Garden Dahling: New Kid in Town

Dahlia Stella J

Dahlia Stella J

Isn’t she a dream?

I brought home my first set of Dahlia tubers in March from
the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. Grown in Oakville Washington, Dan’s Dahlias boast “We Grow the Best.” I have to say, they’ve definitely lived up to the hype.

I’ve never grown Dahlias before (why I couldn’t tell you) but they’re a new garden favorite.  You can order them online for shipping around the world, though I find it great fun buying them at the garden show.

Dahlias grow from tubers, so you can dig them up and divide them year to year.  Your flower garden grows and grows.  I bought three tubers this year to see how they would fair in my garden soil.

What do you think?

Dahlia, Cosmo, and Bachelor Button

Dahlia joins the family

garden triangle

New This Week!

Dan’s clever logo was born from adversity. According to his site:

Besides their beauty, variety and heartiness, one of the reasons that many gardeners love dahlias is that they are deer-resistant but, an unfortunate incident back in June, 1994 proves they are not cow-resistant. My parents and I headed to California for the weekend as I was a groomsman in my cousin’s wedding. Sometime during the night, 28 of our neighbor’s Holstein heifers broke through their fence and came into the dahlia field; the cows went undetected until morning. I returned to a disaster. The cows ate three acres of dahlias to the ground, they broke the wooden stakes, and ate the plastic identification ribbons. The field looked like it had been rototilled. That year, Dan’s Dahlia’s was almost completely wiped out. Many years later, I could make light of the incident and created a unique business logo, “Cow Eating a Dahlia.” The logo is a symbol of the obstacles that Dan’s Dahlias has had to overcome. But with family support, hard work and determination, it’s a booming, blooming business.

His story certainly puts my sunflower-thieving squirrels in perspective.

35 thoughts on “Garden Dahling: New Kid in Town

  1. I LOVE dahlias! But I couldn’t help noticing that this flower looks more like a zinnia, almost certainly so. I know there are a heap of dahlia varieties with amazing colours and petal structures etc. but something about this one tells me it is either a zinnia clone dahlia which would be very cool or it may actually just be a zinnia, full stop. Zinnia seeds are commonly found in wild flower mixes so that made me question it for that reason too. Of course I’ve never seen every single dahlia variety so I could be way out of line but it just looks so much like a zinnia….even the leaves. Very gorgeous in any case. Well done with all those lovely wild flowers too. The bees must be loving that….and the neighbour’s too 😉



    • Liz, thanks so much for your observation. I’ll have to get down to the tuber to see if you are indeed correct. I looked up the flower on his site (and I did indeed plant one there) so hunh? Stay tuned.


      • I didn’t see your link here but I googled zinnia dahlia and read a little about them. If I were to name a zinnia that looked or resembled a dahlia, mi think I would call it a dahlia zinnia instead of the other way around. Interesting. Another thing, do you have gophers in your hood? We had quite a few here at the LG property and the gophers would have devoured those tubers pretty quickly. That’s happened to us with every tuber or bulb save for our peonies so we have to put them in pots. Just a suggestion on the off chance you try to dig up the dalias and they are not there. They would have certainly been in bloom by now if they were there. Still really interested in the dahlia/zinnia mystery! Xoxo


        • I tried scraping away a bit of soil around it this morning, but I didn’t want to disturb the roots so I left it. I’ll do a follow up once the plant is done for the season. I’ll see if Dan weighs in, too. He offers over 100 different varieties. I had a lot of success with bulbs this year including tulips which have disappeared in the past. My problem is usually the squirrels digging them up. Come to think of it, though, they were all in pots! Hmmmm…a lot to think about. Never a dull moment in the garden, eh, Liz?


