Blue-Ribbon Blooms

Posted on Fri., Oct. 14, 2011 by Lisa Blackburn
A colorful Cattleya-Laelia cross orchid
A colorful Cattleya-Laelia cross, C. aclandiae "SVO" x L. breigeri "Star of Brazil" HCC/AOS. Photo by Lisa Blackburn. (Alternate thumbnail image on Huntington Blogs main page features a dramatic display of Phalaenopsis orchids.)

Orchid fanciers will be making a beeline for The Huntington this weekend (starting today!) for the annual Southland Orchid Show and Sale, where exhibitors from local orchid societies are displaying their best blooms for the benefit of judges and the public alike. In the Botanical Center's Banta Hall, lush, creatively designed floor installations and table-top displays feature hundreds of exotic oncidiums ("Dancing Ladies"), brassias ("Spider Orchids"), paphiopedilums ("Lady Slippers"), and miltonias ("Pansy Orchids"), as well as cattleyas, cymbidiums, vandas, epidendrums, and many other orchid species and hybrids. And for those who can't resist taking a few exotic plants home, vendors are offering a wide variety of orchids and related merchandise for sale.

To complement the flowers exhibited in the show, The Huntington is displaying several dozen specimens from the Weltz Orchid Collection, considered by many experts to be one of the best in the world. The collection of nearly 6,000 orchids was donated to The Huntington in 2010 by the family of the late orchid hybridizer S. Robert Weltz. The collection (and the pair of orchid lovers—one a gifted teenager, the other a veteran hybridizer—who have the enviable task of cataloging and caring for it) were the subject of an article in a recent issue of Huntington Frontiers. The Weltz orchid display is on view in The Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science, adjacent to the Botanical Center.

One of The Huntington's biggest orchid boosters is Jim Folsom, the Telleen/Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens. Listen to him discuss his passion for these fascinating flowers and you're likely to be smitten, too. You can hear his 2010 talk "Getting to Know Orchids" on iTunes U.

The orchid show takes place Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Entry to the show is included with Huntington admission.

Lisa Blackburn is communications coordinator at The Huntington.