ST. LOUIS – A burst of tropical color is punching through the winter doldrums, at the annual orchid show at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The show, which opened Saturday, offers hundreds of orchids from the Garden’s collection, one of the world’s largest and oldest, as well as specimens from other enthusiasts. The show runs through March 22 at the Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd.
This year’s theme is “Mayan-inspired,” with an artistic twist. Moss-covered mannequins wear lavish botanical headdresses, each created by members of the American Institute of Floral Designers.
Erin Vasconcelles, of the Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis, is a co-chair of the 2020 orchid show. She said that this year’s show was even better than last year’s. Five clubs are represented from the Mid-America Orchid Society district: Greater St. Louis; Springfield, Mo.; Central Missouri; Kansas City. Mo.; and Memphis, Tenn.
Vasconcelles noted that bringing specimens to the show for judging could be risky. They bloom only once a year, and if they are damaged during the trip here or the show setup, that ends any hope of their being displayed at this or other shows this year. The plants themselves are hardy, but the flowering spikes are delicate, and the flowers can easily be destroyed, she explained.
Doug Mallory, from the Memphis group, was delighted to make it to the Garden this year with his orchids. He was happy to explain the needs of various types of orchids to passers-by.
Visitors appreciated the chance to chat with the experts as well as admire the striking flowers.
One young couple from Wildwood said they were there because they had enjoyed it so much in previous years and found the orchid society folks to be “friendly and down to earth.”
And an older couple who had been coming for decades said that although they didn’t belong to the orchid society, they “simply enjoyed the camaraderie of the orchid people so much,” in addition to the beautiful flowers.
Orchid Show admission is $5 per person (ages 3 and older), in addition to general Garden admission ($14 for adults; $6 for St. Louis City and County residents with free admission Wednesdays and Saturdays until noon; free for children ages 12 and younger). Admission to the Garden and the show are free for Garden members.
The Garden will also hold two Orchid Nights, which include wine and spirit tastings, on Feb. 13 and March 5.
MetroSTL.com is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.