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SHOW AND FANCY DAHLIAS.

Includes


THEIR CULTURE FOR EXHIBITION.


BY S. WALKER.


The ground should be trenched in the autumn or during the winter months, that is, it should be dug two spits deep, thrown up into ridges, and some good stable manure worked into the trenches. In the spring the ridges should be forked down, and the centre stakes put up in rows 1- feet from row to row, and 4 feet apart in the rows. When expense need not be considered, square painted stakes are the best, but otherwise ash or hazel stakes will answer the purpose; these should be about 6 feet long. A little rotten manure must now be forked in in front of the stake to give the plant a start; and good strong plants that have been prepared according to the instructions given elsewhere, should be bedded out about the first or second week in June.


Of course, a great deal depends on the weather and situation. I do not consider it safe to plant out in my nursery until this time, and even then I have had the plants cut down by late frost.


The plants should be put in below the level of the soil in a depression, so that when water is given it runs towards the plant rather than away from it, as it would do if the latter were bedded out at or above the level of the surrounding soil. It is a good plan to scatter a ring of soot round each stake, but not in contact with the stem of the plant. By this means, slugs will be prevented from attacking the plants; the soot also acts as a stimulant, applied to the roots by the percolation of the water through the soil after watering.


Next place two sticks, one on each side of the plant, -which must then be secured to the centre stake and to the two side sticks; this prevents the wind from driving it either way, and the sticks are useful for giving the plant another tie as it grows, and before the outer stakes can be used. When necessary, four more stakes should be added, arranged at the comers of a square, around the one mentioned previously. The shoots must be secured by fastening them to the centre and side stakes; this is most important, as the Dahlia suffers more than any other plant from rough winds.
As regards thinning, no hard and fast rule can be laid down, methods must be learned from experience; some of the large coarse sorts require but little thinning while the smaller sorts require much cutting out to get the blooms large enough for the exhibition-board. This work should be done at the end of July or early in August. Remove the weak shoots and disbud, leaving the terminal bud on each shoot that is left.


I have come to the conclusion that shading the blooms is of very little use; round tins on stakes were used extensively at one time, also tables on which the bloom was put, and a flower pot placed over it. These things I have discarded, and all that I now-recommend is a muslin bag, which keeps the insects from the bloom, and improves the light-coloured flowers; but in wet or very hot weather the blooms are better without even tills amount of shade.


I have not dealt with the management under glass, or with situation, soils, manuring, watering, lifting, and storing, as separate articles on these subjects have been written for this work.

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EXHIBITING SHOW AND FANCY DAHLIAS.

BY J. T. WEST.

Many Amateur Dahlia growers grow their blooms better than they stage them, and therefore lose more often than they win at our exhibitions. For many years I adopted and practised successfully the procedure hereinafter described. It is well to go over the plants the day before the show;, and see what blooms will be ready for the morrow on those selected tie loosely a piece of raffia, long enough to be seen when the cutting is going on, for one is apt to get excited as the time draws near, and to overlook some of the finest blooms. Choose blooms, that will improve, rather than, blooms that are just ready, as the latter will be past their best in the course of the next few hours. It may be necessary to cut some twenty-four hours before; in this case, cut the blooms and put them in a dark and cool place, a very requisite precaution indeed when the weather is hot, and dry winds prevail. After going over your plants and marking your blooms, get boxes and show-boards ready (of course, the boards will have been nicely painted a dark green colour), also tubes, corks, and any other things likely to be wanted, leaving nothing to the last minute, so that when once started the cutting can be finished quietly and in good time. Zinc tubes about 4 inches long, and inch wide inside the flange are most suitable. Corks should be provided to put the blooms in; they should be strong ones, 2 inches long, slightly tapering at each end, so as to fit the tube, and a hole must. be bored large enough to pull the stalk of the Dahlia bloom through right up to the back of the bloom. They can be bought at a cork cutter's, or possibly cut by the grower himself. A cork is better than a wooden reel, such as is often used, for cork swells when near the water, and thus becomes firmly fixed in the tube.


