Thursday, October 8, 2015

Linda's Dahlias: Washougal WA

One warm early fall afternoon, with the last vestiges of a very hot summer still lingering, I took off on a short joyride to check out Washougal River State Park – but actually never made it. On the way, I was completely distracted by an eye-candy jar full of hundreds of dahlias in full bloom. What at first appeared to be a roadside stand turned out to be Linda’s Dahlias in Washougal, Washington.

Linda's Dahlias, lower garden

The flowers, situated in upper and lower gardens on Linda’s property, are visible from the road and hard to miss, so I pulled over. Holding down the dahlia fort (so to speak) was a very friendly, slightly hippie-ish woman in a floppy straw hat (not Linda) whose name I did not catch. She informed me I could purchase a premade bouquet, or pick my own. (Note: premade bouquets are set out during the week on the honor system.)

I opted for u-pick (which was a heck of a lot easier than the time I u-picked tomatoes on Sauvie Island – but I digress.) With the u-pick option, I was entitled to 13 dahlias for $6.00, (a complete steal if you’ve checked out the flower section at Whole Foods lately). And one of the 13 could be a crazy-looking humongous dahlia (as opposed to the multitude of crazy-looking smaller dahlias).

Linda's Dahlias – grown on Planet Earth. Really. 

And so with clipping shears in hand (provided by the lovely Dahlia Hippie Lady), I set off to explore both the upper and lower gardens. As I wandered between the rows, I marveled at the many varieties and their sizes, shapes and colors. Besides being gorgeous, these dahlias were positively otherworldly, and their textures and petal patterns looked like something from another galaxy.

Apparently, I got to Linda’s Dahlias in the nick of time. It’s the end of their season and the colorful rows will be dug up in another week or two, once the rain starts in earnest. I was a bit sad I hadn’t stumbled on Linda’s Dahlias earlier in the season, but was happy I had made the discovery for next year.

In fact, I was so pumped about these amazing flowers that I’ve even considered taking a crack at growing them myself. Linda’s Dahlias has a catalog, and tubers go on sale in April.  I’ve even got a floppy straw hat.

Linda's Dahlias
Washougal, WA