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Dahlia Society of California

NEXT MEETING: January 8th, at 7:30 PM, SF County Fair Building at 9th Ave. and Lincoln Way.

PROGRAM Happy New Year and best wishes for another glorious dahlia season!

ADS New Introduction Slides. Come checkout the latest and greatest from the trial gardens and commercial growers around the country. Come covet the night away. Who will bring the first treats of the year to share with your fellow gardeners? Who else will take some digital pix of the meeting??? (Deborah will not have her camera.) We need new perspectives.


More cheerful than ever before, the Gaensler's and Lotus Dick added to the lush array of wines from Cuvee Shulkin to keep barkeep, Orlando, busy. Deborah’s soft drinks tempted few in the face of higher octane choices. Mary and Bill decked out the tables with covers while the Dingwall's decorated with stuffed animals. Bill’s holiday hats augmented much needed utensils to set the stage for a fine feast. Jytte brought a new variation on her traditional (and much requested onion pie) with a tomato quiche. We sampled the various open face sandwiches from the Juul's along with JoAnn’s famous deviled eggs. Elsie’s shrimp disappeared in a twinkling. How many went back for seconds of the succulent Gaensler ham swimming in Erik’s infamous sauce? Comments abounded around the meatballs and Deborah’s chicken eggplant casserole. John accused Deborah of dampening the ardor for desserts in favor of salads, but the cranberry/corn just arrived before the chocolate lover’s coma cake; timing is perspective, eh? Who deserves credit for the scrumptious hand-made fudge and caramels?


Santa’s helper elf, Nicholas, turned 5, discovering a samurai sword under a blanket. Santa always knows……. Deborah refereed our gift exchange whilst Lou computed steals. Quickly the daffodils, hedgehog, work gloves, silver shovel, and box of succulents cum vase and ph tester froze over; to Natalie’s delight, Louisiana snatched the car detail kit away at the last moment. We were delighted that first-timers to our fete, Devora, Marcia, Barry, Dick and Kathleen got into the spirit.


Monterey did it again: four progressive meals at four homes of dahlia growers.  Millie’s house, right by the beach, displayed not only her dahlias, but also Janet’s last Santa Cruz crop. Millie’s Corinna, a b ic flame and Janet’s Wild West really stood out.  The home-grown tomato bruchetta and the humus-like spread from Lima beans made breakfast superb.  Sharon and George’s dahlia jungle in Corralitos topped all our heads.  Sharon grows completely organically, no pesticides but George installed a major fertigation system.  Wow! For a second year grower, Sharon plays with the Big Boys. Randy architected and built the glass and beam home he shares with Lena in Aptos.  After a sumptuous buffet dinner, we all lay down on their cozy grass for a siesta. And such a finale: a full table laden down with desserts from home-picked berry cobblers, pies, cookies, cakes and fruits eaten from the 300 degree around deck of the house Bettie designed and her husband and sons built over seven years with spectacular views out over the valley.  We DSCers should figure out how to stage a Dahlia Dine Around here in the Bay Area.  It’s such a great way to see others gardens, mingle with your dirt pals, and eat glorious food all day long.  Thank you Monterey for including Tinnee, Orlando and Deborah in your annual gala.


It is official: Dig Out 2008 will be Martin Luther King Weekend, Jan. 19-20 rain or shine (but hope for shine, shine, shine!) We’ll start at 9 am and go to dark. Take this opportunity to apprentice with the masters of digging and dividing. Learn the occult process of Clorox dips; practice using the ADS Classification Book (and knowing what it means) at the Label Table. Gloves, layers of clothes, dividing tools, marking pencils, hats, boots (Costco and Home Depot had good deals on boots), bun warmers, a change of sox or more (with wet weather a must) and noshes prepare you for almost everything. Bring your friends who’ve admired your blooms throughout the summer as long as they write legibly. The label table needs good story tellers. Your benevolent society will provide a main item for lunch both days, but we welcome appetizers, drinks, veggies, and work-sustaining foods. Remember, the Park is open to cars on Saturday, but not on Sunday; you can walk in from the McClaren Lodge parking lot. Come have some filthy fun!


Mulch with leaves and/or grass clippings all dahlias left in. Cover with 1-5 gallon pots. Weed assiduously; the more you weed now, the less horrific later. Plant a quick cover crop of fava beans, hairy vetch or special rye—all nitrogen producers. In the spring, just turn them under for richer worm food. Begin plotting your 2008 plot: what do you need? Start an XL data base. My columns include, name, ADS #, form, color, source, place in garden, and growing notes. Check out The Big List to decide what to order for this year. Already certain commercial growers have Sold Out signs on their super popular beauties—so order as soon as possible. I already have several in milk cartons up in my loft starting to germinate. So start reminding your friends and neighbors to save their milk cartons for you.

Yours in Dirt, Deborah

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