Orchid Daze, the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s indoor wintertime exhibition, explores the many ways the showy plants grow on trunks, branches, and the stems of other plants.
Set for February 13 – April 10 in the Fuqua Orchid Center, the annual orchid showcase emphasizes the contrasts between vibrantly colored orchids and naturalistic wooden elements. Displays and plantings highlight epiphytic orchids, or ones that grow not in soil but on wood, including other plants, in a harmless, non-parasitic way.
“We strive every year to showcase the beauty of orchids in unexpected ways,” said Becky Brinkman, manager of the Fuqua Orchid Center, home to the largest collection of species orchids in the United States. ”We want to stage orchids to encourage new perspectives on and appreciation for the plants.”
Orchid Daze features thousands of orchids throughout the center. Skeletal trees form a minimalist grove in the Conservatory lobby. Bare trunks rise 12 to 18 feet toward the ceiling, while arching branches overhead form an arcade. The glossy green foliage of Moth Orchids (Phalaenopsis) clings to the branches in aerial clusters. Exuberant arching sprays dangle like jeweled ornaments in a gradation of color from purple through dark pink to blush pink to white. A large tree trunk lying across the path displays flowers of similar color but presented at and below eye level. A cut in the fallen tree invites visitors to pass through the space.
In the Orchid Atrium, orchids hover from above, while visitors become trapped in the frozen orbits of hollow grapevine spheres dripping with the flowers of Cattleyas, their hybrids, and Miltoniopsis. The design weaves warm and cool colors throughout the space in sparkling shades of red, orange, salmon, pink, and purple. The spheres range in diameter from about two to five feet and hang from the glass ceiling at varying heights.
Finally, in the Orchid Display Hall, twisting visual motion drives the aesthetics. A custom-fabricated grapevine “tornado” activates the space as it rises from ground level to overhead. Flowers festoon the intricately woven vine structure, their vitality contrasting with the dry branches.
In conjunction with Orchid Daze, the Garden offers Orchid Market Weekends for purchasing plants and planting materials, and Orchid Care Clinics at which visitors may seek expert advice on their plants. For details, visit atlantabg.org.