History of the Darling Wildflower Show

The Darling Wildflower Society’s focus is conserving the area’s biodiversity and the annual wildflower show is it’s public face. It is on record that Mrs. (Ds) Albertyn held a flower show in the old C.J.V. Hall in 1905. It also seems that Ds Luckhoff had an exhibit of Chincherinchees in Cape Town during World War 1. Chincherinchees were sold to the public by ladies from Darling in fancy-dress costume. But it was the much-loved Mrs. Suzanne Malan who put the Flower Show on the road to fame and to becoming as well known as it is today. The first show in 1917 was a flower arranging competition where prizes were given in the various classes and garden flowers were also exhibited.

The impact of the massed arrangements on the stage always created “oohs” and “ahs” amongst the many visitors. Competition was a cause of concern to Mrs. Malan and she endeavored to get the whole community to work together to stage the show as she felt it should be done. By doing this, the show acquired a totally different atmosphere. The show has progressed from a hall full of bowls of flowers to natural exhibits – vleis and waterfalls – even to full scale landscaping.

Generations of families have been involved and the landscaped wildflower exhibition that draws thousands of visitors each year. The exhibition is built solely by volunteers who work tirelessly and although it takes months to prepare, every wildflower in the exhibition is meticulously collected, transported and placed in position only two days prior to the show.