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My Day Visiting Swan Island Dahlias

080316today_4Yesterday I had fun visiting Swan Island Dahlias here in Canby, Oregon where I live.  They are going to have a wonderful blooming season this year.

It was a beautiful day to visit, since it was partly cloudy to sunny.

080416sidI walked around and took photos of some of the gorgeous dahlia blooms.  Then I decided to enter the test garden area.  I love to take photos of all their new trial flowers, because no other place on earth has those particular dahlias.  They aren’t for sale yet because they are still experimenting with the hybrids.  If they become popular, they’ll go on sale.

I had heard this friendly guy talking to some other visitors and I could hear him giving some history of the dahlias at Swan Island.  He was in the row of dahlias directly behind me.

Test dahlia that has the most votes to date. This dahlia must be about 8-9 inches wide and about 6-7 inches deep. It is just huge.

Test dahlia that has the most votes to date. This dahlia must be about 8-9 inches wide and about 6-7 inches deep. It is just huge.

I heard him say that the dahlia I was taking a photo of happened to be this year’s top choice among the dahlia judges.  This nice man came over and chatted with me for awhile.  It turned out that he was one of the judges.  We talked about some of the different names of the dahlias and how they got their names.  I know a fair number of dahlias were named after the Gitts family.  The Gitts family has owned Swan Island Dahlias for 89 years.  Some are named because people would come and ask if they could have a dahlia named after their mother or another loved one.  He himself has been able to name some of the dahlias.  We talked about some of my favorite dahlias.  He was just a delight to talk to.

Margaret Gitts (in purple) talking to some people at Swan Island Dahlias in 2013.

Margaret Gitts (in purple) talking to some people at Swan Island Dahlias in 2013.

He also informed me that Margaret Gitts, the matriarch of the family, died.  She was 90 years old.  I had met her several times over the years.  She would walk right up to you and start talking about what they happened to be working on at the time.  Sometimes it was the dahlia fields, sometimes their koi ponds, other times she’d talk about her kids and grand kids.  She was a wealth of information and always so friendly.  She lived in a small house by the dahlia fields.  This man I talked to mentioned that she loved to make fresh lemon pies (she also grew giant lemons).  Her pies where everyone’s favorite.

When I was leaving the dahlias I found saw this hummingbird and just had to capture it.  The background was a small white bus which brought some people to the gardens and I thought it made a beautiful background for the humming bird.


Qi (energy) hugs


53 replies »

    • It was magical. I don’t really of that place as magical, but it sure is and shall remain that way. Always on my must go a few times a year list. 😀


  1. Sounds like a wonderful outing to a very neat place. Great capture on the hummingbird.


  2. I love your story and your photos, Cee. The humming bird photo is amazing. I also love that dahlia; wish I could plant some in my yard.
    Have a wonderful day.


  3. Just got a card in the mail yesterday inviting me to their open house thing they have. I wish I lived closer. Glad to hear you went for a visit. That will mean more and more Dahlia photos for us to enjoy!


  4. How lucky you get to visit the dahlia ‘nucleus’ breeding grounds!!!! I never knew of this place and so happy to be educated about the Gitt family business. Thanks Cee for this post and lovely photos.


  5. It is an awesome backdrop! How fortunate! That dahlia is gorgeous, but then you know I prefer the lighter ones 😉


  6. Wow! Canby must be heaven on earth with all of those flower farms! That Dahlia is stunning. I’d love to grow some but I think it gets way too hot here. Nice shot of the hummie. You must have cat-like reflexes! I really enjoyed the story with the pics. It made them come to life. But I always marvel at your photos. 😍


  7. What a delightful day you had Cee. Isn’t it great when you can capture an unexpected subject (hummingbird) especial in mid flight. I love the giant Dahlia. Thank you for sharing.

    Sorry I haven’t visited your blog in awhile. Still recovering from my surgery, Doing better, but I have a few more months yet to go.



  8. I’d bet that woman made people feel instantly comfortable and was a captivating person to listen to..
    And is very much missed..

    I don’t believe you could’ve staged a better background for that hummingbird action frozen in the moment.. Glad that bus was right where you needed it 😄


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