Photos by Cheryl Landes
Swan Island Dahlias in Canby, Oregon, is the largest dahlia grower in the country. From early August through late September, 40 acres of fields are in bloom at this farm 24 miles south of Portland. Each row contains a different color and variety of dahlia. From a distance, the fields resemble a sea of colorful waves.
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, which are vital in pollinating the flowers.
Visiting Swan Island Dahlias is one of my favorite late-summer activities. I start in the demonstration garden, where there’s a sampling of each variety of dahlia grown on the farm, and then wander out to the fields. For anyone preferring a shorter walk, the demonstration garden is the perfect option.
Swan Island Dahlias is located at 995 NW 22nd Avenue in Canby (get directions). The fields are open for viewing daily in August and September. Check Swan Island Dahlias’ website for updates on the hours they’re open.
Pets are allowed on leash in the fields but cannot enter the display rooms.