Dahlia growers go to great lengths to procure a diverse selection of tubers and blooms. Many dahlia growers in the Piedmont Triad are members of Carolinas Dahlia Society, which is based in the Linville area. Carolinas Dahlia Society serves all of North Carolina and South Carolina, which is a lot of real estate.
For local gardeners, this has meant traveling several hours to attend meetings and events with the group, which isn’t always easy or convenient. Not to mention that the growing conditions vary between the cooler climate of the mountains and the heat and humidity of Piedmont.
“The Carolina(s) Dahlia Society meets in the Haywood, Avery, Jackson, Buncombe and Henderson counties area, which is two to three hours or more from Winston-Salem,” said dahlia grower Jimmy Speas of Clemmons. “Dahlia growers from this area were not interested in traveling five to six hours round trip for a two-hour meeting.”
A good solution to the problem is in the works, as a new chapter of the dahlia society is being formed. Spearheaded by Speas, the society will be called the Central Carolina Dahlia Society (CCDS). This new chapter will be a participating society of the American Dahlia Society, as at least 10 members will be members of the parent organization (which is required for affiliation). Dahlia growers who have already shown interest in becoming members of the CCDS are scattered across Piedmont, including Hickory, Matthews, Walnut Cove and King. Dahlia growers in Wilmington have recently expressed interest in forming an Eastern North Carolina chapter but aren’t actively organizing a chapter yet.
“We are hoping to draw people that are on all levels of dahlia expertise,” said CCDS member Glad Douse, “from beginners who love looking at dahlias but have never grown them before, to people who are professional dahlia farmers. Having all those people gather together to share knowledge and benefit each other is quite exciting!”
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