Victoria Dahlia Society

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    70th Annual Dahlia Show (2016)

    The 70th Annual Dahlia Show (2016) will be held Saturday September 10 and Sunday September 11 at the Prospect Lake Community Hall, 5358 Sparton Road.  The doors will be open to the public Saturday 1pm to 5pm, and Sunday 11am to 3pm.  Admission is free.

    2016 show poster web

    Show Catalogue 2016

    For exhibitors, clerks, and judges: all the details regarding the upcoming Show may be found in the Show Catalogue 2016.  Copies of this catalogue and show tags for exhibits will be available at the venue Friday evening when staging begins.

    In Memoriam: Bill Kempster

    On March 1, 2016 Bill Kempster passed away at Ayre Manor at the age of 98.  While is death was not remarkable, his contributions to the South Vancouver Island gardening community were.

    Bill immigrated to Victoria shortly after WWII, bringing with him a love of outdoor activity – hunting, fishing, exploring, and gardening – and an unstoppable drive to be busy and productive.  He pursued all of these hobbies for decades, but was through is passion for growing plants that most people came to know him.

    Long-time dahlia growers all over the Island knew Bill well.  In the early 1950s, he began hybridizing and exhibiting dahlias through the Pacific Northwest and, in the late 1960s, was instrumental in convincing the Victoria Gladiolus and Dahlia Society to join the Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference.  To this day the (renamed) Victoria Dahlia Society remains an active member of the PNDConference, which oversees the training and certification of judges and the classification of blooms that present differently (e.g. in form, size, or colour) in our climate.   Some years later, Bill installed a dahlia garden at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific.  That garden subsequently became the Victoria Dahlia Trial Garden, a sanctioned seedling garden of the American Dahlia Society.

    Envisioning a local world-class botanical garden and site for hands-on horticultural training, Bill co-founded the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific in 1979, now home to numerous gardens as well as the accredited Pacific Horticulture College.  The Kempster Building acknowledges his enormous contributions as board member and president, labourer and builder, student educator, and volunteer mentor.

    Bill’s lengthy involvement with the Saanich Fall Fair is equally estimable.  He served as board member and president; he judged fruit, vegetable and/or flower entries; and he put in untold hours as a general labourer and go-getter.  He also played a major role in the fair’s 1992 move to its current site on Stelly’s Cross Road.

    The Peninsula Garden Club, the Sooke Garden Club, and the Sooke Fall Fair were also long-term beneficiaries of Bill’s desire to encourage local gardeners and gardening.  He enthusiastically imparted encyclopedic knowledge of and techniques for growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  He loved demonstrating “how easy it is” to prune a fruit tree or propagate a shrub.  Gardening, he insisted, isn’t hard or complicated, it’s trial and error, and it’s fun.

    For 60+ years, Bill found pleasure in gardening.  He became a recognized gladiolus hybridizer, a sought-after judge for flower exhibitions and fall fairs, a frequent presented at garden club meetings, and a teacher/mentor for show judges in training.  He even hosted a local Sunday morning radio call-in show about gardening.

    Following the 2006 death of Bea, his wife of 62 years, Bill continued living proudly and independently on his own until last summer.  His friends are richer for his good humour, generosity, and abiding friendship.  The South Island is richer for his legacy of gardening know-how, his remarkable achievements, and his outstanding volunteerism.  Thank you, Bill, for everything.

    2016 Tuber Sale April 9

    2016 tuber sale poster Final web

    Our 2016 Plant and Tuber Sale will be held on one day only:

    Saturday, April 9, 2016– VDS Plant & Tuber Sale

    9:30am to 2pm at Knox Presbyterian Church, 2964 Richmond Rd, Victoria

    If you would like notices of future Sales and Shows, please email to subscribe to our public email list.

    2016 Tuber Sale

    2015 Annual Show

    2015 show poster small


    All the details regarding the 69th Annual Victoria Dahlia Society Show can be located here




    2015 Annual Tuber & Plant Sale

    2015 tuber stale poster final (web)


    2014 List of Show Winners

    A big thank you to everyone who entered our show!!!

    Here is the list of winners – congratulations on a growing job well done!!

    2014 Victoria Dahlia Society Show – Winners List

    VDS 68th Annual Show and Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference 2014 Annual Show

    Novice growers encouraged to submit their blooms! Entry is free to all (you don’t need to be a member!) Please come by to see some of our best growing efforts with these spectacular flowers!!

    VDS Show Poster 2014

    Victoria Dahlia Society Show Catalogue is here!!!

    It’s mid-June and my dahlias are growing well, soon it will be time to start disbranching and disbudding! It won’t be long before the blooms are ready and it will be time to bring them into the VDS Annual Show, taking place on August 16th and 17th at Westshore Town Centre.

    If you want to be ready to enter your blooms (entry is free and open to anyone interested) please have a look through our catalogue! And do come to one of our meetings to learn more about how to present dahlia blooms for the show!

    2014 Show Catalogue

    VDS Annual Plant and Tuber Sale – April 2014

    Spring is coming soon, and while it rains and is windy, now is a good time to be inside and plan your garden for the upcoming year. Fill it with beautiful dahlias!!

    Our 2014 Plant and Tuber Sale will be held in two locations:

    Saturday, April 12, 2014– VDS Plant & Tuber Sale (Day 1)

    10:00am to 4:00pm at Knox Presbyterian Church, 2964 Richmond Rd, Victoria map

    Sunday, April 13, 2014 – VDS Plant & Tuber Sale (Day 2)

    11:00am – 4pm (or until sold out) at the Westshore Town Centre in Langford map

    VDS Tuber Sale poster -Spartacus-2014-page0001


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