When the time has come to cut the flowers, go systematically over the whole of the plants, not running from one row to another to make sure of the best blooms, which is rather the way to leave them at home. The best time for cutting is the early morning or the cool o'f the evening, not mid-day, when the florets are often soft.


After the blooms are all cut and put into water, proceed to put them in the corks and tubes, ready for travelling. In doing this, hold the cork with the left hand, the right hand holding the flower. Put the end of the stalk in the cork, and pull gently through until it goes right up to the calyx. When nicely adjusted, cut the end of the stalk off, if too long, and use a piece of it as a wedge to fix the bloom in the cork, in order to prevent it from shifting. Now place it firmly in the tube, which has been previously supplied with water, and so proceed until all the blooms are ready to be put direct into the show-box as required for travelling.


On reaching the exhibition, first find out where your class is. Put you show-box as near to it as possible and then proceed to stage your blooms, first- making sure that your show-boards stand secure, for they may have to be moved several times ere they reach their final position. If not secure, they may topple over and spoil your exhibit.


Choose your largest and best flowers for the back row, starting with either a light or dark flower, then place them alternately until the back row is filled. The middle and front rows should be completed, if possible, by arranging light and dark colours diagonally, as in a chess-board pattern, so that no two dark or two light flowers occupy adjacent positions, either in the row or column. Choose blooms that are of high quality and good finish for the front, as these catch the judge's eye. See that all are nicely facing one -way, even, and well off the boards. This done, proceed to name your blooms, writing as plainly as possible, and labelling as neatly as you can. Get your card of entry and place it under your stand, the reverse way up. When all this is completed, remain by your stand until time is up. Then go and wait calmly for the result.
In conclusion, a few general remarks may be helpful. Always choose blooms that have good centres or "eyes," not loose or open; choose those that are fresh, well-finished, and not coarse, in preference to large and rough blooms.


Show flowers are those of one colour, and blooms the petals of which have a lighter ground than the edges and tips; Mrs. Langtry, Shottesham Hero, J. T. West, are all show flowers, viz., light grounds, with heavy edges and tips. Fancy flowers are striped, speckled, or tipped, that is, having a darker ground with a light tip, such as Peacock, Mrs. Saunders, Mrs. J. Downie, and Frank Pearce. If this scheme of classification be adopted, there will be no disqualified stands.


Do not waste time in talking about your blooms to other exhibitors, until the judging is over; many prizes have been lost in this way.


Take more blooms than you require for exhibiting, as some may drop or go off by the way.

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At the time the guide was produced, the following were the Show varieties:

variety

colour

introyear

raiser

country

height

awards

Archie Mortimer

Dk.R.

<1904

 

UK

90

 

Arthur Rawlings

Dk.R.

1892

west

UK

120

 

Buttercup

Y.-R.Bls

1883

fellowes

UK

90

 

Champion Rollo

O.

<1904

keynes

UK

120

 

Chieftain

L.

1894

keynes

UK

120

 

Crimson King

Dk.R.

1887

keynes

UK

90

 

Diadem

Dk.R.

1888

fellowes

UK

90

 

Duchess of York

Y.-Pk.Bls

1894

keynes

UK

90

 

Eclipse

O.

1887

keynes

UK

120

 

Florence

Y.

1887

turner

UK

120

 

George Gordon

Dk.R.

1882

rawlings

UK

120

 

George Hobbs

O.

<1904

hobbs

UK

120

 

George Sanger

O.

1893

keynes

UK

120

 

Gold Mantle

Y.

1903

keynes

UK

90

 

Golden Gem

Y.-Br.Bls

1896

mortimer

UK

90

 

Harry Turner

Dk.R.

