It’s all about the weather. Rhododendron fans keep one eye on their prize plants, but they know that only a burst of spring-like weather will ensure lots of bloom on the judging table at the MARS Rhodo Show and Sale, set for the Parksville Curling Club, Sat. April 21.
Taurus may be ready to burst, or Grace Seabrook (Taurus’s sister rhodo) may be almost open, but that’s only good enough for exhibition, not for judges’ consideration. Some years Taurus and Grace have already finished blooming by show date, but this year is feared to be a repeat of last year’s cold spring when members of the Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society had to scramble to get even a few blooms for the show.
“This long, cool spring may mean we won’t have as wide a variety of blooms on display as we would like”, said Maria Bieberstein, as she surveyed Rosamundi, in full bloom on her Nanoose Bay property. “But you never know. A few sunny days can change the landscape entirely.”
This is the 23rd year for the show and sale, chaired by Glen Jamieson. Vendors often bring hard-to-find plants, old favorites that have gone out of fashion, and plants that may not be readily available in nurseries. This year, two long-time participants have retired and one vendor, Harry Wright of Haida Gold in Courtenay, died last fall. Some of his plants will be available at the sale for the last time.
MARS members will wander the floor willing to answer any questions. New this year are mini information sessions on various aspects of growing the plants.
The judged show is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone who wants to enter a bloom must have it at the rink by 8:30 to register. Rules for entry are available in advance on request.
For details, contact Marilyn Dawson publicity chair at 752-3694; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. —