Petals and perfume will fill the room at the George Preston Recreation Centre this weekend as the Fraser Valley Orchid Society prepares to host its 2014 Orchid Show and Sale.
The annual event is a celebration of the beautiful blossoms which grow wild all across the globe and have intrigued people since the days of Charles Darwin.
In fact, during the Victorian era in which Darwin sailed, orchid hunters were sent out to bring the exotic flowers back to the U.K., though few people had any idea how to care for them properly, explained Louise Charlton, a nine-year member of the FVOS.
With orchids available for sale in so many places, but often coming without proper instructions about how to keep them alive and thriving, the society regularly offers talks about how to grow and care for the flowers.
But this weekend it will be a gathering of experts, who will compete in a judged contest to determine who has the magic touch.
In addition to to exhibitors from across the Valley, orchid growers will come from both the Vancouver Island and the Vancouver clubs to participate, as Fraser Valley members do at their respective shows.
“It’s pretty serious stuff,” said Charlton.
“To walk into that room where there are so many orchids in bloom, if you’ve only seen them at Home Depot, it’s absolutely overwhelming.”
More than 20,000 species exist worldwide, including some that grow wild in Canada. Many of them are endangered due to over-harvesting of the plants and to 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.
They also talk about the wide variety of orchids that exist, and how each has evolved to suit its respective pollinator — from tiny ants to giant moths — a fact which would no doubt have thrilled Darwin himself.
This year, the show will also serve another purpose — as a fundraiser for the Langley Hospice Society.
The FVOS show and sale will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 seniors and students. Children under 12, admitted free.
A coupon for $1 off the price of admission can be found on their website at fraservalleyorchidsociety.com.