On Tuesday's perfect summer afternoon I started feeling restless. The season is almost over and I haven't spent as much of it outdoors as I should have. I picked up my camera and headed north on Pearl Street to Tacoma's gem, Point Defiance Park, to see how the flower gardens looked.
How quickly things change there. It's fun to watch the beds go through their phases from spring bulbs to the bold colors of late summer's zinnias, Black-eyed Susans, and more. I go to the park often, but it still surprised me to see the Dahlia Trial Garden in full bloom. I know the plants haven't reached full size, and many more buds and flowers will be produced, but now is a perfect time to visit. The many varieties look gloriously fresh in all their different colors and forms.
The garden is different each year. If you choose a favorite, you won't be able to go buy it, just yet. Tubers planted in this trial garden come from all over the country to audition. Judges from the American Dahlia Society decide if they merit inclusion in their classification book, and those ranking high enough receive a name. Only then do they end up available to home gardeners.
Thanks to members of the Washington State Dahlia Society, who sponsor this display and work at keeping it beautiful, we can enjoy one of the largest dahlia test gardens in the United States and Canada. Just when your home flower beds might be looking a bit bloomed-out and bedraggled, do what I did; treat yourself to a visit to the Dahlia Trial Garden, as appealing as a new box of crayons. You might be inspired to grow your own.
Please scroll down and enjoy my little gallery of blooms.
All photos and text copyrighted by Candace J. Brown 2010