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  HISTORY OF THE GLIDE WILDFLOWER SHOW  

 

Beginning as a simple exhibit attracting a handful of visitors, the Glide Wildflower Show has grown to become the largest showcase of wildflowers in the Pacific Northwest. Over 600 displayed species attract thousands of flower-lovers during the annual two-day event on the last full weekend in April.

The seeds for the show were sown when a fund-raiser was needed to maintain the Glide Community Center. Reggie Miller had always wanted to do a wildflower show. In three days she collected 71 specimens around her Buckhorn Road home, arranged them in vases, and labeled them with botanical and common names. Thirty-five people attended that first show in 1965.

The next year, Reggie and several volunteers repeated the show on the last weekend in April. Only 25 people viewed their 91 specimens. However, in 1967 the Portland Journal wrote glowing reports of the Glide Wildflower Show. The improved publicity brought 400 guests from Oregon, Washington, Alaska, California, and Arizona to enjoy the 191 species displayed.

In 1968, volunteers enlarged their collecting range to include the Siskiyou Mountains and Curry, Coos, Jackson, and Josephine counties. They gathered 245 species from different elevations and microclimates. Special exhibits included native trees, lichens, mosses, edible plants, and a fern grotto. A Sunset Magazine article drew 1300 visitors from as far away as London and Amsterdam.

The show grew and blossomed. After the first couple of years, botanists volunteered as well as local residents. The list of exhibited specimens evolved into the Glide Wildflower Show’s Flora Book. The attendance in 1972 broke all records, with 4500 visitors. Every year, the homemade pies sold by the Glide Community Club continued a beloved, delicious tradition.

But in 1994, the Glide Wildflower Show Council, down to just two active members, decided not to present the show. The next autumn, biologist Abbey Rosso heard about the legacy of the show from her neighbor, friend, and longtime Council member, Jeanne Moore. An avid naturalist and outdoor enthusiast, Abbey was inspired to revive the wildflower tradition. In April of 1995, the show flowered again, with the able help of more than 100 seasoned volunteers.

Now, over 200 volunteers present the show every year. Council members, collectors and botanists; sorters and labelers; vasers and misters; greeters, guest speakers, and hike leaders; book sellers and food servers; traffic directors and Student Day helpers; set-up and take-down crews – all join a community-wide effort to bring the beauty and joy of wildflowers to the public.

In 2015, the Glide Wildflower Show celebrates 50 years, continuing to nurture a half-century legacy of caring, preserving and educating. Reggie Miller once said: "Wildflowers are often abundant, but they are not indestructible; many of our loveliest ones are in danger of extinction by our carelessness. By knowing our wildflowers, we can better preserve them for ourselves and for the future."


In 2013, the show lost someone special:
      
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Revised March, 2014
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