Peaches Close up

The Garden Journal

February 2023


3 March Workshops!

Proper Pruning Techniques Workshop

Thursday, March 9


Saturday, March 11



Lucy Hunter Master Floral Workshop

Saturday, March 18


Growing Lettuce Workshop

March 23 & 25


Space is limited in classes. Registration is required to attend.

No ticket sales on date of events.

No pets allowed        Smoking of any kind is strictly prohibited on property.


“Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle…a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.” Barbara Winkler


I had posted on social media channels that I would be sharing some of my thoughts on dahlias. After many years growing, and many mistakes, triumphs, disappointments and wins, I’m here to tell you what we look for when shopping around for Dahlias, as the field of options has become incredibly diverse, and saturated. And I’m both incredibly picky, and more educated than when I first started growing dahlias.

Whether you grow 5 dahlias, or 5000, learning the “tricks” to both sourcing, and planting viable tubers, as well as how to safeguard and build your own stock, can save a lot of heartache when you are trying to curate a collection.

Sourcing: I have very strong opinions that not all sources of dahlia tubers are great options, and have bought from enough places now that I am very selective about who we buy from, and where those tubers come from.

  1. Make sure that the tubers you are purchasing actually come from who you are purchasing them from. In other words, the seller is not reselling tubers they bought or sourced elsewhere. Why is this important? Many growers have the ability to purchase wholesale tubers that come from overseas, and are often not tested for disease/virus, thus are a rampant source of common problems in dahlia stock, like crown or leafy gall, or mosaic virus. That tuber clump may seem like a great deal, but when you receive it, and every tuber is either broken off at the attachment site, or is withered dry and has no life left, it doesn’t matter how low the price is if you’re getting a dead tuber that was manhandled by farm equipment and packaged without inspection. Our tubers are always only grown on our farm, and we have the ability to see the life of the tuber from one season to the next, to make sure the tubers are performing well in the field, in storage, and are staying disease free. At any sign of any concerns, we immediately remove those tubers or that variety from our program and offerings, as we will not share dahlia diseases with our customers. As well, they are dug, and divided, by hand, by our trained team.
  2. Look for transparency from the growers you source from. They should tell you how they grow, what they use, and why they do what they do. Every grower does things differently, and that’s ok, but they shouldn’t have anything to hide when asked.
  3. Have clarity on purchase policies: this is important. Each grower should have a clear outline on what their return/refund policy is, and when you purchase from that grower, you enter an agreement that those terms are amenable to you. If you don’t like the terms, then shop elsewhere. Not liking the terms after you receive a product is not a great time to decide you are unhappy with that grower, especially if they clearly outlined their policies.
  4. Support the growers that offer a product you love! So important…dahlia tubers are an immense amount of labor, and often little return to growers. Our labor costs have gone up exponentially, and dahlias are a huge part of our time and cost, year-round. If you want quality dahlia tubers to continue to be available, then please, shop with the growers you love. They appreciate it, I promise!
  5. Make sure you purchase from a certified nursery operation. We are Washington State Department of Agriculture certified and inspected on an annual basis, and are allowed to ship our tubers nationwide based on our growing operation and practices. We have an inspector look over all parts of our operation, during all stages of growth, to storage. This should be the bare minimum a grower does to insure that both quality and disease-free stock is being offered. Not to mention, if you have a nursery license (which is mandatory for shipping tubers), then you are not allowed to bring in stock from another source that was not inspected and up to code per that state agriculture requirements. This is to help safeguard the transfer of noxious pests and diseases via plant material. This differs from state to state. Again, not spreading these problems should be a huge concern, and the growers you support should take this seriously, and do everything in their control to avoid cross-contamination.


Education: know what you should be looking at in regards to the plant you are buying. This goes for any plant, but being able to tell the difference between a healthy tuber and a non-viable tuber is your responsibility as a consumer and grower.

  1. Size does not always matter. Yes, this is probably a controversial topic. Not all tubers are massive beasts. Quite a few varieties only produce smaller tubers. Don’t expect tubers all to be a certain size or “they won’t grow”. I’ve had larger tubers not grow, and smaller tubers be champs. As long as they have the components they need: healthy, complete body, fully attached neck to a head with a visible eye/sprout, you’re good to plant.
  2. Know what gall looks like: there are 2 types. They are not the same. They come from different sources. Both can be vectored by insects and snips. They can live in the soil, which may mean that the source of gall may not always be the tuber. It’s a complicated issue. One way to make sure your tuber doesn’t have gall is to let it “eye up” before you plant it. This is one reason we wake up our tubers before packing and shipping. If gall is present in the tuber, it will show up in the early stages of eye formation, as they are both very obvious on active eye growth if already present.
  3. Inspect your tubers when you first get them. Don’t leave them in a box in the corner by your baseboard heater and open them up 3 weeks later. They are a living, breathing plant, and should be looked over, then put in a cool, dark area until ready to plant. Where you keep your tubers for your geographical location and microclimate is totally dependent on your specific scenario. We plant our tubers in February. Why? We grow almost exclusively in poly-tunnels, and have found that planting them early gives us an earlier, and longer crop yield with our plants. We are in a fairly temperate area, zone 8a, and have had little issue with this. However, what we plant outside, doesn’t get planted until after our last frost, typically mid- to late-April or early May. Our tubers have survived in the ground, in tunnels, into the low teens, but do not do well in our water-logged PNW soils. Knowing your area and taking the appropriate precautions to be successful with your dahlias is your responsibility. Some of this is trial and error and learning what works best for you. Again, this is different for each grower. I have friends who grow exclusively in containers on a back patio in an urban environment. Very different from our country farm setting. It is not the grower’s responsibility to safeguard your tubers once they are in your hands.


