Poul Hansen checks out one of his orchids in his Prospect Lake greenhouse

Poul Hansen checks out one of his orchids in his Prospect Lake greenhouse

Exquisite orchids on display at weekend show

Saanich church hosts annual spring and show for the Victoria Orchid Society

Step inside Poul Hansen’s Saanich greenhouse and you’ll be surrounded by some of the most beautiful orchids you’ve ever seen.

Hansen, an American Orchid Society judge, has been breeding orchids since the early 1970s and talks about it as a labour of love.

“When the plants come out, not everyone’s a winner. The ones I grow take about four years for breeding – some orchids take up to 10 years to see the flowers,” he says. “The first one I ever made, it took six years to see it flower and it was ugly. I threw it in the garbage.”

These days Hansen is much more adept at his work, which involves controlling pollination between exquisite plants.

“We’re trying to make poodles out of everything,” he says.

This weekend the Victoria Orchid Society hosts its annual spring show and sale at Our Lady of Fatima Hall.

Other B.C. orchid societies, along with individual growers, will put their plants on display to be admired and judged.

Hansen says there will be both informal and formal judging taking place throughout the weekend. The latter will involve judges from the American Orchid Society looking to see if there are any exquisite hybrids that may be worth adding to the International Orchid Register.

“There will be some really beautiful stuff, some really incredible stuff on display. If people have questions, we’ll take them around and show them the orchids. They can partake in ribbon judging,” Hansen says.

There will also be talks throughout the weekend on how to grow orchids.

“There’s something for everyone. People will find it fascinating. We don’t want people to be afraid to ask questions – there’s always somebody there to help,” Hansen says.

The event runs March 7 and 8 at 4635 Elk Lake Rd. Doors are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Parking is free.

Entrance at the door is $7 for adults and $6 for seniors or students.

For more information, see victoriaorchidsociety.com.