Dahlias in full bloom despite Swan Island festival cancelation


The Swan Island Dahlia Festival was canceled due to COVID-19

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Labor Day weekend’s Swan Island Dahlia Festival is not happening this summer — but that hasn’t stopped those with a passion for dahlias from seeing them bloom.

A favorite late-summer flower, the dahlia is in full bloom at the Swan Island Farm in Canby. The cancellation of the Labor Day festival eliminates a big event, but it has given organizers of the farm a chance to give everyone a more peaceful, less crowded setting in which to see the flowers in full bloom. 

In the filtered sunshine of a cool August morning, the dahlias are upright, punctuating the mostly green Clackamas County farmland with color. More people are improving space in and around homes they’re spending more time in as a result of the virus — and that has meant more emphasis on incorporating dahlias into outdoor plantings along with some fresh-cut flowers inside the home.   

Weddings, celebrations, charity events  — many events needing flowers are not happening. But more people are gardening at home and there’s been a healthy demand for fresh-cut flowers, helping balance the business side of the farm. Overall sales are actually ahead of last year.

With 375 varieties of dahlias growing on 40 acres, there is plenty of varieties to see and plenty of space to see them in.

“It’s beautiful and if you can just enjoy and come out of your house and get some fresh air — I think we all need it right now — and get out and enjoy the beauty,” Heather Schloe said. “I think it is a great thing for all of us right now, for our health.”

The Canby dahlia farm is open six days a week. The flowers are planted in mid-May, blooming in August until the first frost after about 3 months.

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