The Montana Dahlia Society was founded by Bill McClaren, former owner of Alpen Gardens. It is the oldest dahlia society in Montana.  On October 12, 1988 an enthusiastic group of dahlia growers met and held the first meeting of the Montana Dahlia Society.   

MDS operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to stimulating interest in and promoting the culture and development of the dahlia, and is affiliated with the American Dahlia Society as a Participating Society. The society promotes interest in dahlias to its members and the public through membership, meetings, judging schools, garden tours, a monthly newsletter - ‘Tana Tuber Topics, a tuber sale and two annual shows. 

There were 46 charter members of MDS, primarily from the Pacific Northwest. Today members are from all over the United States and Canada.  The first flower show was held at the Northwest Montana Fair on August 18, 1989 in Kalispell, Montana. The following year, in addition to the Kalispell show, a show was held in Missoula, Montana at the South Gate Mall on August 25th. It was apparent from that point on the society needed to have one additional show in Kalispell to be held Labor Day weekend at the Kalispell Center Mall. 

Since the beginning, the society has had the support of many members from Idaho, Montana, and Canada.  In 1997 members from Idaho formed the North Idaho Dahlia Society and had their first show in August of that year. Then in 2009 the 5 Valleys Dahlia & Glad Society was formed as well as the Alberta Dahlia & Gladiolus Society. Those societies each had their first show in August of 2010.

The Montana Dahlia Society, with a few exceptions for shows and special events, meets the second Sunday of each month.  A business meeting is generally held at 1:30 p.m. followed by a program meeting starting at 2:30 p.m. The date, time and place of meetings and society events are published on the “Calendar” page of this website.  All are welcome to attend the monthly meetings.  MDS members have a wide variety of interests in dahlias, including growing, exhibiting flowers at shows, hybridizing, and arranging and are always willing to share their knowledge with newcomers.  Those new to growing dahlias can learn which varieties are recommended for our northwest climate and how to make them thrive.


Deann Snell- David, Amanda Kump, John Kestell, Kathy David


Delsie Marienau

Tyler Hawk and Bill McClaren

Judging 2013 Kalispell Center Mall Show

Ken Jensen and Wayne Roberts