Timing: More importantly, why we wait to sell our tubers until March. I firmly believe the only reason to pre-purchase tubers is to support a grower/farm that is doing that for cash flow during a slow time. There is nothing wrong with that as a business model. No one will ship tubers until it is time to plant them, and so they still have to make it through the winter, in storage. We wait to wake up our tubers in February, let them eye up, so that we can fully inspect the entire body by hand and feel, as well as visually inspect each tuber for a healthy eye. Then, and only then, is that tuber packaged to be shipped, and counted for available inventory. That number is always different from what we store away in fall and winter. Some tubers are storage divas, and those we take extra precautions with, as we have had some issues with them in the past. I do not want to have any upset customers that are unable to get a desired or hard to get variety because we oversold tubers before actually knowing what we have available. It is incredibly important to us that you get healthy tubers with a visible eye, and confirmed to be the variety we say it is, and is a job we take very seriously. Please know, the dahlias we send out to each and every person make the grade as a tuber we would plant on our own property, and we are proud of the quality of tubers we offer.

HAVE FUN! Growing dahlias, and any plant, for that matter, is going to take a different path for each person, and figuring out what you like, and what works, takes time, and experimentation. If you are heart set on a very specific dahlia variety that is incredibly hard to procure on the market, be patient. And when you finally get it, order several. They might not all grow. For every precaution we take, and all the time we spend inspecting our tubers to make sure we are only planting the best stock (healthy body, strong neck, visible eye) and giving them every opportunity to succeed, still, not every dahlia grows. Rather than let that frustrate you, understanding that in both the growing and storage process, there is some loss, and build in security around that. Ours is to set aside some extras to replace any that just don’t sprout up for whatever reason, and to store more than we need in case of loss in storage. Why? We know it’s going to happen.

Also, some varieties are just not as vigorous or robust as others. We have our eye on several that are beautiful flowers, but the tubers are tricky in storage. This is not said to discourage you…just to be realistic.

Every grower is going to tell you their top 5, or whatever is their favorite variety, based on completely different reasons. This is a marketing gimmick, again, nothing wrong, just personal choices.

Here is what I look for in a dahlia variety:

  1. Vigor in sprouting - not taking too long to push up stems. I don’t want to wait until September to see a plant.
  2. Healthy plant - I don’t want spindly stems, or weak attachments from stem to flower head. I want stems that hold flowers upright on the plant and in the vase, and flowers that can manage being handled. Also, plants that can manage periods of drought/heat, or severe weather conditions. Even better? Plants that hold themselves up without major staking.
  3. Robust producers - Dahlias that bloom their heads off all season long, and can handle hard cuts, over and over.
  4. Viable tuber production - not just loads of tubers, but viable tubers with strong neck/head attachments and visible eyes, as well as a complete body.
  5. Storage capacity - tubers that hold their own in storage. We have several storage divas, that just test me every winter, and they are not my favorite for this one factor, but we continue to grow as they check off every other box.

As far as color palette, dahlia type - this is a completely personal choice, and you should grow what you love, as that will be what is motivating and exciting for you.

Dahlia Tuber Sales

Dahlias will go on sale in March, date will be announced via a special mailing to subscribers, who will be the first to know when they are available. This will give our followers premium access to all of our grown right here on site and better-than-organic tubers. We will not release the date before that, not via social channels, email, private message, etc. Everyone on this list will find out the date at the same time, and have the same opportunity. If you are receiving this newsletter - you will know when the dahlia sales opens.

Dahlias will be listed online via our website, and website sales will be shipping only, no exceptions. We do not have the ability to combine orders, shipping will be calculated automatically per order.

To get an idea of what dahlias we will have available, we encourage you to visit our Floral Gallery at:

We have all dahlias listed by color, and this can get you started on your wish list. Please keep in mind that not all dahlias will be available; it is dependent on how many tubers we grew, as well as how they do in storage.

Weed Control vs. Weed Management

Continue to keep your gardens weed free as we inch closer to Spring. With our unusually warmer January weather (and sunny!) we’ve noticed a lot of weeds cropping up sooner than usual: dandelions, sorrel, Senecio, ranunculus, woodruff, and Malva neglecta (common mallow).