1885

rawlings

UK

90

 

Herbert Turner

W.-L.Bls

<1904

turner

UK

150

 

Hon. Mrs. P. Wyndham

Y.-Pk.Bls

1881

keynes

UK

90

 

Hope

Pk.

1883

keynes

UK

120

 

Imperial

Pu.-L.Bls

1883

keynes

UK

120

 

J. R. Tranter

Br.

1898

tranter

UK

90

 

James Service

Dk.R.

<1872

keynes

UK

90

F. C. C. 1872

John Wyatt

R.

<1904

keynes

UK

60

 

John Neville Keynes

Y.

<1904

keynes

UK

120

 

Keynes A1

Y.

1904

keynes

UK

120

 

Laurette Purvis

Y.-R.Bls

1903

keynes

UK

150

 

Majestic

W.-Pu.Bls

1890

keynes

UK

120

 

Miss Alice King

W.-Pk.Bls

1899

keynes

UK

90

 

Miss Barber

W.-Pu.Bls

1899

keynes

UK

120

 

Mr. C. Harris

R.

<1904

 

UK

90

 

Mr. Glascock

Pu.

1886

rawlings

UK

60

 

Mrs. Charles Noyes

Y.

1893

keynes

UK

120

 

Mrs. Every

W.-L.Bls

1896

keynes

UK

90

 

Mrs. F. Foreman

L.

<1904

keynes

UK

90

 

Mrs. Fisher

W.-L.Bls

1896

keynes

UK

90

 

Mrs. G. R. Jefferd

Y.

<1904

 

UK

90

 

Mrs. Kendal

W.-Pu.Bls

1885

rawlings

UK

120

 

Mrs. P. McKenzie

Y.-Dk.R.Bls

1888

keynes

UK

90

 

Mrs. W. Treseder

Y.-Pk.Bls

1903

west

UK

   

Nelly Cramond

Pk.-Pu.Bls

1888

keynes

UK

120

 

Norma

O.Bls

1894

turner

UK

120

 

Nubian

Dk.R.

1892

keynes

UK

90

 

Prince of Denmark

Dk.R.

1881

fellowes

UK

120

 

Purple Prince

Pu.Bls

1888

turner

UK

100

 

Rev. J. Goodday

Pu.

1886

rawlings

UK

100

 

Richard Dean

Pu.

1886

keynes

UK

90

 

Rosamond

Pk.-Pu.Bls

<1904

fellowes

UK

60

 

Rothesay

Y.-Pk.Bls

1904

mortimer

UK

90

 

Royal Queen

Y.-Pu.Bls

<1904

eckford

UK

90

 

Seraph

Pk.

<1904

keynes

UK

90

 

Shirley Hibberd

Dk.R.

1881

rawlings

UK

90

 

Sidney Humphries

L.

1897

humphries

UK

90

 

Sirdar

Dk.R.

1900

robinson

UK

90

 

Sunrise

Pu.

1903

keynes

UK

90

 

T. J. Saltmarsh

Y.-Br.Bls

1885

rawlings

UK

90

 

T. S. Ware

Pu.

1887

rawlings

UK

90

 

Thomas Anstiss

Pu.

<1904

anstiss

UK

90

 

Thomas Hobbs

Pu.

1886

keynes

UK

90

 

Thomas Pendered

Y.

<1904

humphries

UK

120

 

Thomas White

Pu.

<1904

keynes

UK

90

 

Victor

Dk.R.

1887

keynes

UK

100

 

Virginale

W.-Pk.Bls

1893

keynes

UK

90

 

Warrior

R.

1894

keynes

UK

90

 

William Keith

Pu.

1888

west

UK

90

 

Willie Garratt

R.

