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Dahlia Mecca: Swan Island Dahlias

by Cliff Sharples (chief cultivator)

Swan Island Dahlias fields in technicolor
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For some of the best garden fireworks around, go visit Swan Island Dahlias for their annual Dahlia Festival at the end of August!

Just outside of Portland, Oregon you can find some of the most amazing growers in the country. We were fortunate to be in Portland last year during the height of dahlia season, where we took in the amazing breadth and depth of these plants at Swan Island Dahlia's 40 acre farm. I never appreciated the significant differences in varieties of dahlias. The awe-inspriing dinner-plate dahlias, the petite anemones, the tropical cactus varieties, peppy pom poms... wow!

If Willy Wonka had a garden, it might look like Swan Island's test garden, where every conceivabe color of the rainbow assaults you from all angles. After more than 80 years of growing dahlias, this is a great place to get a crash-course in dahlias, and of course, a premium supplier of fantastic plants for your garden.

We came away with over 20 varieties we had to try in our garden... And, they are all coming up beautifully! The size of the blooms and the depth of the color ilicits a comment from every visitor to our home. And, I'm fortunate to have identified at least 5 or 6 more places int he garden I can cram in some new varieties... with that, I am off to to go shopping!


growers, display gardens, Bulbs, tubers


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marcydiané commented on 06/01/12
Very cool! It must have been a real treat to see in person! My sister grew some dahlias in Austin and they were beautiful!
gardengirl commented on 09/14/09