Tony DeRooy Memorial Garden
803 N. Emerson, Wenatchee WA
A gift to the patients and community of the Wenatchee valley in honor of passionate growers and hybridizers that have sought to gain and share their knowledge with the next generation of dahlia enthusiasts. Free and open to the public. Planted and maintained by volunteers, members of the North Central Washington Dahlia Society, with the generous support of Confluence Health.
Tony's dad - Arie Andy DeRooy (1946)
Tony was the son of a Dutch immigrant and greenhouse gardener, Arie deRooij (DeRooy). The family left Holland in 1921, when Tony was just three months old. The family worked as sharecroppers in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, before they were finally allowed to enter the United States in 1926. At that time, Arie started working for the Great Northern Railroad (GNRR), first handling baggage, and then maintaining the grounds at the Depot in Everett, where he planted the original dahlia garden on that site. Dahlias still grow there almost a hundred years later. Arie went on to become Supervisor of Parks for the GNRR until 1951, when he unexpectedly passed away.
Tony in his office at the GN greenhouse in Monroe, Washington
Tony had been working on his dad's crew for many years, and was hired to replace Arie upon his death. Like his father before him, he worked out of the GNRR greenhouses on the grounds of the Monroe, Washington depot, raising flowers and bedding plants for GNRR properties at Glacier National Park and at all the depots between Seattle and St. Paul, Minnesota. Dahlia gardens were a centerpiece at the Monroe grounds, and Tony earned a reputation as one of the top growers, exhibitors and early hybridizers in Western Washington during those years. When the GNRR changed their business model in the early 1960s, Tony crossed the Cascades to take a position with the Chelan County PUD.
Tony's in his garden 1952
Wherever Tony went, dahlia beds followed, whether at his workplace, the family home or other vacant spaces around town. When he didn’t have enough room in his yard, he would scout out possible sites, planting and maintaining gardens on Princeton Street, Sunnyslope and a vacant lot belonging to the City of Wenatchee, across from Pioneer Park on Russell Street. The Numerica garden came about when he and fellow member and dentist John Ruud were looking for a centrally located site in Wenatchee for a club garden. John had his office directly across from the credit union’s vacant lot. Tony and John met with Numerica managers, and next thing you knew, there was a garden there. As the namesake of the Wenatchee Valley Hospital dahlia garden, Tony’s dream and passion for sharing what we all call our “favorite flower” with our communities lives on, hopefully for many more years to come.
Lowell, Washington, 1949
Tony became the first Landscape Architect at Rocky Reach Dam, creating grounds and flower beds that received national acclaim. Tony loved his adopted country, and expressed his patriotism through his work. He designed, created and planted Rocky Reach’s American Flag Bed, something that has become a must-see for tourists and community members alike. Of course, in keeping with his other passion, Tony designed and planted beautiful dahlia gardens there as well. These continue to thrive to this day.
Flag garden at Rocky Reach Dam
As Numerica made plans for a different use of their property, Confluence Health approached the NCW Dahlia Society and invited the club to re-establish their demonstration garden just down the street in 2017. What was a large lawn in between the walk-in clinic and the Smith building is now bursting with color June through October.
Tony DeRooy Memorial Garden - Open to the Public
This public garden is free and open to the public with plenty of parking available off the street and in the surrounding lots serving the clinic. Each row is planted and maintained by individual members of the NCW Dahlia Society, each using unique varieties or techniques to encourage the best blooms out of the tubers planted each April. Club members are eager to answer questions you might have as you stroll amongst the rows. We hope Tony would be proud to see that his work continues on.