1887

garratt

UK

90

 

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The following were the Fancy varieties:

variety

colour

introyear

raiser

country

height

awards

Buffalo Bill

Y.-R.Var

1890

keynes

UK

120

 

Chorister

Y.-R.Var

<1904

keynes

UK

90

 

Comedian

O.-R.Bls

1892

keynes

UK

120

 

Comte de la Saux

L.-R.Var

1890

keynes

UK

75

 

Dandy

O.-R.Var

1891

keynes

UK

90

 

Dazzler

Y.-R.Var

1903

keynes

UK

90

 

Distinction

W.-Pu.Var

1904

keynes

UK

120

 

Dorothy

Y.-Pu.Var

1888

keynes

UK

90

 

Edmund Boston

O.-Dk.R.Var

1887

keynes

UK

90

 

Emin Pasha

Y.-Dk.R.Var

1894

keynes

UK

120

 

Fanny Sturt

R.-W.Bic

<1904

pope

UK

90

 

Frank Pearce

Pk.-Dk.R.Var

1886

rawlings

UK

120

F.C.C. 1887

Frederick Smith

L.-Pu.Var

<1904

keynes

UK

120

 

Gaiety

Y.-R.Var-W.Bic

1879

keynes

UK

90

 

General Grant

O.-Br.Var

1886

keynes

UK

90

 

George Barnes

L.-Dk.R.Var

1878

keynes

UK

90

 

Golden Fleece

Y.-Dk.R.Var

1896

keynes

UK

120

 

Goldsmith

Y.-Dk.R.Var

1895

keynes

UK

90

 

Grand Sultan

Y.-R.Var

<1904

keynes

UK

90

 

Heather Belle

Dk.R.-W.Bic

<1904

keynes

UK

120

 

Hercules

Y.-Dk.R.Bls

1877

keynes

UK

90

 

Hero

L.-Dk.R.Var

1891

fellowes

UK

120

 

John Forbes

Y.-Dk.R.Var

1882

keynes

UK

90

 

Lottie Eckford

W.-Pu.Var

1884

eckford

UK

90

 

Mabel

L.-Dk.R.Var

1897

harris

UK

90

 

Magnet

L.-Pu.Var

1887

keynes

UK

120

 

Major Bartelot

O.-0Pu.Var

1889

keynes

UK

90

 

Mallel

Y.-Dk.R.Var

<1904

 

UK

90

 

Mandarin

Y.-Dk.R.Var

1883

keynes

UK

120

 

Margery

Y.-Pu.Var

1901

turner

UK

90

 

Mariner

L.-Pu.Var

1904

harris

UK

90

 

Matthew Campbell

Y.-Dk.R.Bls

1899

keynes

UK

120

 

Miss Browning

Y.-W.Bic

<1904

keynes

UK

90

 

Mrs. N. Halls

R.-W.Bic

<1904

rawlings

UK

60

 

Novelty

Pk.-Pu.Var

<1904

 

UK

90

 

Peacock

Pu.-W.

1877

turner

UK

90

 

Pelican

W.-Pu.Var

1886

keynes

UK

90

 

Plutarch

Y.-Dk.R.Var

1888

turner

UK

100

 

Portia

L.-Pu.Var

1895

keynes

UK

120

 

Prince Henry

L.-Pu.Var

1887

fellowes

UK

90

 

Professor Fawcett

L.-Br.Var

1881

keynes

UK

90

 

Rebecca

L.-Dk.R.Bls

1883

keynes

UK

90

 

Rev. J. B. M. Camm

Y.-R.Bls

1873

keynes

UK

120

F. C. C. 1873

S. Mortimer

Pk.-Dk.R.Var

1894

mortimer

UK

90

 

Sailor Prince

L.-Pu.Var

<1904

fellowes

UK

120

 

Standard

Br.-Y.Bic

1904

harris

UK

90

 

Sunset

Y.-R.Var

1890

keynes

UK

75

 

T. W. Girdlestone

L.-Pu.Bls

1890

keynes

UK

120

 

W. G. Head

Dk.R.-R.Var

1885

turner

UK

120

 

William Sheldon

Y.-L.Bic

1904

sheldon

UK

90

 

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Last updated February 02, 2005

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