The Darling Wildflower Society hosts a show every year featuring the Cape Floral Kingdom’s more than 1200 species. This year was their 99th show.
When we arrived on the first morning, the main flower show hall had a huge pile of sand in the centre that required filling with the various different flower species from the rich floral kingdom that still had to be handpicked from the veld. We started off by helping cut wooden boards, to build the wildflower specimen table and adding pictures of the wildflowers to it.
We then helped setting up the “Orchid in Wonderland” section. This was a separate orchid exhibition showcasing a variety of orchids which were also on sale during the 3 days of the show. We spent the majority of our time volunteering at the “Orchid in Wonderland” section. Volunteers painted a giant tea cup and saucer as well as the photo booth, decorating it with hundreds of different kinds of orchids. We also cleaned flower pots, decorated the orchid hall, filled test tubes with water and individual orchid branches in each one. The experience was great with volunteers learning a great deal about our indigenous wildflowers.
We set out early on the second morning to one of the three reserves close by to help with picking flowers for the show. The rich plant life in this area occurs on mainly three different soil types, resulting in three distinct vegetation types: Strandveld, Renosterveld and Sandveld. It took us a few hours to carefully pick the flowers without spoiling them and placing them gently in test tubes filled with water.
All the members of the Wildflower Society worked together to create a magnificent art piece. Some helped picking flowers in the veld, arranging the flowers, bringing soil and decorating the hall for the flower exhibition and some just gave both positive and negative input, all of which was gladly accepted.
By the third day, the empty sand pile in the centre of the hall had been filled with wonderful decorations and a variety of beautiful wildflowers, with many different stands displaying a variety of each of the flowering species found along the West Coast.