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  • "Do you have a dahlia's anonymous club I can join, because this is highly addictive. :) Thanks for the great plants!"
    David H., OR
  • "The best bulbs I have ever ordered. Thank you."
    Leigh M, CA
  • "Thank You! I ordered a little later than I normally do and some things were sold out- but that doesn't matter because I can never go wrong with anything I choose from you guys! I think I may have been a customer for over 12 years! Cheers!"
    Laurie G, MA
  • "I looooooooooooooooooove Swan Island! Someday I'll get to visit. Thanks!"
    Sarah B, MA
  • "I received my first order. I am very impressed with both your product, your shipping and how personable and helpful your customer service person was. I will certainly recommend you business to my gardening friends."
    Pam T, WA
  • "I have been buying dahlias from you for three years now and each year, the plants have been more wonderful. The flowers are magnificent and your service is top notch. I am really glad I found your company. Long live dahlias!"
    Marge P, OH
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About Us

We are dedicating our 2013-2014 season to our beloved family members.  Ted Gitts, co owner of Swan Island Dahlias, and his wife Debbie, passed away from a tragic car accident this summer 2013. Our family is devastated by the loss and we have become acutely aware of how life can change in an instant. We will do our best to carry on the values and traditions this family holds dear.

 

Swan Island Dahlias is the largest and leading dahlia grower in the United States.  We are located in the town of Canby, in the rich soil of the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  The farm was originally located in Portland, Oregon, with some buildings on Swan Island, which is where the farm’s name was derived from.  There was also a roadside stand in Sellwood, a suburb of Portland, so the business was known as both Swan Island Dahlias and Portland Dahlia Gardens at that time. Swan Island Dahlias was moved to Canby, Oregon on rented land in the 1940’s.  Around 1953, twenty acres of farmland was purchased in Canby, and the business was relocated to its present site. 

 

Nick and Margaret Gitts purchased Swan Island Dahlias in 1963 and moved their family to Oregon.  Previously they owned a dairy farm in Laurel, Washington.  Along with their dairy farm, they also owned and operated a small dahlia business on their farm know as Laurel Valley Dahlias. No longer just handling a small acre of dahlias, they were now farming 20 acres of dahlias as well as running the retail mail order and wholesale end of the dahlia business too. Under the Gitts family, the farm has expanded to a little over 40 acres at present.  Nicholas and Ted Gitts joined their parents as partners in 1975 and then in 1991, their parents retired from the business. Under Nicholas and Ted, retail sales was expanded, our annual dahlia show became larger, our color catalog became more extensive and all the photography for our catalog is now done by Nicholas Gitts.  Next came a computer system to help with our customer base and orders which brought our farming operation and office into a new era.

 

The family circle continues with Nicholas’ daughters, Jennifer Gitts – Eubanks, and Heather Gitts – Schloe, joining the business, bringing with them more changes and new ideas. 

 

We have lost 3 family members whom we loved dearly.  In October of 2007, Nick Sr lost his battle with cancer.  Many of our customers had the privilege of meeting him when they visited the farm.  He loved hybridizing and creating new varieties from seed and he often referred to his seedlings as "his babies".

 

This summer, we lost Ted Gitts and his wife Debbie in a tragic car accident. Ted was our "go to" tractor guy.  He ran the planter in the spring, and the dahlia digger in the fall.  Ted was an avid fisherman and hunter, he loved the outdoors and all it's beauty.  They were deeply loved and will be profoundly missed by our family. 

 

Ted and Nick Sr were both very special individuals and the dahlia world has lost two generous people who helped bring much beauty to the world.  We are dedicated to continuing the traditions that they both brought to this business.

 

Swan Island Dahlias has been in operation for over 85 years.  The Gitts family has owned and operated the business for over 50 years.  We proudly offer the largest full color dahlia catalog in the industry.  We hybridize our own new varieties, planting over 10,000 seedlings each year.  From those original seedlings, it takes about 4 years to introduce a new seedling for sale.  Each season we introduce anywhere from 5 to 15 new varieties which are featured in our catalog and at our farm.  We grow over 350 varieties on 40 acres that are open to the public during blooming season, and it is a beautiful sight to behold. We are very proud of Swan Island Dahlias, and the farming tradition our family brings to the business we’ve owned and operated for three generations.  We are dedicated to bringing the best and highest quality dahlias the world has to offer now and in future generations to come.

 

"A beautiful garden is a work of heart"