Haywood Community College


Contacts: Debra M. Davis, Diana S. Conard

185 Freedlander Drive

Clyde, NC 28721

828-627-4521 Fax: 828-627-4513

Date: 10-26-05

For immediate release.


Haywood Community College was recently host to internationally recognized author and dahlia originator, Bill McClaren. McClaren has grown dahlias for over 50 years and has hybridized for 20 years. His new book, Encyclopedia of Dahlias, features over 800 photos.

McClaren spoke to the audience in the Nix Greenhouse Complex about hybridizing and growing dahlias organically, as well as the dahlias of the future. HCC and McClaren have had a long-standing relationship starting when the college became the first to order from his previously owned commercial dahlia nursery, Alpen Gardens. "I have always wanted to see this college," McClaren said. "I could not travel from Montana without fulfilling this goal." He finished his presentation by signing copies of his book, touring the HCC dahlia garden, and presenting the HCC library a copy of the Encyclopedia of Dahlias.

HCC's dahlia garden boasts over 400 plants with over 250 varieties. "At HCC, we have a one-of-a-kind dahlia garden," according to John Palmer, director of the HCC Campus Arboretum and instructor in the forestry program. "We specialize in them here. They originated in the mountains of Mexico where they were used to cool nights. That is why dahlias do well in our area."

The inspiration of the dahlia garden is credited to A.L. Freedlander. Freedlander loved dahlias and wanted the HCC campus to be a beautiful learning environment. When he donated money to the campus, he stipulated that a dahlia garden must be added.

(Photo by Diana Conard) Photo attached: Cutline:

Bill McClaren (right) discusses his book with HCC librarian Polly Sloan.