A Historic Look at our Club
The Tacoma Dahlia Society formed in 1912 after a successful show in 1911.
Every year the show grew in size until 1917 when the war took priority.
The club displayed dahlias in baskets and large bouquets in 1918 in the
large downtown department stores. In 1926 the club was reformed and renamed
the Washington Dahlia Society. Shows were held in the beautiful Crystal
Ballroom of the Winthrop Hotel.
We had our final name change in 1934 and became the Washington State
Dahlia Society. Although still really a Tacoma club we set out to start
other clubs in the state. Over the years new clubs have come and gone but
several remain in the Federation that were started by WSDS members.
A real driving force in our club was Mrs. J.W. Lee ( Lillian) who
devised a dahlia score card in 1934 and also started the first area trial
garden in Puyallup at the Washington extension farm.
In the past 30+ years our driving force has been Les Connell who is our
current President. A large commercial grower, Les has originated more than
500 varieties including Magic Moment, April Dawn and Amy K.
Ed Redd, originator of Elma Elizabeth, Klondike and Light Accord has
been an active member since the 1970’s.
When folks think of WSDS two things stand out as making us unique. Our
support of the Pacific Northwest Trial Garden is a great source of pride
for our club. Beyond helping others to get their originations into the
dahlia mainstream, the trial garden also promotes dahlias and is one of the
jewels in a large metropolitan park district.
Our other unique event is our yearly catered dinner at the Connell's
Dahlia Farm. Several years ago we added our “Table Show” for the evening,
which is a very popular event. All members and guests from all over western
Washington are encouraged to bring their Monday blooms and compete. We have
several invited judges who educate new exhibitors by explaining each of
their choices. Prizes are generous and great fun to win.
In September of 2011 our club hosted its 100th consecutive show.
As with all that we do, our shows are a labor of love to promote dahlias!