Viewing post #1327602 by teddahlia

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You are viewing a single post made by teddahlia in the thread called 2019 Intros.
Sep 11, 2019 11:05 AM CST
Name: Ted
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Thumb of 2019-09-11/teddahlia/c1e419
Smooches is a new one being introduced at Swan island and it is a very prolific bloomer on beautiful plants.

Last night was the potluck club meeting at Swan Island Dahlias Several of you have stated that you like to read a bit of a summary of the presentation done by Nick Gitts of Swan Island. Unfortunately he did not bring examples of his new intros to the meeting. He did talk a bit about them Hula is the only open center new one and it has a dark red eye zone and a dark brown pollen center. He said they are no longer trying to breed open center dahlias but if a good one appears in the seedlings he will keep it. My Forever is the very large peachy orange waterlily. Sweet Grace is listed as 7 inches but grew 8 or 9 inches in years past. He is working on a large flower in the color scheme of Cafe' au Lait and it may be introduced next year.

Cafe' au Lait continues to sell well and he repeated his comments that it is a very inconsistent grower in both the quality of each plant and color of the flowers on even one plant. Some are vigorous and others want to lay on the ground. He says they have been selecting the best plants to grow but it seems to be a long term process. He says that they continue to sell out of it's tubers at $19.95 each. My Hero is his current favorite flower as it is named after his Father. Someone asked about it's tuber production and he said about 5 (that is one of those generic answers

He discussed sales of cut flowers. During the week end days of the festival they sold 2,000 bunches per day to visitors. At the busiest times there were lines 50 people long waiting for the flowers that had been picked but were finishing the heat treatment. He said that currently cut flower sales are 7% of their business. I remember in a past presentation he said a number that was about double of that. He said he is happy with the lower numbers of cut flowers as that allows his crews to keep up with tasks such as hand weeding(no herbicide chemicals on the dahlia beds) and in general keeping the farm attractive. The big reason cut flower sales are down is two fold. First, a large wholesaler got out of dahlia flower sales probably due to their short shelf life. They deliver orders to the grocery store chains. The other reason is competition from other small farmers who have banded together and formed a wholesale flower market in the wholesale flower commercial business park in Portland.

He said they are growing 12- 15,000 seedlings each year and select over 100 for further review.

Fertilizer at Swan Island is applied before planting and it has time release nitrogen. He supplements that with a 3-2-2 soluble fertilizer that he puts into the water later in the season.

The display garden re-modeling went really well and they had to change some of their cultural practices as they are no longer in a straight line. He said the alphabetical ordering of the varieties has worked out well and there are fewer questions about where is it.

As mentioned before, he said that the number of visitors to their festival is up substantially and told a story about frantically opening up an entire extra ACRE of parking during the height of the first day of the festival.

The weather for the potluck meeting was cool and trying to rain but generally it did not. They set up some tables and chairs in their building used to store tuber clumps before dividing and huge stacks of purpose built containers to hold undivided clumps were racked in the back. When asked about them, they are 2 x 6 boards formed into a square with chicken wire for the bottom. He stated that they dig for only a little more than a couple of months and divide for 6 months. So many tubers spend as much as 3 months in this building as an undivided clump. They wash them only one day before dividing.

We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.

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