The voodoo dahlia variety at Swan Island Dahlias in Canby, Oregon
Photos by Cheryl Landes
It’s dahlia season. These beautiful flowers come in all shapes and sizes, from four-inch pom poms to starbursts exceeding 10 inches in diameter. Some look soft and spongy with layers of curled rounded petals, while others are spiky like a porcupine with thick quills. Another variety has flat, orange teardrop petals that attract the bees and encourage them to linger.
You can see all of these varieties and more from early August through late September, when 35 acres of fields are in bloom at Swan Island Dahlias in Canby, Oregon, the largest dahlia grower in the country. Each row contains a different color and variety of dahlia. From a distance, the fields resemble a sea of colorful waves.
If you prefer a shorter walk, you can see a sampling of each variety in the demonstration garden.
Pack a lunch and dine at one of the picnic tables with panoramic views of the dahlia fields. Soft drinks and water are available at the gift shop, if your supplies run out. You can also buy fresh bouquets; self-picking is not allowed.
A table with a view of Swan Island Dahlias’ fields in Canby, Oregon
Swan Island Dahlias also hosts an annual festival the last weekend of August and on Labor Day weekend (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday both weekends) from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. More than 400 floral arrangements of dahlias and 15,000 cut dahlias blooms will be on display. Watch floral demonstrations and dahlia tuber dividing demonstrations. Listen to live music by local talent:
- Joni Harms & Band, Saturday, August 27
- The SlimJims, Sunday, August 28
- Panman Trio, Monday, August 29
- Rae Gordon & Band, Saturday, September 3
- The Steve Hale Trio, Sunday, September 4
- Nate Botsford, Monday, September 5
Also enjoy local food and drinks during the festival from St. Joseph’s Winery, G4 (kettle corn and smoothies), Ebner’s Custom Meats (BBQ), Sweet Thangs’ Baked Goods, Seven Brides Brewing, Dano’s Dogs, and Creperie Le Bon Temps (artesian French crepes). Plus Joy Entertainers has balloon art and face painting for the kids.
Admission to the festival is free.
The Canby Dahlia Run is held in conjunction with the festival on Saturday, August 27. The half-marathon course crosses the dahlia fields. Each participant receives a medal and a bouquet of dahlias upon reaching the finish line.
Swan Island Dahlias is located at 995 NW 22nd Avenue in Canby. (View detailed directions to the farm.) The fields are open for viewing daily from dawn to dusk, August 1-September 30. The office is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Pets are allowed on leash in the fields but cannot enter the display rooms.
For more information, visit Swan Island Dahlias’ website, or call (800) 410-6540 or (503) 266-7711.
Flamethrower dahlias at Swan Island Dahlias in Canby, Oregon