14 February 2013
Let me know which you prefer and why.
Orchids, orchids, orchids are perfection for today’s post: Valentine’s Day. These miraculous feats by Mother Nature come in a myriad of attributes including hues, colors and shapes. Each one has secrets to share, and reveal them through floral designs that sweep through our synapses. They stun, stir, spike the senses, and spook our notion of what can be real and true. They are marvels of botany.
Because they comfort and tease the eye, each specimen can be so visually outstanding that it takes time to absorb what we are seeing. I watched as others made sounds of joy and surprise as they witnessed one after another of orchid displays at Longwood Gardens’ Annual Orchid Extravaganza.
Every year I make a photo field trip to visually graze upon these natural wonders. Longwood Gardens is one of the exceptional horticultural centers that struts these beauties year-round and during this late winter special event.
This exhibition uses a thirteen-foot tall orchid arch, a triple-tiered chandelier, six large suspended orbs, and planters that scatter beauty throughout the entire Conservatory. Every space has its touchstone–an orchid or groupings that are irresistible. These cultivated florals are points of arrival for visual comfort and ease. They brought a meditative sense to a cloudy day, which hung outside. The weather had no bearing on ornamental displays overflowing with sparkling gestures, saying come enjoy my splendor.
Longwood Gardens was founded by Pierre S. du Pont and his wife, Alice, who together created an extensive orchid collection that became one of the first displays at Longwood Gardens. To read more about the horticultural center’s history, click here.
If you are anywhere near the Gardens, which is in Pennsylvania (on U.S. Route 1, about 3 miles northeast of Kennett Square), I urge you to visit this annual extravaganza, which runs through March 24. While the event displays 5,000 orchids, their permanent orchid collection has approximately 2,300 hybrids and species.
A few days after the event’s closing (between March 27 and March 30) selections from the exhibitions will be on sale for the public. So make a Spring outing, see the extravaganza and its four-acre Conservatory, visit the Brandywine Valley, and return to buy a lasting souvenir.