Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dahlia Garden at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

I had not been to California since I was a small child and never to San Francisco. Temperatures hovering around 60 degrees in August was a shock to my system! Charlotte had been over 95 for at least a couple of weeks before we left, with heat index temps up to 108. You probably won't play your violin for me, but I was COLD!

These hot, hot dahlias made a nice contrast with the cool temperatures and an overcast sky. Can you believe this color?!

The Dahlia Garden is just outside the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. From across the huge expanse of green in front of the Conservatory, I thought it was a rose garden at first.

I've never grown dahlias (though I've been quite fond of a few) because they are not hardy in zone 7b.  So you have to dig up the tubers before they freeze, save them in a dry spot over the winter,and then replant them. Who wants to do that?

Well, maybe me after seeing some of these!

The American Dahlia Society says if you can grow tomatoes where you are, you can grow dahlias. Don't tomatoes like heat?

Growing dahlias in pots is another recommendation. I bet it would be easier to overwinter them that way.

Man is the only animal that laughs....

A little closer to home, the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh has some gorgeous dahlias, too. When I was there last summer, I was impressed by several peachy- and pink-toned ones with dark red in the leaves and stems, like this one captured by Ira Tucker.

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
The American Dahlia Society
JC Raulston Arboretum


  1. Such lovely flowers, and a nice trip. I would love to feel the coolness of SF. I would probably freeze though. That is really cool. It is so hot and dry here in Texas and no relief in sight. I bet it does seems cool to you.

  2. Wow...that is quite the display! I always enjoy Dahlias in other people's gardens...but can't figure out a way to plant them in mine without them looking out of place...I just need to find the right one ;-)

  3. I have never seen so many dahlias in one place! Beautiful. I am lazy about digging them up too, so I haven't grown them before. HOWEVER, in the Learning Garden in Virginia (zone 7b) we had some that stayed in the garden all winter and returned over and over again. Guess you could just cross your fingers.

  4. Thanks for following by blog! So much fun to hear from you - another Southern gardener!!

  5. paula, texas and oklahoma have been hit so hard with heat and drought this year! i hope you get relief soon.

    scott, where to put them is a problem for me, too. i am thinking pots could be my solution, if i decide to try them.

    janet, my mother-in-law has had them come back occasionally. i'm sure some cultivars are more hardy than others -- i guess it's about picking the right one.

    tracey, i'm glad you dropped by! thanks for the follow back.

  6. That is a beautiful garden. Thank you for sharing such lovely photos.

    I read today that Portland (my hometown) may reach 90F this weekend - it would be their first 90F day of the year.

    As you might imagine, I'm the exact opposite of you - feel like I'm being roasted alive here in Charlotte for most of the year!

    I didn't know about the JC Raulston Arboretum; have to check it out when I'm up that way next.

  7. Marvelous photos! I love dahlias~and so wish I didn't have to dig them up! So they are treated like expensive annuals! gail

  8. smedette, thank you for stopping by. i know the heat here is oppressive, especially if you're used to that sort of cool. i feel for you. check out the raulston arboretum in the fall or late winter for cooler temps and some great blooms. there is a garden there designed specifically for winter interest.

    gail, thank you! glad you stopped by.

  9. I grow several Dahlias and never dig them up. The best performers for me are the Bishop series. The foliage is great and they do not need staking. The more showy varieties need careful placement and staking. Perhaps they are best grown in a garden like the one you have shown.

  10. Oh wow they are lovely! The one with pink and white petals and the yellow centre is an interesting combination. I loved the one in your last photo.

    Thanks so much for dropping by my blog from Downunder. I can empathises with your comments about the weather in San Fran being a little on the cool side!! 60 deg F is a rather crisp Winter's day here in north-east Oz.

  11. les, thanks for the tip. i will look up the bishop series.

    bernie, your garden was a joy to visit, if only virtually. i agree with you about the pink/white dahlia with yellow centers. that was my favorite.