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Dahlias: Lost Forever?

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SELLWOOD GLORY, 1951

Dramatic ‘Sellwood Glory’ is an almost black and white ensemble of silvery petals thickly brushed with deep, dark raisin-purple. Though it hails originally from the historic Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, it had all but disappeared from US gardens till we reintroduced it from the British National Collection in 2008. (Read its full story here.) Formal decorative, 8-10”, 3-4’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2015. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SHERWOOD’S PEACH, 1944

Up to a foot across, with ruffled petals of copper, amber, and bronze, ‘Sherwood’s Peach’ may remind you of a mellow, rising, autumn sun. One bloom in a Rookwood bowl on an old oak table is sheer bliss. But caution: this is our latest-blooming dahlia, so you’ll need a long growing season to enjoy it. 4-5’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2009. Available elsewhere.


SURPRISE, 1955

One of our biggest dahlias, summery ‘Surprise’ offers 8-10 inches of informal, incurving, semi-cactus petals of soft, luminous peach, yellow, and rose that almost seem to wriggle in delight. Although a bit of a late bloomer, it’s always worth the wait. 5-6’. Last offered in 2015, and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


TOMMY KEITH, 1892Rarest

This 124-year-old granddaddy is a pompon-like “fancy” dahlia of deep burgundy-red irregularly splashed with bits of white – like a sparkling garnet brooch or maybe a tiny, antique velvet sofa with lacy antimacassars. Reintroduced by us from the British National Collection of Dahlias. 1-2”, 3’, from Ann Arbor. Last offered spring of 2018. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


UNION JACK, 1882

This candy-cane striped dahlia is one of the world’s oldest, according to the late Gerry Weland of the ADS who compiled a database of 50,000 dahlias dating back to the early 1800s. Also known as ‘Star of Denmark’, it’s bright and cheery, with pinwheel-like flowers of red and white. One caveat, though: its stems, like those of its wild ancestors, are lax. 3”, 2-3’, heat-tolerant, from Holland. Last offered in 2015. We’re building up stock and plan to offer it again sometime in the future. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


WHITE CHAMPION, 1941

This classic dinner-plate dahlia isn’t just big — 8 to 10 inches across when well grown — it’s ruggedly handsome, with an ivory center opening into masses of rippling white petals. You might think of it as the muscular, New Jersey-born, football-playing cousin of ‘Prinzessin Irene von Preussen’. Dinner-plates, the most iconic of dahlias, were hugely popular from the 1920s through the 1950s. Semi-cactus/informal dec., 6-10”, 5-6’. Last offered in 2013, and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


WHITE FAWN, 1942

Like white hydrangeas by a lakeside porch, ‘White Fawn’ is cool and refreshing. If Vita Sackville-West didn’t grow it in her celebrated White Garden at Sissinghurst, she should have! Formal decorative, 3-4”, 3-4’, from Oregon. Last offered in 2013, and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


WILLO VIOLET, 1937

With unusually small pompon blossoms about the size of those giant gumballs you may have loved as a kid, this grape-purple, Australian-bred classic is “perfectly formed” and “still the best” according to Gareth Rowlands in The Gardeners Guide to Growing Dahlias. 3-4’, from Washington. Last offered in 2006. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


YELLOW GEM, 1914

Exquisite in its symmetry, this perfect little pompon dahlia seems to have been shaped by a jeweler from Middle Earth. Or maybe it will remind you of your childhood backyard twinkling with lightning bugs. Either way, it’s one of our oldest and rarest dahlias, excellent in bouquets, and a true delight. 1-2” pompons, 3’ tall, from Oregon. Last offered in 2013, and we’re not planning to offer it again. Sorry!


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