Our History

The Alberta Dahlia and Glad Society was incorporated on November 8, 2009. There were 19 inaugural members.

It takes an idea to become your dream which turns into reality after lengthy hours of discussion, many more hours of work and networking, and a committed group of individuals to MAKE IT HAPPEN. Such is the story of the Alberta Dahlia and Glad Society.

It was at the turn of the century that Lorne McArthur and Wayne Roberts began discussing the possibility of starting a dahlia society in Alberta. Both men had been growing and showing dahlias throughout the late 1980’s and 90’s and had won numerous prizes in Alberta & the North Western States with their beautiful blooms. It was through these shows that the initial contacts were made with Ernie Henderson, a local grower, and Bill McLaren – grower, senior judge and author of ‘The Encyclopedia of Dahlias’. Lorne and Wayne had met Reg Powys-Lybbe, a gladiolus grower and exhibitor from Southern Alberta, and talks moved towards reality.

Wayne began with educational talks to twenty flower clubs around Central Alberta (Sundre, Olds, Lacombe, Innisfail, Drumheller, etc.). With these educational seminars, Wayne gave free tubers and plants to the participants. “We must stimulate interest in this flower in order to see more people growing these beautiful blooms.”

Lorne became the promotions expert before he became the first vice-president of the ADGS. He too gave free tubers and started tens of thousands of plants for friends and contacts to grow. He became the arm twister with the connections it took to spin the web of growers from south of Calgary to north of Edmonton. Lorne had been showing blooms of dahlias and gladiolus for 50 years; in fact, he was in competitions with the late Richard (Dick) Powys-Lybbe in the 1960’s! To this day, he still maintains a ‘MUST SHOW’ attitude!

Lorne, Wayne, Reg, Bill & Ernie, the Dahlia and Gladiolus Gurus, have a cumulative total of 260 years of growing and showing experience. It was a NATURAL FIT for both flowers to be part of the dream.

With the tremendous support of Bill McLaren, the dream was stretching towards reality. Lorne, Wayne and Reg’s networks grew to: interest in judging and ‘promoting the culture and development’ of dahlias and gladiolus.

Planning for this new society revved into full motion in 2008 and a small group of individuals plunged into forming an official society in 2009. Nineteen dahlia and gladiolus growers signed the first declaration on November 8, 2009.

The idea, that became a dream, turned into a REALITY! Lorne & Wayne’s DREAM to have people growing dahlias and gladiolus from the British Columbia to Saskatchewan borders and from the Northwest Territory to the 49th parallel came true. They wanted to re-energize, re-connect and re-new the excitement & passion for growing these two stunning and beautiful flowers. Their VISION will allow our membership to share in the joys and the passion of growing unique flowers. Their HOPE is that more individuals will begin to hybridize new varieties that may be shared with others.

Bill McLaren became the first honorary member of the Alberta Dahlia and Glad Society. Without his passion and support, the dream would not have become a reality. Ernie Henderson, at 106 years of age and still growing and showing dahlias and gladiolus, is also an honorary member of the newly incorporated Alberta Dahlia and Glad Society. (2011)