Orchid show at Phipps offers colorful inspiration during the gray days of winter

Posted on: January 24, 2019 | Written By: Doug Oster | Comments

Beautiful striped phalaenopsis orchids growing in hot pink pots hang over hundreds of deep pink flowers in a stunning artistic display greeting visitors to the Palm Court during the Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  One after another people gasp in wonder as they enter the room under the shadow of huge ancient palms reaching toward the sky.

These striped orchids welcome visitors to the Palm Court at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Photos by Doug Oster

These striped orchids welcome visitors to the Palm Court at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Photos by Doug Oster

The visual treats are supplemented by the fragrances of the orchids here and in other rooms. The sweet scent of chocolate from ‘Sharry Baby’ is intoxicating, it’s hard to pull away. Everyone gets something a little different from the beautiful, complex blooms. “One smells like cotton candy to me,” says a young woman spending time with each bloom enjoying the ofactory joys they offer. Visiting each one as if she was a honeybee in search of nectar and pollen. In the back of the Orchid Room, creamy yellowish flowers release an intense aroma reminiscent of Lemon Pledge from flowers spilling out of a terracotta pot. Bent over on one knee in the Sunken Garden reveals the undertones of raspberry combined with chocolate wafting from a small, dark purple flower.

In a world that moves faster every second, these blooms and diminutive, perfectly pruned diminutive trees put the brakes on, and that feels wonderful. Being transfixed by the delicate beauty of each one allows the stress of the day to fall away, even if just for an hour or two. Take your time and stroll slowly to experience the true magic of what’s going on here.

I was lost in the exquisite world of orchids and bonsai. Camera in hand, smile on my face, spending hours exploring the textures, colors and aromas on display, time almost stood still. I wish that feeling could be saved in a bottle.

Here’s my day in pictures-





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Doug Oster is manager and editor of Everybody Gardens with a passion for gardening and a love of sharing is experiences with other gardeners. You will also find Doug’s gardening contributions in the Tribune-Review each week. He’s an Emmy Award winning producer, television host and writer. Oster is co-host of The Organic Gardeners Radio show every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh. Oster’s Outstanding Documentary Emmy was awarded for Gardens of Pennsylvania, a one hour special he conceived and produced for the PBS affiliate WQED. Doug appears every Thursday morning on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today live at 9 a.m. “Gardening is fun, he says, enjoy every day spent outside tending vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees.”