MARS Annual Rhododendron Show & Sale

MARS Annual Rhododendron Show & Sale:  TENTATIVE for 2022

Enjoy free admission to the MARS Rhododendron Show and plant sale, featuring the flowers of early to mid-season blooming rhododendron species, along with local vendors selling gardening goodies and a variety of plants (not only rhododendrons).

This is your chance to consult the experts and purchase from a top-quality selection of rhododendrons and azaleas, from iron-clad garden standbys to rare and unusual varieties. Along with the usual MARS plant table, you can look forward to seeing these fine vendors:

  • Backyard Bloomers
  • Garden Lore
  • Jericho Enterprises (Bark Mulch)
  • Northwest Bay Nursery
  • Notch Hill Native Plants
  • The Shrubbers

Rhododendron Society members and the public are invited to bring their best rhododendron blooms (known as trusses) to this show to compete for prizes provided by MARS, or simply to share on the Display Table.  If you have a beautiful bloom from an unknown rhododendron, please bring it.  One of our experts might be able to identify it for you!

Whether you’re a rhododendron aficionado, a gardener, or simply a fan of flowers, you’ll find lots to enjoy at the MARS Rhododendron Show and Plant Sale.


The 2021 Show and Sale was cancelled due to concerns over COVID-19.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed for 2022 – please check back here for updates!


How To Exhibit
Anyone can enter the judged competition and/or show blooms on the Display Table, free of charge!

Rhododendron Show Regulations and Procedures

(Click here for a printable version.)


All categories except Novice are open to everyone (Rhododendron Society members and the general public) at no charge.  The Novice category is open only to new MARS members (three years or less).


  • All competition entries must have been grown by the exhibitor for at least 6 months and primarily cared for by the exhibitor.
  • Only one entry of each name may be entered in each competition category per exhibitor.  (For example, R. macabeanum could be entered in the species category and the appropriate color category, but not twice in the same category.) Please bring as many entries as you like for the Display Table.
  • All entries should be taken from plants grown without artificial protection except for entries in the ‘Tender’ category, which is for the non-hardy varieties.
  • Exhibitors should identify each truss.  A bloom whose identity is unknown can still be enjoyed on the Display Table.  (And if you have a beautiful unknown, please bring it — maybe we can even identify it for you so you can enter it for judging next year!)
  • Entries for the judged competition will be accepted from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Parksville Curling Club, on Friday.
  • Entries for the Display Table should be brought in containers, ready to show.  They can be dropped off on Friday  between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM, or on Saturday before 8:30 AM.
  • Entries and ribbons may be removed at 2:00 PM the day of the show.

Show Categories

  • Red
  • Pink
  • White
  • Blue Collection
  • Yellow Collection
  • Foliage – Small Leaf
  • Foliage – Large Leaf
  • Foliage – Grande Leaf
  • Lax Truss1
  • Spray2
  • Species3 Small Leaf (species must be identified)
  • Species3 Large Leaf (species must be identified)
  • Species3 Grande Leaf (species must be identified)
  • Hammerhead4
  • Tender (such as maddenii and vireyas that need winter protection here).
  • Novice*

*Note: The Novice category is open only to new MARS members (three years or less). All other categories are open to club members and the public.


Truss: A single rachis, i.e. all florets coming from one bud.
1Lax Truss:  Truss composed of drooping florets on longer stalks.
2Spray: Multiple stems emerging from a single stem
3Species: Botanically identified plants originating from seeds or cuttings
4Hammerhead: Truss with multiple rachides emanating from a single terminal
Hybrid: Plants resulting from cross-breeding of more than one species, hybrid or combination thereof

Preparing Your Trusses

  • A few days before the show, look around your garden to see what can be entered.
  • Select blooms at the peak of their development.
  • Cut from well-watered plants, during the coolest part of the day.
  • Groom your blooms:  Remove damaged or dead twigs, leaves, bud scales and flower pips.
  • Clean or wash leaves, but no artificial polishing is allowed in the competition.
  • Use suitable containers to retain water during transportation to the show. If you wish, you may use chemical additives to preserve bloom freshness.


What to do when dropping off your entries for the judged competition*
*At any stage, feel free to ask for help!

1. Register:  Between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM on Friday (the evening before the show), go to the Registration Table, sign in, and pick up a competitor number and a number of dots. You will need a dot for each entry.  Proceed to the Labelling Table and leave your list of Truss names. Lists will be taken in order. There may be a wait for plant names if a lot of people come at the same time.

2. Put Trusses in Bottles: Nearby is a table with bottles and corks. Take one bottle for each truss, put a numbered dot on the side of each bottle midway down, first making sure that the bottle is dry. Towels are available if you need one.  (Don’t turn the bottle over; it’s full of water.) Place a truss into each bottle using a cork to hold it securely if necessary.

3. Label Trusses: Leave trusses on the Work Table and go to the Labelling Table to pick up labels. Take trusses and labels to the Holding Table.

4. From the Holding Table, trusses will be taken by a designated volunteer to the judging area and placed in the appropriate category. The label is placed in front of each truss.

All competition trusses must be submitted before 7:00 PM Friday so judging can start on time the next morning.


How to prepare entries for the Display Table

If you have beautiful blooms you want to share without entering the competition, please bring as many as you like for the Display Table.  Bring the blooms in containers, ready to display.  If you know the name of the rhodo, please label it; but all blooms are welcome!

Display Table entries can be dropped off on Friday between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM, or on Saturday before 8:30 AM.

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