As my mom grew roses throughout my childhood, she encouraged me grow dahlias. Relatively easy to grow, they seemed to just require water, sunlight, and a sturdy stick to keep the large plants upright. Cut a few blooms and more blooms soon follow. Dahlias seem to just keep on giving. I suppose it would be no surprise that dahlias were also the flower of choice at my wedding nine years ago this month.
I’d like to share a little story with a huge message that started out just the way my affection for dahlias began… with my mother encouraging me to grow something.
In 1983, Dan Pearson, of Dan's Dahlia's, began growing dahlias at the age of 10. Growing up on the family dairy farm in Oakville, Washington, Dan showed interest in flowers by memorizing the names of 30 varieties that summer.
By the following year, the interest continued and Dan was soon selling dahlias at the Olympia Farmer’s Market where he quickly established a presence, as well as a loyal following. As the years passed and it was time to attend college, Dan was able to finance his entire four-year degree in landscape architecture at Washington State University, graduating in 1995. Incredible!
Dan did pursue a career in landscape architecture for 7 years, but all the while he was building Dan’s Dahlia’s into a full-time job.
This is a year round operation!
Like most other visits with flower farmers, I arrive and knock on the front door of the house only to wait for the door to not open. Wandering, I generally always discover my new farmer friends out in a field of flowers. This day was no exception.
Dan definitely knows dahlias.
He is an absolute wealth of information and a true inspiration.
Reflecting on Dan’s inspiring story, I now relate to what my own son takes special interest in. He migrates toward anything with wheels, parts, and batteries (of all things). But he also loves cooking and often comments on the “pretty” flowers I have in buckets. He has many interests, and I want to keep exposing him to lots of experiences in life. As a parent, what I heard from Dan’s story is that his dad observed something in his son. He observed that Dan took a special interest in growing flowers… and that special interest turned into a passion… and that passion turned into a way of life that could provide for his family.
I only hope my son will develop a passion early in life that will bloom into a way of life.
The stories, photos, and opinions were sourced from my personal interview with Dan Pearson, http://shop.dansdahlias.com/main.sc and http://seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com/dans-dahlias/.