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Get your cameras ready: the stars of the floral world are about to come down the red carpet! Orchids take center stage at Longwood Gardens during the International Orchid Show sponsored by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society (SEPOS), March 25-27, 2011.
The show is a highlight of the Orchid Extravaganza that transforms the Conservatory into a tropical paradise from late January through March 27. Dazzling blooms cascade down walls, spill from containers, and adorn flowerbeds in four acres of indoor gardens.
Orchids originate from diverse regions of the world and constitute one of the largest and most sophisticated plant families, with highly specialized floral structures. Longwood's orchids are pampered in greenhouses where lighting, temperature, and humidity is carefully controlled. Specimens come from Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, the Andes, the Himalayas, and islands in the Caribbean and South Pacific.
For most of the year, about 200 to 500 plants at peak bloom show off their colors and scents in the Orchid Room. During the Extravaganza, thousands more make an impression on their admiring public. It’s an amazing array of colors, sizes, shapes, and varieties, including Cattleya, Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, Miltonia, Paphiopedilum, and Oncidium, among others.
Marie Viallet, past president of SEPOS and a seasonal employee at Longwood, provides a sneak preview. “The living curtain of Phalaenopsis will be back,” she says. “New this year will be window boxes of Phalaenopsis on the Fern Floor. On the center walk we will have pyramids of Phalaenopsis. Baskets and pots of Cymbidiums will line the Acacia Passage, and a wall of Oncidiums is featured in the Cascade Hall. Look for Vandas in the Fern Passage. There will also be orchids in the Tropical Terrace and in the East Conservatory.”
The SEPOS show brings together growers, exhibitors, societies, and more than two dozen vendors. Aficionados and novices alike will enjoy the American Orchid Society-judged show, and can take advantage of tours, talks, and a sales pavilion. Check Longwood’s website for specifics as the show date approaches.
The sheer variety of orchids can be intimidating, but even if you can’t tell a Phalaenopsis from a Paphiopedilum, don’t worry. “Come learn, ask questions,” Viallet says. “Our members are happy to share what they know.”
And don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with your favorite flowers. Lucky for you, these headliners love the paparazzi.
Visit the following websites for more information:
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Meet the arborists and gardeners that care for our trees and flowers throughout Spring Blooms, and see demonstrations throughout our Conservatory and outdoor gardens.
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Get ready for an evening of oohs and ahhs, as Longwood presents spectacular Fireworks & Fountains shows guaranteed to make your summer memorable.
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Registration is now open for our 2013 Continuing Education courses!
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