The Washington State Dahlia Society has been active for over a hundred years. The very earliest dahlia shows were held at Rhodes Department Store in Tacoma. Shows over the years have been held around Pierce County in other venues. The most recent before the South Hill Mall were held at Freighthouse Square in Tacoma.
The purpose of Dahlia Shows are to promote the showing of dahlias, and acquainting the public with their beauty, variety, and to improve the quality of the exhibition and cut flowers. Each society in the Northwest puts on a show every year. Dahlia growers come from as far away as Portland and British Columbia, to shows around the Northwest, to bring their dahlias and participate in shows. There are many prizes awarded, some of which are cash prizes, in a number of show categories.
“The camaraderie and fellowship of fellow dahlia growers is the goal of our society.” States Les Connell, president of the Dahlia Society. The society also distributes information on growing and gardening concerns, to make the task of growing dahlias more rewarding than just enjoying their beauty. “Everyone is welcome to join in the Dahlia Society meetings. There is a Federation of Dahlia Societies in the Northwest that includes 14 dahlia societies, the highest concentration of dahlia growers in the United States. Washington State Dahlia Society sponsors and cares for the dahlia in the Trial Garden at Point Defiance Park. This garden features 72 new dahlia varieties which we are growing and evaluating,” stated Les.
The Washington State Dahlia Society meets on the third Monday of every month. The Dahlia Society’s Pierce County group’s fall schedule is as follows:
September – How to develop new varieties by collecting seed. Free seed will be given to anyone attending the meeting. There will be a display of new seedlings that have been grown in this calendar year.
October – The Dahlia Society will be showing how to cut clumps of tubers into individual tubers. This will be an opportunity for hands-on participation for anyone attending the meeting.
November – The Dahlia Society will have a clump sale of dahlia tubers. They will provide information on the best methods for storing tubers over the winter.
Over Labor Day Weekend in 2014, the Washington State Dahlia Society will be hosting the American Dahlia Society National Show at the Tacoma Convention Center. This will certainly be a colorful and spectacular event, that brings like-minded people from all over the United States and some foreign countries. There will be over 5,000 blooms available for viewing at the National Show in 2014.
The Washington State Dahlia Society meets on the third Monday of every month, at 7pm, at Fircrest Community Center, 555 Contra Costa Ave. Tacoma, WA 98466.
For more information about the Dahlia Society, please visit: www.dahlia.org
For more information about the Washington State Dahlia Society (in Tacoma), please visit: www.washingtonstatedahliasociety.com
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com
Edited by Reba Winstead, editor for Tacoma.com