Dahlias on the Bridge of Flowers

The Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA

The Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA

In 1908, a 400-foot, five-arch concrete trolley bridge was built to span the Deerfield River between the Massachusetts’ towns of Shelburne Falls and Buckland. Abandoned in 1928 as it became more economical to haul goods by truck, the span was transformed a year later by the Shelburne Falls Woman’s Club into “The Bridge of Flowers.”

Dahlias and asters

Dahlias and asters

The Bridge today remains under their care, with over 500 varieties of annuals and perennials planted and tended by local volunteers. This traditional New England flower garden — in continuous bloom throughout the growing season — is a magnet for bees, butterflies, birds, and human visitors from around the world.

Dahlia with a happy visitor

Dahlia with a happy visitor

We stopped by last weekend on a warm, buoyant, sun-gilded September afternoon to admire the flowering obedient plants, asters, phlox, turtleheads, and re-blooming lilies. But the dahlias — now at the height of their glory — were the real headliners. I spoke to a volunteer gardener who said that the dahlia tubers — which multiply with every season — are pulled up and stored in local basements over the winter. The many different generations of the same dahlia — like family members everywhere — are easy enough to recognize as you stroll down the garden’s long receiving line.

Looking north up the Deerfield River

Looking north up the Deerfield River

Here’s a link to more information about the Bridge of Flowers including directions http://bridgeofflowersmass.org

While you’re there, pay a visit to Nancy L. Dole Books & Ephemera, at the end of the bridge on the Bucklandside http://www.nancydolebooks.com

Here’s a related post on dahlias that I wrote a few years back http://www.lizagyllenhaal.com/the-dapper-dahlia/

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2 Responses to Dahlias on the Bridge of Flowers

  1. Annette Shear says:

    T.G.I.F. and my favorite reading material just arrived!
    HIGH LINE, eat your heart out!
    Loved all of this one, Liza.

    I hear you’re going to France soon; I hope you will find time to send us your impression of Provence at this time of year.

    Bon voyage!

    • Liza says:

      Yes, Annette, we’re off to Provence and Paris in a couple of weeks and I definitely intend to take copious notes and pictures. Thanks, as always, for your good wishes!

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