108# - Where can I learn how to grow orchids?Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2010 add
The Garden offers a number of sources for plant care advice. You can call us on weekday mornings at (314) 577-5143. For fact sheets prepared by the Kemper Center for Home Gardening, go online to www.gardeninghelp.org. Stop by the Kemper Center to use reference materials or ask for guide sheets on growing and caring for orchids. You can also bring a sick plant to our walk-in Plant Doctor for identification and diagnosis services. The Kemper Center also offers classes for both novice and experienced orchid growers.
Our gift shop sells plants, orchid care products and lots of gardening books and accessories. Plant society shows and sales at the Garden offer another opportunity to buy orchids, ask questions, and get advice from knowledgeable members.
107# - Where would I find orchids in the wild?Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2010 add
Orchids are the largest family of flowering plants in the world, with some 30 to 35,000 species. That’s nearly 10 percent of all flowering plants! They grow on every continent except Antarctica. About 200 orchid species grow in North America. Thousands more grow in tropical countries. More than 3,500 species are found in Ecuador and more than 1,300 in Costa Rica.
Some orchid plants are less than an inch tall with flowers the size of a pinhead. Others grow up to 40 feet tall, with flowers almost a foot wide.
Many types of orchids grow on the ground and absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil through their roots. Others grow on tree trunks or branches for support. They have adapted to grow where water and nutrients are limited. A spongy covering on their roots helps them soak up moisture. Some orchids have roots that grow upwards, forming a basket to catch leaves and other debris that fall from the treetops for nutrients.
106# - Does climate change threaten orchids?Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2010 add
Orchids are often endangered with extinction in nature. Wild populations are often over collected by humans. Many species are highly adapted to a specific habitat, soil, or pollinator, making them very vulnerable to climate change.
All orchids at the Missouri Botanical Garden have been carefully and legally acquired in accordance with CITES (sigh-tease), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Garden researchers work throughout the world to preserve the ecosystems orchids depend upon.
Help the Garden protect these rare treasures with your donation to the Henry Shaw Fund. Stop by the Membership Services Desk today, or visit www.mobot.org.
105# - How large is the orchid collection today?Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2010 add
The Garden’s orchid collection is one of the largest and finest in the country. We grow more than 8,100 orchid plants behind the scenes, in our greenhouses. They make up our largest living collection, representing over 2,500 unique species, varieties and hybrids.
The Garden grows many rare and unusual specimens. Some are over 100 years old. Our collection emphasizes the kinds of orchids that can survive St. Louis’s hot summers. For this display, our Horticulture staff shows you as many different varieties as they can, from florists’ corsage orchids to exotic new hybrids and historic rarities.
104# - Has Garden’s orchid collection been displayed other places?Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2010 add
The Garden’s orchid collection has a historic connection with one of St. Louis’s longest standing traditions. The Veiled Prophet Parade is one of the country’s oldest parades. The first one was held in 1878, sponsored by a group of civic leaders who wanted to promote St. Louis commerce. It was modeled on New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebration. Today, the annual Veiled Prophet Parade in July continues to draw crowds by the thousands. The Garden supplies fresh orchids for the mysterious Veiled Prophet’s float. It is the only community event for which the Garden provides cut orchids.
The Garden first provided freshly cut orchids in 1926 for a massive bouquet carried by the Veiled Prophet’s “Queen of Love and Beauty.” For many years, on the day after the coronation ball, this bouquet was displayed at the Garden. In 1947, approximately 5,000 curious visitors came in one day to see the Queen’s bouquet on display in the greenhouse! The Veiled Prophet Queen’s bouquet measures up to 3 feet long and 2 feet across, and contains hundreds of blossoms. All of the orchids are selected two days before the ball, to ensure the finest flowers are used.
103# - Has the orchid collection ever been threatened?Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2010 add
The Missouri Botanical Garden has a long and proud history, but our orchids didn’t always grow here. Back in 1926, the collection was threatened by dirty city air from coal smoke and industrial pollution. So, the Garden moved them 30 miles west, to Gray Summit, Missouri, at what is now the Shaw Nature Reserve. Greenhouses were built there especially for this purpose. The next year, in 1927, an orchid seedling department was started.
From the late 1920’s until 1958, the Garden sold cut orchid flowers to local florists. This business grossed over $700,000, and made up to $50,000 at one time. The sale of orchids covered all costs associated with the collection, as well as the operation of what was then known as the Shaw Arboretum.
Through propagation, gifts and collecting, the orchid collection grew in size and prominence. In 1954, St. Louis hosted the first World Orchid Congress. By 1958, the city’s air quality had improved, and the orchid collection returned to its original home here at the Garden, where it has remained ever since.
102# - How is this orchid display created?Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2010 add
The orchid display starts as a concept as is designed by our Floral Display team more than a year before its installation. This team designed and builds new props specific to each show. The display is then installed by our Horticulture staff and volunteers.
Each orchid plant here is part of our permanent collection. The variety of orchids you see in this display changes over eight weeks. We start with about 800 plants and switch out approximately 50 to 100 plants each week, replacing them with fresh blooms from the greenhouse.
Our display is meant to look as natural as possible, with epiphytic orchids growing in trees and terrestrial orchids growing along the ground. Our temporary landscape is surrounded by bark with a surface treatment of moss to give you a feeling of being in the tropics.
When the show ends, everything is dismantled and the plants are returned to the production greenhouses until next year.You can check out photos of the installation and see how it all comes together on the Garden’s Web site, www.mobot.org.
101# - How did the Garden’s orchid collection start?Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2010 add
The creation of the world-class orchid collection at the Missouri Botanical Garden did not occur overnight. It is the culmination of many research trips to the tropics and donations both local and from afar. In 1876, Mrs. Henry T. Blow presented Garden founder, Henry Shaw, with a sampling of orchids collected by her husband while serving as minister to Brazil under President Grant. In 1918, Dr. D.S. Brown, a noted local orchidologist, donated his well-known collection to the Garden as well.
Abroad, the Garden began its first forays into the tropical regions of Central and South America. In 1923, horticulturist George Pring spent six months collecting plants in Panama and Columbia and returned with forty burro-loads – or some eight tons – of orchids. The Garden’s first orchid show was held the following year, attracting 8,000 visitors. Later that decade, the Garden established a tropical field station in Panama, greatly facilitating orchid collection. Today, the Garden’s annual orchid show attracts over 30,000 people.
100# - What was the inspiration for this year’s show?Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2010 add
Let us whisk you away on a sophisticated French escape to experience a butterfly’s view of paradise: a lush garden filled with hundreds of fresh-blooming orchids. Stroll through the French-inspired Monarch Café to discover its butterfly 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.
The inspiration for this year’s show came from nature and 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. This show is the only time of year when you can see a sizable selection of plants from the Garden’s permanent collection brought out en masse for public view. Shades of warm yellows, energetic oranges, and rosy reds have been selected to mingle with passionate plums and winter whites displayed from head to toe in a garden of greenery. The show runs two weeks longer this year, so visitors will have an opportunity to see many of our orchids blooming that typically flower after the show ends.
We invite you to come during the beginning, middle, and final days of the show’s duration to take advantage of all the different orchids on display!