Hundreds of orchids are blooming while the grounds are ablaze in wildflowers.

CANANDAIGUA — Mary Clark Thompson would be proud.

Hundreds of exotic orchids are now blooming at the gardens Mrs. Thompson had built more than 100 years ago at her summer home of Sonnenberg. This weekend, the public is invited to share in the spectacle that annually previews the season opening of Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens State Historic Park.

The three-day Spring Wildflower and Orchid Show, which runs Friday through Sunday, aptly coincides with Earth Day on Saturday.

“The green of spring is catching the eye,” said Kimberly Burkard, Sonnenberg marketing and membership manager. With the green comes an array of colorful wildflowers — and orchids.

In 1902, Mrs. Thompson began redesigning, renovating, and building the gardens surrounding the Sonnenberg mansion as a living memorial to her husband, Frederick Ferris Thompson.

The orchids are key to the story of the gardens that began when Mr. Thompson, a New York City banker, and Mary Clark Thompson, daughter of a New York state governor, were newlyweds in 1863. They bought the 300-acre farmstead and named it Sonnenberg (“Sunny Hill”) to be their summer estate near Canandaigua Lake. By 1887, they replaced the farmhouse with the current Queen Anne style Sonnenberg Mansion.

For nearly two decades after Mr. Thompson died in 1899, Mrs. Thompson created the now famous gardens inspired by her world travels. There were visits to medieval-walled gardens, grand and formal Italian Renaissance gardens, old-fashioned flower and rose gardens, English landscape gardens with sweeping lawns and striking vistas, classic Japanese gardens, and fashionable Victorian rock gardens.

Orchids, however, held a special place in Mrs. Thompson’s world of flowers. She had already cultivated many varieties around the mansion in 1902, when the flowers suffered a major setback during a freak July hailstorm. A few choice orchids survived, though not nearly enough for Mrs. Thompson.

So the following year, she had a vegetable house converted into an orchid house. She then had a traveling party buy more orchids from Mexico, so the story goes. But those orchids were discarded by a railroad porter on the way home.

No worries about a lack of orchids at Sonnenberg now, however.

Beginning Friday, visitors can enjoy the sights and smells of hundreds of orchids carefully tended by volunteers and staff to remain a lasting legacy. For visitors inspired to grow their own orchids, special orchid re-potting services will be offered Friday by Sonnenberg horticultural staff (with a requested donation). On Saturday, educational seminars on orchid care will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., plus another at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Activities all weekend will offer events for the entire family. Wine as well as orchids, orchid supplies, and gift items will be on sale in the Sonnenberg gift shop. There will be a guided wildflower walk in the Rock Garden at 1 p.m. Saturday. Wine tastings from the Finger Lakes Wine Center will be available Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Those interested in volunteering at Sonnenberg can check out an open house from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the Carriage House.

The Orchid Show will run Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. General admission is $10; $5 for ages 4-16; and free for ages 3 and under. A concert by the Rochester Oratorio Society will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Great Hall (separate general admission fee of $10, with tickets at the door or presale via phone or online).

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park is at 151 Charlotte St., Canandaigua. For more details, call 585-394-4922 or visit Sonnenberg’s website at www.sonnenberg.org/orchid.