Flower Power

Sharing the bounty at Triple Wren Farms


What: Dahlia Festival and Tuber Pre-Sale

Where: Triple Wren Farm, 2424 Zell Rd., Ferndale


WHEN: 12pm-5pm Sat., Sept. 12

Info: 12pm-5pm Sat., Sept. 12

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

A few years back, I grew a prolific patch of dahlias in the largest raised bed in our backyard primarily because one of my best friends was getting married the following September and had requested the use of my gardening expertise to source blossoms for her bridal bouquets.

Although I was trepidatious about taking on the responsibility, the challenge turned out to be a successful one, and by the morning of the wedding the plot we cut flowers from was a riot of color—from bright-yellow blooms to orange, red, vibrant purple, peach and more, and from dinner-plate-sized to smaller varieties that were used in boutonnieres.

Since I’d started harvesting the flowers in mid-July and continued to do so into late October, I was able to savor the bounty of beauty in the garden—and in vases scattered throughout the house—both before and after the late-summer nuptials. And when dahlia-planting dates came due the following spring, even more tubers went in the ground that time around to ensure another bumper crop. Again, the ornamental rock stars delivered.

Which brings me to spring of 2020, when the fateful decision was made to rededicate the space to growing vegetables. It was early in the pandemic, and I wasn’t sure what the coming months were going to look like. Would grocery stores and farmers markets even be open? Would we all be surviving on canned and frozen goods and whatever we could claw from the earth? I panicked, and instead of growing an ocular oasis, gave the space over to what have thus far been low-performing zucchinis.

Although there are still a few dahlia plants scattered around the garden right now, I miss the bountiful blooms of yesteryear, and plan to bring them back in a big way for the summer of 2021.

For inspiration—and to ensure I’ll have an ample supply of locally grown tubers when I do dig in—I’m hoping to attend the annual Dahlia Festival taking place from 12pm-5pm Sat., Sept. 12 at Triple Wren Farms. The family-owned, Ferndale-based farm is opening up its fields to the public for the day, and although guests must register in advance in order to attend, Sarah and Steve Pabody say they are offering free admission this year as a way to “share beauty with as many members of our community as possible in these difficult times.”

Since the flower fields are typically closed to visitors, this is an excellent opportunity to wander among the more than 30,000 dahlias growing in the fields, take note of varieties that inspire you, purchase fresh bouquets, and pick your own for $1 per stem (a rare opportunity at Triple Wren, apparently).

No-contact purchase for the farm’s Dahlia Tuber Pre-Sale will also be provided, so keep that in mind during your socially distanced, mask-wearing visit to the lovely locale, where flower displays and photo ops will make for an eye-catching afternoon with plenty of outdoors space to roam.

While you’re there, remember this event is expensive for the farm to put on, as they need to halt their regular cut flower harvest sales and schedules for a week to make sure the fields are bountiful for the festival, and due to the intense labor involved in pulling off an event of this size.

Triple Wren Farms is showing their “flower friends” some serious love by making the event a free one, so follow their social distancing rules, take home as many bloomers as your vehicle will hold, plan your future plot—like I will be—and support people whose mission appears to be to provide beauty to the world. Your garden will thank you.

Note: As we prepared to output this issue, we received notice that registration for the Dahlia Festival was at capacity. Not all is lost, however. You don’t need to be there in person for the Dahlia Tuber Pre-Sale, which will begin on Sept. 12 and continue for a week or more. More than 70 varieties will be offered, so there will be plenty to choose from. Triple Wren Farms also hosts a farm stand from 10am-dark with fresh-cut flower bouquets, so drop by anytime. For those who seek more details about the tubers, make plans to attend WSU Master Gardeners’ “Dahlia Day” from 1pm-3pm Sun., Sept. 27 at Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale. Experts will be on hand to answer questions, and there will be free bouquets (while supplies last). Entry is free and family-friendly.

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