meeting or during the refreshment break. Last year members liked this program idea.

OCTOBER IN THE GARDEN

To dig or not to dig…?  Soon the colors will begin to fade and forms will become more imprecise. The sunny brisk fall
days of October will begin to wane and be inevitably followed by the wet, short, cold, overcast days of late November. An
advantage to digging this month is the soil is not yet waterlogged and the soil comes away from the tubers more easily.
Also consider there may be some spots in your garden which have poor drainage and these areas should be first dug.
Moreover, some varieties are more susceptible to rot in waterlogged November soil. Notoriously hard to winter over
varieties like Rhonda, Mi Wong or Hallmark should be lifted and stored first before soil borne molds begin to do their
damage.

If you have planted multiple plants of the same variety, compare them carefully to determine which plants have produced
the best flowers.  Which plants appear more vigorous and have the best centers and overall form?  This is your superior
stock which you will want to replant or in some instances take cuttings from next year.  I sometime code the tubers and
the plastic tag with an “x” by the name to so indicate.

Many of us are still making crosses and attempting to save seed for next year’s stars of tomorrow. It is ok to harvest the
seed pods if they are firm and straw yellow in color.  Some growers like to break open and dry the seeds from the ripe
pods.  Others prefer to leave the pods whole and allow them to dry naturally in a dry location.  I find it easy to cut the
pods with foot long stems and then dry my pod bouquets grouped in ADS plastic exhibition vases.  Sometimes I find I’ll
leave a seed pod parent alone for a few weeks until the pods become more mature.  My digging methodology is quite
purposeful although it may appear random.

If you are growing seedlings, I would suggest digging your first year keepers prior to frost.  In many instances they are
planted more shallowly than established varieties, thus being more vulnerable to a hard freeze.  Many seedling growers
believe in splitting the first year clumps in two prior to storing away.  This tends to lessen the probability of crown rot.  A
dip of all cut portions of all dahlia tubers into an anti-fungal agent helps prevent rot during storage.   I use a Captan
solution.  Others find Benelate solution or household bleach mixed one to ten parts water effective in stopping rot or
mold.  Always be sure to allow your cut tubers time to cure after having divided and treated the cut portions.  This
should be done at storage temperature and will take 24 to 48 hours depending on relative humidity. What works well for
me is dividing, curing and storing my tubers in my attached garage.

A quick note on marking tubers… The best device I’ve found is an indelible pencil called A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil.  It
produces ink-like marks on slightly moist tubers. These pencils are available at Doneen’s sale table for a modest price.

It also makes sense to bring in your potroots prior to a killing frost.  Just cut off the stalks even with the soil and pack up
the pot, potting soil and root into storage boxes for safe keeping in your tuber storage location. Tubers that have grown
out of the drainage holes can be either left or removed.  My experience has been if makes no difference.  The only
advantage of removal is tighter and neater packing of the storage boxes.

PLASTIC STORAGE CRATES

John and Carla Stables of Alpen Gardens have located a source for black plastic storage crates.  These crates are
similar to milk crates only not as tall.  Cost will be about $1 each and won’t be available at least until November.
See John and Carla for pre-order information.

STORING DAHLIAS

Dahlia storage is controlled by two factors, temperature and humidity.  Dahlias need a cool and relatively moist
atmosphere.  A store room having a temperature of 35 to 40 degrees, even though  damp enough for moisture to collect
on the walls, is superior to one having a temperature of over 50 degrees with dry air.  Cross ventilation should be made
available and used.  Dahlias packed in open crates and stored under such conditions usually winter well.  

If they must be stored in a basement where there is a furnace, a section should be walled off if possible.  An old root
house makes a very satisfactory store room if available.  Where one has had success with some method of storage he
should not change.  The method that works well for one person may not do at all for someone else.  

Regardless of the method of storing, the tubers should be examined every few weeks throughout the winter.  If any rot is
found the affected parts should be removed and the cut part dusted with sulphur or lime.  If they have started to shrivel,
the room is too dry and they may be lightly sprinkled or containers of water placed in the room to add moisture to the
atmosphere.  If mold has started to develop they should be taken outside, the mold brushed off, and allowed to dry for a
few hours before putting them away again.  It may be necessary to remove them to a dryer space.

There is a growing tendency to split all clumps immediately after digging before storing them.  This allows the moisture in
the remaining stalk to dry out and prevents rot from starting in the crown.  One commercial grower cuts all his clumps up
into separate tubers right after digging and stores them in dry sawdust in tight boxes.  They winter in nice shape for
him.  This eliminates all crown rot but care should be taken to secure kiln dried sawdust for this purpose.  Hardwood
sawdust is preferable if it can be obtained.

From Practical Dahlia Culture published by the Portland Dahlia Society in 1946.


