Member Spotlight 
Highlighting just a few of our wonderful members.

Dana Courtney joined the NCW Dahlia Society shortly after moving to the area in 2014.  She was thrilled to finally be living in an area where she could plant early and frost wouldn’t be a threat in early September like it was in northern Wisconsin. She loves working in the community garden (her space at home is woefully small, only holding about a dozen plants), and enjoys talking to folks who stop to chat. Dana has learned so much from the other members and learned that you have to roll with the punches…sometimes you lose all your tubers over the winter, sometimes the irrigation system goes wonky and floods your row at the community garden, and just when you’re ready to throw in the towel, your Andrew Charles (her favorite) blooms and makes it all worth it.

Debbie Thune is the daughter of the late Tony DeRooy, a flower lover, gardener, landscape architect, and starter of many Dahlia Societies in Washington state. As long as she can remember, there were dahlias in the garden in their back yard. She started helping him in his garden a few years before he passed away, as often as she could. She confesses she is not a good grower, and doesn't even own any house plants - but she was certain that she wanted to do her part to keep his passion alive. She values the friendships she's made with the other members, even if she can't keep up in the garden. She only planted a dozen tubers last year and struggled, as usual, to keep them alive long enough to bloom. But she is determined to keep trying, because it's her legacy.

Angela Grille's love for dahlias started with a small dahlia plant that her husband Rod and their children gave her for Mother’s Day about 40 years ago. Rod became an avid dahlia grower while she continued to cut, arrange and love his dahlias that filled their home. As Rod planted more and more dahlias, they became gifts to family and friends.  After retiring in 2014 and moving to Washington, she began to venture into the garden and join her husband, helping with cutting, planting, storing and caring for what is now “their” dahlia garden. She joined the NCW Dahlia Society to learn about growing Dahlias in a friendly environment, which she has found.

Marian Halverson started growing dahlias in Marysville about 1981. Soon after, she joined the Snohomish Dahlia Society. When she moved to Prosser, she had a real challenge with the heat and pocket gophers. One year the gophers ate half of her tubers. The next year she started growing in gallon pots to protect the tubers and plants. When she moved to Wenatchee, she joined the NCW Dahlia Society where she grows in raised beds. She has a row at the club's demonstration garden at Confluence Health. She enjoys the interest from the public as she tends her rows, and fun had with club members and all the various events throughout the year.

Mona Kaiser believes that dahlias are beautiful and so perfect. There is a form to fit every personality, and one of her favorite things about the dahlia is the lack of scent that doesn't bother her allergies. A few years ago she selfishly joined the dahlia society, NCWDS, so she could learn more about growing the tubers. She joined the Federation of NW Dahlia Growers and the ADS at the same time, and is so glad she did. She enjoys receiving the publications right when she needs the information to grow better dahlias. Now she is working on taking judging classes and volunteering at the local show to learn even more, and hopes to become a certified judge someday.

Jennifer McCarrell has been growing dahlias for only a few years after having stumbled upon the Pybus Tuber Sale in 2014 and took 10 random tubers home. Seeing their great success in her garden that summer, she is now “hooked” and grows one row of dahlias in the demonstration garden at Confluence Health, with the help of her two young boys, along with a few dozen at home which she loves sharing with family and friends. Jennifer’s most anticipated dahlia day is the local show at Pybus Market, seeing all the cars and trucks in the parking lot unloading bloom after amazing bloom, and the rows of tables in the concourse brimming with color and the joy on people’s faces as they marvel at each one. Her mission for this year is to make sure her dahlias are protected from rabbits and spider mites.

LaVern Strawn has 25 years experience in retail greenhouse sales growing annuals, perennials, vegetables, as well as landscaping trees and shrubs. After retirement, about 5 years ago, a friend stopped in to ask if she could plant dahlias in her big garden area standing idle.  That's when she joined the dahlia phase of her retirement.  Her patch is big enough for 600 plantings.  She is caught up in their beauty of forms and colors and enjoys learning and competing with the company of dahlia friends locally and regionally. She says that "Flower people are good people in every way."  Her current goals are to help rid dahlias of viruses, as well as to learn judging and hybridizing.

Gloria Van Buren Hainline starting growing dahlias after she retired, attending her first meeting one autumn as the group was planning to dig the garden on Emerson and helped cutting that was done in March and was hooked. Over the years she has held offices of President and Secretary for the club and been on the show committee. She enjoys talking to people at sales about getting started or finding tubers for dahlias they might like. Her growing area is very sandy soil which she is still working on, but has found other places to plant including the Three Lakes Golf Course, a couple of private homes, at the club garden on Emerson since 2006, and, in partnership with another club member, grows over 500 in a garden that is in its 5th year. In the past she has grow over 400 in George. She enjoys sharing bouquets and hopes to work on her photography skills this year, as well as travel to enter a few more shows.

© North Central Washington Dahlia Society.

ncwdahlia@gmail.com

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