Muriel Haglund’s Euclid Street backyard is blooming with a rainbow of dahlias. Her garden has been a popular spot in Steilacoom for more than 50 years, said Muriel, who added that she’s provided flowers for small arrangements and weddings for many years.
This past weekend her daughter and son-in-law from Wenatchee were visiting—in the hope of seeing clear skies for a change. Blooms in Muriel’s yard range from tiny buds to some that measure about 12 inches in diameter. There’s even a stalky ivory-shaded Wild Carrot, also known as Queen Anne’s Lace, growing in the front corner of the dahlia garden.
Dahlias are a member of the Asteraceae family, according to Wikipedia. The species includes sunflowers, daisies, chrysanthemums and zinnias. These brightly colored blooms come in 42 different shades, but not blue. This showy, but scentless, bloom originated in Mexico, and in 1963 it was designated as the National Flower of Mexico. About 500 years earlier the Aztecs were raising the tubers as a food crop. After the Spanish Conquest, this practice died out, and efforts to introduce the food crop in Europe were unsuccessful.
This time of year there are many places around the sound, such as the Dahlia Garden at Pt. Defiance Park, to enjoy these showy flowers,. For those in the mood for a larger display consider driving I-5 to Canby, OR for the Swan Island Dahlia Festival. The annual event takes place during the next two weekends: Aug. 29-31 and Sept. 5-7, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (field hours) and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (indoor display).
For more information about dahlias, visit www.pugetsounddahlias.org/DahliaMyths.pdf.