While weed growth is typically cyclical, sometimes Mother Nature can throw those cycles into a tailspin. Remember: weeds, like anything, are hanging out, waiting for the right conditions to germinate. Give space, soil, light, and water and they’ll go for it.

Weeds that are fairly small on the surface typically have a longer or deeper root system than the above ground size of the plant would suggest. This is why it’s recommended to get them when they’re smaller, as removal is easier before those roots really take hold.

Proper Pruning Techniques Workshop

Our first class in 2023: Proper Pruning Techniques, is one of my favorite classes to teach. Pruning is hands down one of my favorite garden tasks, and empowering others with skills they can take home and use forever is the best.

This seems to be a topic that has a lot of people feeling like they just don’t know what to do, don’t want to do the wrong thing and hurt their plant, or don’t know when the right time to prune is. We cover all of that here, along with how to do the right type of cut for the plant you are pruning. Pruning is both science, and art.

Each participant will get a brand new set of pruning shears from our Garden Shop - to be used in the class as you hands-on practice pruning techniques on some of our plants here. These pruning snips are yours to take home and use forever - they are the best. We do not allow any outside snips to be used in our workshops for sanitation and plant health reasons. Please bring your own gloves if you like to wear them while working in the garden.

Ticket link is here:

 Garden Shop Hours*:

See Dates listed

Thursday, March 9   12:30-4

Saturday, March 11   10-4

Thursday, March 23 12:30-4 (Shop for Easter!)

Saturday, March 25 10-4 - (Shop for Easter!)

Saturday, April 22 10-4  - SPRING PLANT SALE!

 *Please stay tuned for Spring opening

Visit us at:

Lucy Hunter Workshop

Our workshop with Lucy Hunter is nearly full; there are only a few spots remaining. If you are interested, please email us at for more details; a full docket of information will be sent to interested persons. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity, as it is only offered one day this year.

Ticket link is here:

Growing Lettuce Workshop

Growing lettuce from seed is both incredibly easy, as well as the most economical way to get the freshest lettuce from your garden to your table.

This is both lecture and workshop, first discussing growing lettuce and all the details, along with info on what varieties we are growing and where to get them. We will then each sow a 72-cell tray of lettuce seeds to take home for your spring gardens. Participants will get all supplies for this hands-on project, and get to keep the trays for your own use. Bring your own gloves if you like to wear them while working.

Class size is limited to 20 participants on each day, so make sure you sign up now to secure your spot.

Details are provided in the ticket link below, there are 2 class options to choose from: Thursday, March 23rd and Saturday, March 25th. Classes are non-refundable, but are transferable to another person in the event you are unable to make it.

Ticket link is here:

The Garden Shop

The Garden Shop will be open on days we have workshops scheduled, to allow class attendees and anyone wishing to stop by the opportunity to visit with us.

Please kindly remember that when our Garden Shop is open, our Gardens are still closed to the general public unless announced, and a ticket is always required to enter. Those who attend our workshops are allowed access to the Gardens for the duration of the class. If you are interested in seeing the progress of our Garden spaces, we encourage you to enroll in one of our available classes. Ticket links are above.

Garden Shop Dates/Hours

Thursday, March 9 12:30-4

Saturday, March 11 10-4

Thursday, March 23 12:30-4 (Shop for Easter!)

Saturday, March 25 10-4 (Shop for Easter!)

Saturday, April 22 10-4 - SPRING PLANT SALE!

Garden Tasks

  • Plant Onion Starts
  • Prepare Seed Beds
  • Organize Seeds you are planting, by sowing date
  • Check all tools
  • Prune wisteria, cutting back summer side-shoots to 2-3 buds
  • Take notice of climber that may need pruning before the end of the month (Group 2 Clematis)
  • Cut back shrubs like Cornus and Saliz, down to their bases, to promote new growth
  • Prune overwintered fuchsias back to 1-2 buds on each shoot
  • Prune winter flowering Jasmine after flowering, to encourage new growth for next year
  • Prune winter flowering shrubs once colorful display is finished.
  • Lift and divide Galanthus (snowdrops) still “in the green”, if you wan to move or create more plants.
  • Move ay deciduous trees or shrubs that need repositioning now, as long as soil is not frozen or waterlogged.
  • Remove leaves from hellebores, if not done already

Stay Tuned for Upcoming Events


      • Groundhog Day: February 2
      • Feed the Birds Day: February 3
      • Stuffed Mushroom Day: February 4
      • Send a Card to a Friend Day: February 7
      • National Puzzle Day: February 9
      • Valentine’s Day: February 14
      • Random Acts of Kindness Day: February 17
      • Love Your Pet Day: February 20
      • Mardi Gras: February 21
      • Floral Design Day: February 28 (come to our workshop on March 18!)
      • Proper Pruning Techniques - March 9, 11, 2023
      • Lucy Hunter Workshop - March 18, 2023
      • Growing Lettuce Workshop - March 23, 25, 2023
      • Planting for Pollinators Class - April 22, 2023
      • More Special Workshops and Events planned for 2023

Leave a Comment