I’m not really a gardener, as any of my friends could tell you. But I do love flowers. Years ago, during my Park Ranger days, I would lead folks on guided walks looking at wildflowers in the the meadows of the sub-alpine (at Olympic National Park) and the tundra (at Denali National Park), which I loved. But gardening – not my thing. That was until recently when I went to the Dahlia Festival in Canby recently. WOW!
I always thought of dahlias as looking like this:
My image of what a dahlia looks like
Something with firm flower heads made up of tight little coiled tunnels that catch the rain. Beautiful, but I thought that was pretty much it, in a variety of colors. Well, not being a gardener I was delighted to discover that they range from delicate and graceful to huge and gaudy, and everything in between.
Who knew a dahlia could look like this?
They are in fact, quite varied. They can be formal…
This one reminds me of a kid standing tall for a family photo on prom night
With it's curled petals, this one looks almost modest
You can see the range of colors in the field behind this one
Or downright artsy…
I see the swirls on a painter's palette on this one
Or even rather plain…
And yet their all lovely.
It was hard to not stop and take photos every ten feet. My friends Josh and Sarah (originally from Canby, where this festival is held every year) were very patient with me.
Josh and Sarah
I must admit, the naturalist in me crept out, watching all the bees and their kin feasting on the flowers. After enjoying the flowers for the first part of our tour, I shifted gears and started focusing on the bees enjoying the flowers. How could I not? Here are a few of my favorites…
I really like the flower from this angle where you can see the bracts underneath
I love the dusting of pollen knocked off by the bees on this one
With so many colors and curls, I think this one might be my favorite
I may have gone a bit crazy taking pictures, but I couldn’t help myself. Flowers, bees, amazing colors. It was just too cool. Sarah and Josh took some action shots of me taking photos and posted them in their blog. Sarah also taught the class where I learned how to blog. It was part of the Summer of Making at the groovy Pacific Northwest College of Art. So it’s thanks to her that this blog exists. Thanks Sarah!
After we wandered the fields for several hours, we made our way to dahlia central – the buzzing hub of dahlia activity where one could buy fresh cut flowers, go into their underground barn to see fancy arrangements, and peruse the catalogs to order bulbs for one’s own garden. There was food too. It was in the food line that I took this last shot.
A clown clearly enjoying her break. From what, I'm not sure?
My visit to the dahlia fields might have been enough to inspire me to do some gardening. We’ll see. But whether it does or not, I’ll absolutely be back to the Dahlia Festival next year for certain.