Friday, September 22, 2017

The 100th Darling Wild Flower Show

In our spring, the Cape is a showcase of wild flowers. To see the best, you have to go up the West Coast and this year we were invited to one of the oldest flower festivals, Darling which was celebrating its 100th year. It was held at the Darling Golf Club
We had been invited for the media day on Thursday and could not make it as we were at the Amorim MCC Challenge Awards, but we did drive up on Friday. Sadly, it was a rather grey day and when the sun hides itself, so do the daisies which grow everywhere
This is a very refreshing country festival, people are friendly and helpful, they have not modernised too radically, there is no blaring music and the stalls actually have things you want to buy. We loved it.
Food is interspersed with things for sale and there was a variety of food trucks
There is quite a lot of art for sale
We went to visit the Ormonde stand first in the wine tent, where we found Berinda Basson, Ormonde owner Theo’s wife, organising things
 She gave us a taste of Ormonde's Ondine Grenache and one of those lovely chocolate and strawberry cupcakes which are made with the Grenache
and then she took us to the flower show in the Hall. Hanging decorations of wild freesias
The flowers are all picked the day before and put into small water phials which are buried in the ground to look natural . Even the reeds have last year's weaver bird nests on them
A beautifully maintained veteran Triumph motorbike in a field of Arum lilies and fynbos. a 100 year old bike at a show celebrating its centenary
The flowers are so delicate and beautiful. Many have been hybridised and commercialised by the bulb and other flower industry, and are sold as bulbs or corms for you to plant in your own gardens, worldwide. Like Freesias, Ixias, gladiolas, gerberas, ericas and heath, they all originate from this area
Some guinea fowl in their natural habitat amongst the flax, heath and the wild rosemary (kapokbos)
Even some rare orchids
which only the experts know how to find. They are protected, as are all of our wild flowers
You can view individual specimens, which are replaced as they need to be
The modern world has reached the festival. Scan with your phone for information
Duckitt’s orchid farm is just outside Darling- this was their display
Time for lunch. The golf club was doing a braai and we really fancied some chops and boerewors but, sadly, we could not buy them with the vouchers which the show’s organisers had been kind enough to give us
So John went to find a German stand and had a lovely Bratwurst roll. Lynne had some ribs from a food truck and Loraine had some chips
You could lose yourself in the many alleys of stands
The weather was getting chillier and rain was threatening, so we found a table in the wine tent
and went to have a taste of Groote Post wines with Wimpie Borman
wonderful wood carvings
Bags and cushions and a German sausage stand
What a wonderful display of proteas and all for sale
So many different varieties
These very tall gum trees, which must be at least a century old, were planted along the roads to give the ox wagons some shade as they travelled along in the summer. The gums were imported from Australia; the Cape does not have many tall indigenous trees
We left the show and went to visit Duckitt’s Orchid farm just outside Darling, which is open to the public only on the first Saturday of the month from May to November, from 9 to 12 and always at festival time. The last open house will be on November 4th this year. It is a wonderful sight. We saw mostly cymbidium orchids but they do have other species as well. Delicate white and pink?
Or Yellow with red in the centre
Or a stem of bright pink with white centres
Purple
They are grown en masse in huge shade houses
So many different colours and variations
Lovely for a wedding
Wow!
They make such great decorations
So delicate
Even green with purple and white centres

We bought a huge orange orchid with two stems and one spray of these delicate white orchids to put in a vase. We will definitely be back next year
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