For those of you who are scratching your head trying figure out what is so special about dahlias, allow me inform. The first thing I like about them is that they flourish when every other flower is gasping its last breath. This year, my
dahlias started blooming in early August. They will keep blooming through the first hard frost (that would be like #2). They come is amazing variety, with new ones introduced every year. Curt likes the pom-pom style, which look, well, like small pom-poms. I like the more dramatic, dinner plate styles which can be 12″ in diameter (yes, one flower, 12″ across). They come in a ridiculous number of colors, streaked or fluffy or spikey or twirly or… I once grew a collarette style flower with bright yellow petals surrounded by dark orange petals, called Pooh. And when you dig them up every few years, you are rewarded with multiple offspring tubers (or, you reward your family and friends with them). I think that makes five wonderful things. The only downsides to dahlias are that some of them are quite tall as plants and need staking, and you are supposed to dig them up in the early winter… but as I’m a rather lazy gardener, I am happy to leave them be and have most of them live through most of our winters.
The folks at Swan Island Dahlias (outside of Canby, not on an island) farm 40 acres of dahilas, making them the largest dahlia growers in the United States.
They put out the most stunning flower catalog without filler plants like ground cover and foliage information, just individual photos of each flower. While their business is mostly in selling the tubers by mail order across the country, in August and September they open their fields up to the public. Visitors can wander among the 350 different varieties, planning for their own garden, or just soaking in the vast array of color andtexture. The fields are open from 8am to 6pm, with festival events happening the last weekend of August andLabor Day weekend. They are located at 995 NW 22nd Ave, Canby, OR 97013, Canby, OR 97013 and you can contact them at (503) 266-7711 or 800-410-6540.