I took today off of work. It was my first full vacation day this year and was very much needed both physically and mentally. But I really took the day off to have a full day to prepare for the first dahlia show of the year. Normally, I have to rush home Friday night and then head right down to the garden to pick blooms. Then its a quick dinner and staging late into the evening. By taking today off I was able to pick my first group of blooms last night. The main reason I picked this early was the either. Thursday hit 95 degrees and today hit 94. Terrible weather to have right before a dahlia show. So I picked 1/2 of my blooms Thursday night, at least allowing them to miss one hot day under the sun. Then I went back early Friday morning and did anther round of cutting. I put all of the blooms in the shop, resting in vases on the floor. They stayed cool and shaded throughout the day. Around 5 Friday, Beth and I went down to the garden and watered everything. After watering she asked me if I needed anymore blooms so I did one more quick look around and picked a nice bloom of "Hollyhill Jitterbug". Back up at the house I began filling cans and vases with foam and water and staging the blooms. I ended up staging from 6 until 9:45! But I staged 22 entries which is a record for me.
At this point I always try to guess which blooms have the best potential to make it to the Head Table. I know I shouldn't "pre-judge" my blooms but I can't help it! So if I were guessing tonight I would say I have 3 blooms with a pretty good chance to go far.
I really like both of the orange "AC Shitake" blooms. They are free of all bug damage - which is HUGE after this hot, dry 2 weeks of weather - and they are rally nice mature blooms. Portland's show allows you to enter 2 blooms of the same variety, so I am going to enter both and let the judge's decide which of the two is better! I also like my "Tahoma Alicia" miniature ball and both of my two open center dahlias. While neither are perfect, the weather has been so hot that it is going to be hard for anyone to bring a good one. An d both of mine look pretty good, especially the "Kelsie Kristie".
Lastly I am happy with my poms. I have a bunch of really good looking ones and have staged 8 single entries and one triple. Part of winning is a numbers game and I have a lot of really good poms.
As I was staging my blooms tonight, I suddenly noticed that the Western sky was putting on a pretty good show. We haven't had very many good sunsets this Summer, for whatever reason so I grabbed my camera to capture this pretty one.