MARS Annual Rhododendron Show & Sale

MARS Annual Rhododendron Show & Sale

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).

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 for everyone to enjoy on the Display Table.

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.

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!


Location: Parksville Curling Club
220 Corfield Street North, Parksville, BC
April 2020 – dates TBA
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Free admission – Everyone is welcome!


How To Exhibit
Would you like to compete or display your rhododendron flowers in the MARS show? The competition and Display Table are open to Rhododendron Society members and the general public, free of charge!

Rhododendron Show Regulations and Procedures

(Click here for a printable version.)


All categories except Novice are open to Rhododendron Society members and non-members in the area.  The Novice category is open only to new MARS members (three years or less).

All members of a household will be considered to be one exhibitor.


  • All entries shall have been grown by the exhibitor for at least 6 months and primarily cared for by the exhibitor.
  • Only one entry of each name maybe entered in each 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.) If you have extra blooms, please bring them for the Display Table.
  • All entries should be taken from plants grown without artificial protection except for entries in the ‘Protected’ category, which is for the non-hardy varieties.
  • Exhibitors shall identify each truss.  A bloom whose identity is unknown to the owner cannot be judged; but if you have a beautiful unknown, please bring it for the Display Table so we can all enjoy it!
  • Entries will be accepted from 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM at the Parksville Curling Club, the morning of the show.
  • Entries and ribbons may be removed at 2:00 PM the day of the show, but not before.

Show Categories

  • Red
  • Pink
  • White
  • Blue Collection
  • Yellow Collection
  • Foliage
  • Lax Truss
  • Spray
  • Species Large Leaf
  • Species Small Leaf
  • Hammerhead
  • Protected (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 public.

Species: Botanically identified plants originating from seeds or cuttings
Hybrid: Plants resulting from cross-breeding of more than one species, hybrid or combination thereof
Truss: A single rachis, i.e. all florets coming from one bud
Spray: Multi-stems emerging from a single stem
Hammerhead: Truss with multiple rachides emanating from a single terminal

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.
  • Use suitable containers to retain water during transportation to the show. If you wish, you may use chemical additives to preserve bloom freshness.

The Display Table:
Only trusses that have been correctly identified by species or variety name can be entered in the truss competition for judging, but we love all rhodos!  If you have beautiful unknowns or extra trusses of named varieties, please bring them to the show to brighten up the Display Table.

On Show Day:

1. Register:  Between 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM, 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. Please don’t shout out entry names. 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. At any stage, feel free to ask for help.

4. Position Trusses in their Categories: 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 categories are clearly labelled. All trusses must be in place by 8:30 AM so judging can start on time. Late entries will go to the Display Table. Please bring as many extra trusses as you can for the Display Table.

Comments are closed.