Orchids on Display

The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis hosts the 92nd annual Orchid Show through March 28.

| February 26, 2010

Be whisked away on a sophisticated French escape this winter with a visit to the 92nd annual Orchid Show at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

Visitors will experience a butterfly’s view of paradise: a lush garden of curvilinear design, filled with hundreds of fresh-blooming orchids from the garden’s historic collection. The 2010 Orchid Show is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through March 28. Show admission is $5, in addition to regular garden admission ($8 adults, $4 St. Louis City and County residents, free children ages 12 and under). Garden members are free.

The garden maintains one of the nation’s largest orchid collections, with more than 8,100 individual orchid plants in hundreds of varieties. The Orchid Show is the only time of year when a sizeable selection of plants from the collection is brought out en masse for public view. Shades of warm yellows, energetic oranges, pleasing plums and rosy reds mingle with passionate plums and winter whites reflected in the Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, Oncidiums and other orchids displayed from head to toe in a garden of greenery.

Enter the “Butterfly’s Garden” through the Piper Lobby, which morphs into the faux Monarch Café for the show. Stroll through this tiny French lobby to discover the 5,000-square-foot Orthwein Floral Display Hall, completely transformed into a French-inspired streetscape and temporary “garden within a garden.”

Saunter beneath streetlamps along the curvy rue du jardin. Meander past the storefront of a quaint flower shop and alongside a rising image of Paris’s monumental Eiffel Tower. Aloft throughout the garden, find dozens of over-sized model butterflies covered with botanical surface treatments. Decorative fleurs de lis finials and ornamental obelisks accent the sophisticated scene, which showcases 700 to 800 individual blooming orchids at any one time.

“We took our inspirational cues for this year’s Orchid Show from nature,” says Pat Scace, floral display designer. “This display swings away from the straight lines of last year’s more formal pattern, mimicking the curving lines of nature’s design in the scales and wings of a monarch butterfly.”

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