Go Get A Flower Fix

Orchids on Display Across the Midwest

By Michael Leach

Had enough Midwest winter with its brown, black, gray and glum? Beginning to think your garden is dead, not merely dormant? Are glittering icicles over head a bit too disconcerting and sparkling snow drifts too annoying?

Then head for the tropics if schedule and budget allow — or a reasonable facsimile should you, like me, be lacking in the time and money departments. Instead of Florida or someplace even closer to the Equator, I  took a short drive to a warm, lush place —  Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus.

It was a double treat. Not only were the waterfalls cascading and giant palm fronds overhanging the paths as usual, but the annual orchid show had recently opened. There are scores of exotic blossoms throughout this gift from foresighted civic leaders, which has been expanded and lovingly tended since its debut in 1895.

Other Midwest metro areas boast of Victorian and newer conservatories. However, a tropical experience on a more intimate scale is possible in towns where some garden centers have greenhouses filled with light, warmth and life. Think of this as green therapy.

Among the Midwest public gardens featuring orchid shows during the seemingly endless wait until spring are:

Garden Happenings: Orchid Show in St. Louis

By Teresa Woodard

Escape to a rainforest filled with hundreds of orchids –right here in the Midwest, not Panama or Colombia. The Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis will open its annual Orchid Show on January 28.

Step into a renowned collection of some 800 blooming orchids, including Cattleya, Laelia, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum and other varieties. This year, the 5,000-square-foot Orthwein Hall will be transformed into an architecturally-inspired Chinese strolling garden with the 30 oversized, tasseled silk lanterns suspended overhead. Don’t miss the tour’s podcast in which you’ll learn tidbits like the orchid collection was once housed outside the city because of pollution and the conservatory once made $50,000 a year selling cut orchids to the floral trade.

Other Events:
Jan. 1-8 Pineapples & Pincushions – The Art & Science of Patterns in Nature at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, University of Michigan
Jan. 14 Treeswhispers Exhibition opens at Chicago Botanical Garden.
Jan. 14 Garden Dreams: A Saturday with the Portage County Master Gardener Volunteers
Amherst, WI
Jan. 18-20 Mid-Am Horticultural Trade Show, Chicago, Il
Jan. 22-25 OSU Nursery Short Course and P.L.A.N.T. Seminar, Columbus, OH
Feb. 4  Sustainability Symposium: Eat Your Yard, Cleveland Botanical Garden

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