Highland Park, IL (PressExposure) March 31, 2009 -- My curiosity about these plants was sparked by a good friend who had a habit of growing and collecting them. To this day, he has them in every room of his house, sitting on windows and shelves in a variety of colors, sizes, ages, and fragrance. His love of orchids, from what Iâve observed, seems to grow with each new bloom of flowers. Whenever I have the chance to visit, I am captivated by the brilliant array of white, yellow, violet, brown and many other colors, by the tiny little flowers to those that are very large.
It was this orchid-loving friend who informed me of the Orchid Society Spring Show and Sale in the Botanical Garden. It was a last day of show, March 22, and was great cool and sunny early spring day that was perfect for visiting.
My other friend and I arrived at the The Chicago Botanic Garden around lunch time, and I was surprised to see people coming out with packages full of orchids. Many of them didnât look like typical gardeners or flower-lovers at all.
There were women and men of all ages, and even children, carrying their orchids as carefully as if they were made of precious crystal. I could immediately see that those who loved orchids had a special reverence for the beautiful flowers and treated them with great care.
At the Show, we first entered a large exhibition hall and showroom that was full of stands and displays with different kind of orchids. There were some types I had never seen in my life and some I knew from my friendâs house.
Almost every visitor had a camera. They were taking pictures of every flower from different angles and lighting.
Orchids of every kind, from rare species to cultivated hybrids, were on display â more than forty displays all together. Displays varied from large to small, from rare orchids to well-known. Some orchids already had ribbons of different colors and ranks and AOS awards.
There were 128 classes of orchids being judged for competition, but the fact of the competition was not what captured my attention. Since it was my first visit to this kind of fantastic show, I (obviously like many of the people at the show) was completely fascinated with observing the artistic presentation of orchids. I started taking pictures and was having a thoroughly fun and enjoyable time. It wasnât long before I decided I simply must buy an orchid.
It is also interesting to note that more than 300 species of plants native to Illinois are listed as threatened or endangered.
Chicago Botanic Garden researchers â through genetic analysis, seed collecting, propagation, and reintroduction â are attempting to save some of the most threatened plants.
As Susanne Masi, Plant Conservation Manager of Regional Floristics, says, "The more we learn about these plants, the better our chance of saving them from extinction."