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Nanaimo orchid show part of society’s 50th-anniversary celebration

Central Vancouver Island Orchid Society show and sale is Feb. 17-19 at Nanaimo North Town Centre
Orchids at last year’s Central Vancouver Island Orchid Society show and sale. This year’s show is Feb. 17-19 at Nanaimo North Town Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)

A flower that has been admired on central Vancouver Island for many decades is being celebrated again in Nanaimo.

The Central Vancouver Island Orchid Society will be holding its annual show and sale this week, and this one is extra special as the society is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Dora Glover is the longest-standing society member, as she helped found the club and remembers attending its first-ever meeting at a Parksville hotel in 1973. Over the years she’s seen the club expand from 10 people meeting at club members’ homes, to the 50-plus members at present.

Glover said she thinks orchids are so popular because there are so many and they’re so different.

“And people like different ones. I like the cattleyas, which are your great big corsage flowers, some of them like those tiny little ones that you have to have a microscope to look at them,” she said. “And in between there’s such a variety.”

There are more than 25,000 individual species, she said, “never mind what they’ve gone and done on the hybridizing.”

Glover always had a green thumb, and went from four or five orchids “blooming beautifully” to eventually having a small business and a tropical 10-by-12-foot greenhouse. In those days she could order orchids from Florida through a catalogue, and she said it was “a nice little sideline” that helped her finance her hobby.

Now a resident of Lakeside Gardens, she has about 30 plants and while she can’t provide them optimal growing conditions, “you do the best you can.” She will be bringing one plant to this week’s show at Nanaimo North Town Centre.

At the show, there will be colourful flowers to look at, growers happy to share their knowledge, potting workshops, and plants for sale for those who want to start or expand their collection.

“One thing I always like to stress is know your conditions before you buy – if it’s a warm grower it won’t do in a cold house, etc.,” Glover said. “I’ve always found, too, that if I buy anything over $20, that’s going to die the first year. So, much like gambling, don’t do more than you can afford to lose.”

Glover said there’s always something new at the show and sale, as there are some very good growers in the area. She recommends coming on the second or third day, once the judging is complete, in order to see which flowers were deemed best in show.

“There’s always something that fascinates you, that catches your eye,” she said.

The show takes place Friday through Sunday, Feb 17-19, during mall hours. For more information about the society, visit

READ ALSO: Central Island orchid show coming into bloom

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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