September 15th, 2008
When my grandma was in town, I took a day off to spend time with her and my mom. I figured we’d do something fun so when my mom suggested the SeaTac Dahlia Garden I was a little perplexed. Not because a dahlia garden sounds like an un-fun adventure, but because the town of SeaTac is mostly known for the humongous international airport that resides there, about a 20 minute drive South of Seattle. The town is not cute and some would even call it run down. It’s full of strip malls, loud planes, and old, pre-war houses.
Off of a very busy road, we spotted a blue house with a few rows of dahlias lined up in corn rows, with a smattering of water-rotted tables filled with buckets of cut dahlias and a sign that read, “Pick your own: $4 dozen or $0.35 per stem. The house was gated and looked like no one was home, leaving us very unsure of the plan. Planters of dahlias shone their pretty heads behind the house, so we approached the gate and found a very small sign that invited any guest to enter in.
Behind the gate and the house were rows and rows–probably an acre or two–of dahlias in all colors and varieties. After some wandering past a bed with about 20 varieties all with blood-red stems and foliage, we spotted an older man, in his 80s for certain, with a baseball cap and Osh Kosh jean corduroys crouched in the dirt, busy away. He explained the order of the garden: the patch goes from small to large varieties (with heads the size of a newborn) the farther south you walk. They’re organized by color, then shape from there and each is neatly tagged with their name, “Tropical Sunrise, Peppermint Patty, Gertie’s Red” in a calligraphic script. Another man, of same age and stature, appeared out of the field and we learned that the two gentlemen run the place. They dig up the bulbs each October, harvest them, sell them in the spring, and replant–each year. I’ve planted a few bulbs before, but I can’t imagine digging, dividing, and replanting the sheer quantity of dahlias they do. And at 80! Can you imagine?
We chatted for a little while, finished perusing the dahlias, placed a few orders for the spring, and gathered a lovely bouquet from the cut flowers in the front. It’s definitely worth a visit, if you’re nearby.
Entry Filed under: Crafts