Behind the scenes at the

 2012 Glide Wildflower Show


On the Wednesday before the show, collectors pour into the building toting their treasures.  Ice chest after ice chest is emptied.  Yogurt cups, drink cups, punch glasses are everywhere, each containing a plastic baggie filled with floral preservative and a beautiful botanical specimen. 

Thursday is the day of  transformation.  A small, dedicated group of volunteers take each individual plant and lovingly place it in the perfect vase.  These ladies are called the vasers.  We are talking about behind-the-scene miracle workers. 

But before the vasers can do their magic, another group of diehard workers has to do theirs.  The botanists!  These experts painstakingly examine each specimen to make absolutely certain it is properly identified.  The show is the place where people come to learn the facts about  native wildflowers.  The Glide Wildflower Council takes seriously its responsibility to provide completely accurate information. 

     The collectors are finished      not exactly beautiful
The plants have been identified by the collectors.   They now wait for the botanists to scrutinize them and the vasers to glamorize them.
Vasing takes place in the kitchen. 
Here is what it looks like before the process gets started. 
The floor and counters are protected with a special plastic film.
searching for the perfect vase
This job requires a very artistic eye.
A volunteer studies the vase collection, looking for the perfect vase.

   vasing   vasing

Vasers attempt to display the plants in a way that replicates the way they grow in nature. 
That can be quite a challenge.  Some plants are huge, others tiny, some sprawl, others reach for the sky.

tools of the trade   plastic cups, cups, cups . . .

As with any type of floral work, the tools of the trade must be close at hand.  Utility knives and pruners are helpful tools.  Once the plants have been moved into the vases, the volunteers end up with a LOT of plastic cups to save for next year.  Containers are just one of the many things stored in the new Wildflower Show building.


Plants are now coming and going.  Vasers continually bring to the kitchen more plants to be vased.  And once in a vase, they are returned to their show location.

     Keeping the plants happy


Volunteers walk around the tables all day long spritzing the plants with water.   Others double check that the plants are placed on the right table

botanist  botanist

The botanists give some plants the once-over.  One side of the room has been converted into a science lab.


   reference manuals   

There are lots and lots of serious botanical reference books in addition to the high powered microscopes.


crockpot army

The volunteers spend the entire day working.  And just like any other army, you have to keep the soldiers fed!
There's crockpot after crockpot filled with steaming delicacies.  And of course a few deserts thrown in for good measure.

     confirming plant identification       The lady in charge

Double check, then triple check plant identifications, then rearrange plants on the tables to group related plants.


The clock is ticking.  Only 43 more hours till the doors open to the public.