About Us

A Letter from the Gitts Family

Swan Island Dahlias, in business for over 97 years, 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 1940s. Around 1953, twenty acres of farmland was purchased in Canby, and the business was relocated to its present site.

The Gitts Family

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 known 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 grew to almost 40 acres. In 2021 Heather & Brendon Schloe acquired an additional 10 acres, bringing our farm to almost 50 acres.

Nicholas and Ted Gitts joined their parents as partners in 1975 and then in 1991, their parents retired from the business. 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".  In July of 2013, 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 its beauty. In 2016 Margaret Gitts passed away at the age of 90. She was best known for her amazing and delicious lemon meringue pies. They were deeply loved and are still profoundly missed by our family.

Today, Swan Island Dahlias is owned and operated by Nicholas and Linda Gitts. Nicholas' Daughter, Heather Gitts-Schloe manages the office, websites, and day-to-day business of Swan Island Dahlias.  She is the future of our business and we are very proud of her and her love of our farm heritage. In 2020 Heather's husband joined the business taking over all of the IT needs.

"A beautiful garden is a work of heart."

Drone image of the 40 acres of dahlia rows.

We still produce the largest full-color dahlia catalog in the industry. We hybridize our own new varieties, planting over 15,000 seedlings each year. From those original seedlings, it takes about 4 to 5 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 375 varieties on almost 50 acres that are open to the public during the blooming season. We are very proud of 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.

Visit us and share our love of the beauty and splendor of the dahlia.

With much love,

Nicholas & Linda Gitts, Heather Gitts-Schloe, & Brendon Schloe
The Gitts Family
Swan Island Dahlias