HORTICULTURAL HUMPTY DUMPTY
By Max Ollieu

Three years ago, Dick Porter forwarded me his dahlia list, which was built using Microsoft’s Office Excel software.  
Besides being Mr. Everything in the world of dahlias here in the Pacific Northwest, Dick spent his career working with
computers at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.  My pompon dahlias came from Dick’s stock as did the
software format for my dahlia list.  A key component (actual driver) of that format is the ADS Classification numbering
system.  This approach automatically categorizes dahlia forms by size class from Giant Formal Decorative (numbers 1-
15), through Miniature Laciniated Cactus (numbers 481-495).  The remaining dahlias are categorized by form only: Ball
(501-515), Miniature Ball (521-535), Pompon (541-555), Stellar (561-575), Waterlily (601-615), Peony (621-635),
Anemone (641-655), Collarette (661-675), Single (701-715), Mignon Single (721-735), Orchid (741-755), Novelty Open
(761-775), and Novelty Fully Double (781-795).  

This numerical approach to dahlia classification makes listing the 36 Sections, which normally comprise the Horticultural
portion of our dahlia shows both simple and straight forward.  And, in fact, that indeed seems to hold true for the Giants
through Pompons (Sections 1-16).  However, Sections 17 through 36 often don’t follow the ADS classification numbering
system at the shows in which my blooms are entered.  Recently, I reviewed show schedules for the five shows in which I
entered blooms in 2006.  Two of the five followed the ADS Classification numbering system exactly in arranging their
Horticultural Sections (Douglas County Dahlia Society, Roseburg, Oregon and the Southern Oregon Dahlia Society,
North Bend, Oregon).  The remaining three societies deviated from the ADS Classification numbering system by
transposing from four to ten of their dahlia forms consequently affecting from eight to twenty Horticultural Sections.  My
Portland Dahlia Society, for instance, rearranged Stellar through Orchid forms, which affected 16 Horticultural Sections.  
The Lane County Dahlia Society in Eugene, Oregon shuffled all forms from Stellar through Novelty Fully Double, which
affected twenty Horticultural Sections.  The four societies listed above (Eugene, North Bend, Portland, and Roseburg)
are all members of the Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference.  The Grays Harbor Dahlia Society with its show in Elma,
Washington transposed the Stellar and Waterlily forms as well as Novelty Open and Novelty Fully Double, which affected
eight Horticultural Sections.  The Grays Harbor Dahlia Society is a member of the Federation of Northwest Dahlia
Growers (FNWDGs).  All ten societies of the FNWDGs use the same arrangement for their Horticultural Sections.

Each show has sections designed to fit special needs.  These allow for a wide variety of competitive approaches,
including some unique to individual societies.  In contrast, the Horticultural portion is common to all shows and draws
upon our ADS Classification Handbook for its structure.  Rearranging the Horticultural Sections apparently has its
admirers, but it also has its impacts, particularly for exhibitors like me who enjoy entering blooms in other societies’
shows.                

Last year, in preparation for the Lane County Dahlia Show, I started early Friday morning to select and cut the best
blooms, take them indoors, then stage and label each entry.  With approximately fifty entries, and not being the fastest
at this whole process, it was quite late before I got the above tasks completed.  At least I thought and hoped I was
finished, since the trip the following morning would begin around 3:30 AM.  Eugene is about 2½ hours south on I-5, and
setup commenced at 6:30 AM.  I just completed all the entry tags only to notice the show catalog I was using was for the
Roseburg Show not the Eugene Show.  Roseburg follows the ADS Classification numbering system exactly, Eugene
does not.  Consequently, it required even more time to correct my entry tags before getting some much needed sleep.

Seems to me that each society should reexamine the rationale used in arranging the Horticultural portion of its show.  Is
deviating from the national standard worth the time and confusion it causes out-of-area exhibitors?  If these deviations
are truly worthwhile, why aren’t we incorporating them into our national classification?  Such reexamination might help us
put this Horticultural Humpty Dumpty back together.  

CLUMP AUCTION

At the meeting we will have undivided clumps of dahlias available.  They will be sold using the “silent auction” method.
Members are asked to bring a few clumps of surplus stock that can be donated to this event.  Please make sure the
clumps are well washed and marked with the variety name. We will have 3 x 5 note cards available for the bidding which
can take place before the meeting or during the refreshment break. Last year members liked this program idea.

OCTOBER IN THE GARDEN

To dig or not to dig…?  Soon the colors will begin to fade and forms will become more imprecise. The sunny brisk fall
days of October will begin to wane and be inevitably followed by the wet, short, cold, overcast days of late November. An
advantage to digging this month is the soil is not yet waterlogged and the soil comes away from the tubers more easily.
Also consider there may be some spots in your garden which have poor drainage and these areas should be first dug.
Moreover, some varieties are more susceptible to rot in waterlogged November soil. Notoriously hard to winter over
varieties like Rhonda, Mi Wong or Hallmark should be lifted and stored first before soil borne molds begin to do their
damage.

If you have planted multiple plants of the same variety, compare them carefully to determine which plants have produced
the best flowers.  Which plants appear more vigorous and have the best centers and overall form?  This is your superior
stock which you will want to replant or in some instances take cuttings from next year.  I sometime code the tubers and
the plastic tag with an “x” by the name to so indicate.

