Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Outrageous Orchids! (Flower Show Review)

I visited the Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This was a wonderful respite from the snowy day. As a friend said - this winter White is the new Black. :D  I very much enjoyed seeing all the bright colors of the orchids.  I recall the first time I ever saw an Orchid was at the Joaquin Antonio Uribe Botanic Garden of Medellin, Colombia.  I was 12 years old and the 34 acre botanical garden in the middle of the city was so impressive! More so was the massive collection of orchids in the unique architectural space called the Orchidiarium. All I can say is that it was simultaneously overwhelming, impressive and memorable.  While the exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Garden pales in comparison - it's much easier to get to than Colombia, and well worth the visit!
Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show - 2014

Overall comments about the show - it's for people who like to look at orchids and perhaps not so much for folks who want to know even more about Orchids. Signage provides overview of growing environment and history. There is limited labels of specific orchids varieties.  In a few cases as I tried to find the identification, or tag at the base of the orchid I was reprimanded for touching. So take care. 

The orchids are tucked into nearly every nook and cranny in two of the display houses. They do good job of color-blocking larger arrangements of the same orchid, or in some cases with related color items.  There is a wide variety in color, form, size.  However, some areas are crowded and difficult to pass this almost means that unique orchids are easily overlooked. 

While there was mention of orchids being native to Illinois, I did not notice any particular call out or showing of these native flowers. Check out the links here for those details. Interesting fact - the commercial success in orchids is for vanilla! There is a very large vanilla orchid growing at the Garfield Park Conservatory. With vanilla bean pods on it too! They sometimes sell the vanilla orchid in the gift shop. 

White - Purple Spot Orchid

Yellow Bird Orchid

Shocking Pink Colored Orchid

Orchid Tree Display

Paphiopedilum Orchid

The orchid to the right was one of my favorites. First off it looked like a lady slipper flower - which I remember searching for in the woods as a young child. then there was the interesting markings - stripes and dots. The cots had great definition and height from the petals which ads to the drama.

With orchids placed to tightly into the existing foliage it was at times difficult to appreciate the different forms - other than the flowers. That being back bulbs, aerial roots, monopodial or sympodial structures, etc.  With all the orchids displayed, I did not notice any with forked lobes - however as you can see, there was lots of variation in lip, petal and other elements!!
Nun's Orchid (?)
This orchid to the left was the most beautiful shade of burgundy. It was labeled differently in two different locations - so this might not be the right name. Some, like this one, had such a prominent Antler's Cap and the coloring on the lip make such a striking difference.

Lady Slipper-esk Orchid

Bright Yellow Lady-Slipper-like Orchid

Tiger Crow Oncidium

Pink/Salmon Colored Orchid

The number of orchids as you can tell was a bit overwhelming at the Orchid show. I did not take photos of everything - just in case you were wondering! I think I tried to take a photo of perhaps 30-50% of the flowers. Many I just could not capture the beauty. Some were displayed in an area without sufficient lighting. Plus i only had my smart-phone so if you have skills in that area - I'm sure you will do much better than me.

Very Georgia O'Keefe Orchid
I have not put names with each of the photos - as I mentioned the labeling of the display was not consistent. When I searched the names against my photos and the internet - I did not find consistent matches of the orchids - so I haven't labeled here. In some cases the show went so far as to tell the cross that was made for the display orchid (e.g. Macabre voje x Hsinying MakurowxLuna Moth Titan)

Tiger-like Orchid.

I should just mention here that the Orchid theme is pervasive in the Garden Gift Shop - books, utensils, clothing, artwork. Someone went overboard to search for items with orchids on them and related to orchids!
I enjoyed the bluish and purple orchids greatly! - CBG Show Feb. 2014

The orchid in the middle is a Phaius Kryptonite - very pretty.These three - rust/burgundy colored orchids.

The trip cost for two was approximately $55 including parking, entrance tickets to the show, and a light snack in the temporary cafe.  As the snow accumulated outside, we did not explore the gardens outside the limited conservatory space. We started our day very early in the morning, this worked out well as crowds were appearing as we left.

All in all a very enjoyable outing!

It's left me listening to Blue Orchids by Glenn Miller. A classic tune and perfect for the mood of the show. Plus I did adore the Avec Blue Orchid so greatly!

Teresa Marie

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