Examples of orchids shown at previous Fraser Valley Orchid Society shows in Langley. The society is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. File photos

Fraser Valley Orchid Society celebrates 40 years of fascination with flowers

Annual plant show and sale planned for October

For centuries, people have been fascinated with the perennial herbs known as orchids, some to the point of obsession.

An article on the Smithsonian.com website called it “orchidelirium”and described how possessing an orchid was considered a sign of extreme wealth in the 1800s.

Collectors would hire orchid hunters to search the wild for new varieties which, as a result, were only accessible to the well-off.

Dianne Gillis developed her less-extreme but still considerable affection for the flowers nearly two decades ago when she was working for Brookside Orchids in Langley.

“I just fell in love with orchids,” Gillis said.

“It became a real passion.”

After her first two orchids died, Gillis visited the annual Fraser Valley Orchid Society (FVOS) show and sale held at George Preston Recreation Centre in Langley, where there was help and advice aplenty.

That was where the novice grower discovered the flowers came from places where it was dry for long stretches, followed by outbursts of rain.

She had been watering her orchids too regularly.

“They thrive better with (carefully managed) neglect,” she said.

At the height of her fascination, Gillis had about 100 varieties growing indoors in her townhouse.

“It seem to take a hold of you,” she said.

Gillis, now a long-time FVOS member, said part of the appeal is the fact orchids can be cultivated indoors, without requiring a greenhouse.

Among the many society members, she estimates perhaps three have greenhouses — all small structures.

Over the years, she has scaled back, reducing the number and size of the orchids in her townhouse.

“I’ve down-sized to 70,” she said.

“I’m growing miniatures.”

This year, the society will celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Members have decided the milestone will be the theme of this years annual two-day sale at George Preston, but the details are still being worked out, Gillis said.

“It’s a work in progress.”

​ The first FVOS meeting was in September 1978 at the Tynehead Community Hall, organized by Rudy Harfman.

The society website describes how people would drive in from as far away as Chilliwack to talk with other orchid aficionados and how, for some, a hobby could become a business as some fans became professional growers.

The FVOS was awarded a certificate of affiliation in 1980 from the American Orchid Society (AOS), the largest special interest horticultural organization in the world, which among other things, trains and credentials judges for orchid shows.

READ MORE: Orchid show and sale benefits hospice programs for youth

READ MORE: B.C. Orchid fanciers gather in Langley

The October 2018 FVOS show and sale is set for Saturday, Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday Oct, 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the ​ George Preston Recreation Centre located at 20699 42 Ave.

General admission is $7 or $10 for a two-day pass.

Seniors and students pay $6 or $9 for a pass, and children under 12 get in free.

Local vendors and orchid growers present will include Forestview Gardens, Tropical Gardens Orchids and Paramount Orchids.

There will also be an FVOS members’ plant sales table and the Orchid Species Preservation Foundation (OSPF) will be on hand.

More than 20,000 species of orchids exist worldwide, including some that grow wild in Canada.

Many are endangered due to over-harvesting or deforestation that has destroyed the trees on which they depend for survival.

Part of the 40-member, Langley-based society’s mandate is to educate people about how to recognize the flowers in the wild, as well as about the threats to their natural environment.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Championship action kicks off tonight at Langley Events Centre

Giants prepare to do battle in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Friday on home ice

PHOTOS: Langley RCMP volunteers ‘represent the best of our community’

Dozens were honoured Thursday night during the 27th annual Langley RCMP’s volunteer dinner

Langley MP describes most recent diagnosis as a ‘miracle’

Tory Member of Parliament Mark Warawa doesn’t have pancreatic cancer, but operable colon cancer

Aldergrove Easter event line-up for families staying local

Easter egg hunts in apple orchards, bouncy castles, facepainting, bunny-petting and more.

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Rats available for adoption in Vancouver

In a social media post the City of Vancouver says you can adopt a rat for $5.

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Crews battle Burnaby blaze; 2 people sent to hospital

Emergency Support Services helping residents displaced by fire

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Most Read