Many of us are still making crosses and attempting to save seed for next year’s stars of tomorrow. It is ok to harvest the
seed pods if they are firm and straw yellow in color.  Some growers like to break open and dry the seeds from the ripe
pods.  Others prefer to leave the pods whole and allow them to dry naturally in a dry location.  I find it easy to cut the
pods with foot long stems and then dry my pod bouquets grouped in ADS plastic exhibition vases.  Sometimes I find I’ll
leave a seed pod parent alone for a few weeks until the pods become more mature.  My digging methodology is quite
purposeful although it may appear random.

If you are growing seedlings, I would suggest digging your first year keepers prior to frost.  In many instances they are
planted more shallowly than established varieties, thus being more vulnerable to a hard freeze.  Many seedling growers
believe in splitting the first year clumps in two prior to storing away.  This tends to lessen the probability of crown rot.  A
dip of all cut portions of all dahlia tubers into an anti-fungal agent helps prevent rot during storage.   I use a Captan
solution.  Others find Benelate solution or household bleach mixed one to ten parts water effective in stopping rot or
mold.  Always be sure to allow your cut tubers time to cure after having divided and treated the cut portions.  This
should be done at storage temperature and will take 24 to 48 hours depending on relative humidity. What works well for
me is dividing, curing and storing my tubers in my attached garage.

A quick note on marking tubers… The best device I’ve found is an indelible pencil called A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil.  It
produces ink-like marks on slightly moist tubers. These pencils are available at Doneen’s sale table for a modest price.

It also makes sense to bring in your potroots prior to a killing frost.  Just cut off the stalks even with the soil and pack up
the pot, potting soil and root into storage boxes for safe keeping in your tuber storage location. Tubers that have grown
out of the drainage holes can be either left or removed.  My experience has been if makes no difference.  The only
advantage of removal is tighter and neater packing of the storage boxes.

PLASTIC STORAGE CRATES

John and Carla Stables of Alpen Gardens have located a source for black plastic storage crates.  These crates are
similar to milk crates only not as tall.  Cost will be about $1 each and won’t be available at least until November.
See John and Carla for pre-order information.

STORING DAHLIAS

Dahlia storage is controlled by two factors, temperature and humidity.  Dahlias need a cool and relatively moist
atmosphere.  A store room having a temperature of 35 to 40 degrees, even though  damp enough for moisture to collect
on the walls, is superior to one having a temperature of over 50 degrees with dry air.  Cross ventilation should be made
available and used.  Dahlias packed in open crates and stored under such conditions usually winter well.  

If they must be stored in a basement where there is a furnace, a section should be walled off if possible.  An old root
house makes a very satisfactory store room if available.  Where one has had success with some method of storage he
should not change.  The method that works well for one person may not do at all for someone else.  

Regardless of the method of storing, the tubers should be examined every few weeks throughout the winter.  If any rot is
found the affected parts should be removed and the cut part dusted with sulphur or lime.  If they have started to shrivel,
the room is too dry and they may be lightly sprinkled or containers of water placed in the room to add moisture to the
atmosphere.  If mold has started to develop they should be taken outside, the mold brushed off, and allowed to dry for a
few hours before putting them away again.  It may be necessary to remove them to a dryer space.

There is a growing tendency to split all clumps immediately after digging before storing them.  This allows the moisture in
the remaining stalk to dry out and prevents rot from starting in the crown.  One commercial grower cuts all his clumps up
into separate tubers right after digging and stores them in dry sawdust in tight boxes.  They winter in nice shape for
him.  This eliminates all crown rot but care should be taken to secure kiln dried sawdust for this purpose.  Hardwood
sawdust is preferable if it can be obtained.

From Practical Dahlia Culture published by the Portland Dahlia Society in 1946.



ON LINE INFORMATION

The American Dahlia Society maintains a website at http://www.dahlia.org which provides lots of useful information and
links.  If you have a computer and enjoy learning more about dahlias this is a great resource.  On the ADS website there
are links to joining e-mail newsgroups-bulletin boards like the dahlia- net and dahlia- creating.

The Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference has a web site located at http://pndcdahlia.com/index.html Here you will find
lots of eye-popping dahlia photographs as well as information about the PNDC and its member dahlia clubs  

The Portland Dahlia Society’s website is at http://portlanddahlia.com  Here you will find more information about our club’s
history, pictorial tours of the Canby Trial Garden, tour a member’s garden and see many great dahlia photographs.  
Both the Portland and the PNDC website are created and maintained by our own Ted Kennedy.  Thanks Ted for all you
do.

.                          
DID YOU KNOW?

The ball dahlia “Cornel” was named by its originator Mr. Geerlings of Holland for himself “Cor” and his wife named “Nel”.  
It has nothing to do with Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Bill Tapley the Australian originator of the Aitara line of dahlias named Aitara April after no one individual but the month
it first bloomed.  In time of year Australian April is comparable to North American October.
Editor: Mike Riordan (503)256-0425 Contacts: Larry Smith thebodysmith@hotmail.com, Jeanette Benson (503) 649-4118