1996 - the year of the Vancouver ADS Show! What an exciting year this will be. Deciding what to plant, and how many, and all the seminars and guest speakers for a whole week!.
I am especially looking forward to showing two new seedlings that Vanessa Williams (singer/actress) has inspired. The one to be called Hy Vanessa is a fully recurved globe BB FD in bright yellow brushed with red & orange on the new petal tips and edges. It has pointed, wavy edged petals and dark green, somewhat asymmetrical foliage. It is a backcross of Hy Clown onto Its parent Jean M. [Another from this breeding line won the best undisseminated in Nanaimo last year and will be named Hy Nanaimo.] I also have had the good luck to get an almost black-red Ball out of Bitsa X (probably) Deep South. It has been on trial at Ferncliff Gardens and has gotten some very exciting compliments. It will be named Aurora's Kiss, referring to her wonderful role as Aurora in Kiss of the Spider Woman in the Broadway production when she replaced Chita Rivera. Both will be going to trial gardens this year to see what the Dahlia community thinks about their quality and competitiveness.
Last year I mentioned to quite a few people that I was expecting some seed out of Kenora Christmas. Well, I got seed and it grew and it bloomed and now I have several very, very good red & dark red & purple & blend BB FD & ID in storage to grow on next year and re-evaluate. They can't all be good - can they? I expect to have some extremely hard decisions to make. Tough life eh? Maybe the judges at the ADS show will help me to decide - if I can sneak a few onto the bench.
This year I kept 40 of 200 seedlings. Some of them have no exhibition potential at all, but are in the Novelty or cutflower category and will be useful for Floral work. I'll make the better ones available to our society members at our annual tuber sale.
Barry Willoughby, from Victoria, B.C., has been breeding Dahlias for some time now and will have Joanna Marie released by Ferncliff Gardens this year. He gave it to me to evaluate and it is a medium plum purple B FM (the new Fimbriated symbol). Very vigorous & healthy growth. The blooms have tremendous depth and were often requested as cut flowers. Another that is probably in the pipeline is Purple Mist BB IC BI PR/W. His future releases will have Island View as a prefix. I love his Lon B purple ball, even though it won't win against the smaller, tighter varieties. But the COLOUR is outstanding- that electric-violet, rich dark purple. It is a good cutflower and a great addition to any garden. Don't overlook his Variegated B semi-cactus called Blackberry Ripple. Unfortunately a lot of judges are reluctant to accept variation as a necessary part of variegation, but the public won't let you hold on to a cut flower bunch if this type of flower is included!
I finally got Kenora Macop-B to grow for me. This is another Dahlia that has a colour that is really outstanding, but which has a hard time on the show bench.
Two from England are Nunton Harvest - Orange - and Lavender Nunton Harvest. Both BB FD in a Hamilton Lillian shape, but with a larger bush and more flowers.
I also tried the sport Rose Cupid which is a slightly darker, cooler pink than parent Wootten Cupid. Peach Cupid failed to grow, but I am told it is a more distinct colour break. The Cupids
Kathleen's Alliance was grown beside Pink Shirley Alliance and I couldn't see any difference.
Old Boy is a purple Ball that grows only 2 feet tall, like a bedder, AND it has the dark foliage that is so desirable in a bedding variety.
Jessie G is a very good purple Ball with one fault - its stem frequently takes a kink at the spur leaf. This may be less frequent with different cultural conditions, but I've seen it in several gardens.
I got some nice fresh clean stock of Spartacus and that makes a big difference in vigour. Very nice formation and smaller than its wonderful parent Zorro.
Primrose Diane, visibly paler yellow than Ruskin Diane, is worth growing and so is Pink Robin Hood.
One of the very best Dahlias around is the Miniature Ball Sno Ho Okra in Bronze, from Northwest grower Bill Bonnywell. It is absolutely perfect.
Copyright © 1996 Wayne Holland
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