  2. I tend to agree with Liz. We have chocolate Dahlias that are just starting to come in and they’re a lot rounder. Zinneas are beautiful, too, though; especially purple ones 😉



  3. That’s an interesting little debate going on here! I was going to pop on and say that although I intensely dislike dahlias [its the smell] I thought the colour of this one is beautiful, I have never seen one like it before [!] Maybe I still haven’t!! 🙂


  4. I love this! Really interesting story and I do love dahlias. I save them every year in a dry shoebox and plant them back out in spring. Not sure if that’s just a uk thing?!


      • There are many varieties of zinnia out there so I can see why people might think it is one but you mentioned you bought this as a tuber and as far as I know zinnias aren’t tubers. I could be wrong. I’m not really expert here. There’s also sooo many different varieties of dahlias some look almost like little daisies some are massive with think spikey petals – I have a big yellow one that reminds me of ‘big bird’ off sesame street! Then I have deep orange ones that look more like a rudbeckia. What are the leaves like on your dahlia / suspect zinnia? I have a feeling zinnia leaves are quite distinct and you could check it that way but as mentioned I wasn’t aware that zinnias were tubers and if you bought this as a tuber from a dahlia seller then it would think it’s just a zinnia look alike! I’m starting to feel curious about this myself now!!!


          • Sorry to bombard you with yet another comment! I’ve now been researching like mad and apologies if someone else mentioned this or you already know but dahlias and zinnias are from the same family. The family also includes sunflower, daisy (hence why some of dahlias are more like daisies) and Chrysanths (hence why a lot of dahlias look like chrysanths too!) not sure how I have got one looking like big bird?!! 😉 So I imagine that if you can find out for sure if zinnias are not tubers then you definitely have a dahlia since you planted it from a tuber. Good luck!


            • Anna, I love all comments so please don’t think you are bombarding me. I’m fascinated. I looked up the difference in the Old Farmer’s Almanac and you are correct: Dahlias grow from tubers, Zinnia from seeds.


              Further, they go on to say: Zinnias have bright, solitary, daisy-like flowerheads on a single, erect stem. The most common zinnia is “dahlia-flowered” and grows up to three feet. Other types are “cactus-flowered.”

              So, a few possibilities: the tubers I planted didn’t grow, but in their place the wind or a bird dropped zinnia seeds. The seeds I know I planted in that bed included sunflowers, bachelor buttons, forget-me-nots and two varieties of poppies.


          • I’ve taken a photo of the big bird flower and will post it soon 🙂 I think it’s hideous!! At the end of summer having a little dig up and discovering whether indeed the plant is from a tuber should do no harm. As mentioned in the UK it’s quite common to dig the tubers up and store them in a shoe box over winter and then plant them out again in spring.


            • Anna, you made me giggle. Big Bird…I’m awaiting your bog debut.

              We also dig up some of our bulbs here too, to help them avoid rot or pest problems. With tulips, we chill them in the fridge to trick them into thinking they’ve gone through a real winter, not a San Jose one! I will definitely write a follow up post on the Zinnia vs Dahlia dilemma.


  5. I think they’re gorgeous, only bad thing is, it’s hard to decide which one is a favourite. I went over to the link and spotted: Midnight Moon (lavender), Snoho Jo Jo (bronze) and Colewood Hope (White).

    Those cows must have thought they were in heaven, that would have made a great photo. I hope they didn’t have a tummy ache, but that would really be devastating. I wonder if the neighbours insurance covered that? I hope so.

    My friend Lori plants them in pots on her patio every year. You can’t leave them in the ground here as they aren’t hearty enough. I tried to over winter a bare root a few times with no luck. Your garden is looking really pretty xoK


    • Thank you, Boomdee! I was amazed at the variety available on his site. They are all so different too. I like that you could sort by color or size, then order accordingly. He’s thought of everything.

      Yes, I wonder, too if the neighbor had insurance. You would think so. If not, then I would hope he tired to make amends. Simply devastating.

      Assuming those are indeed dahlias, I’ll dig them up and store them over the winter too. He suggests sand or sawdust. I actually saved the bags of sawdust they came in so I’m set.

      You’ve reminded me once again how spoiled I am living in Cali. Thanks for being here.


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