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The Orchid Show

As the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, epiphytes, and tropical plants, Selby Gardens hosts an orchid show each fall focusing on different themes and complimented by a variety of special lectures, classes, and events.

Pink Orchid in Orchid Show

The 45th Anniversary Orchid Show:
Women Breaking the Glasshouse Ceiling

October 10 to November 29, 2020, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the official opening of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.  To celebrate, the annual Orchid Show will honor the founder, Marie Selby, and highlight the accomplishments of the many notable women who have built on her legacy and helped to make Selby Gardens home to the best scientifically documented collection of orchids in the world.

The Orchid Show will combine a spectacular display of living orchids in the Tropical Conservatory with an impressive exhibition of orchid treasures from Selby Gardens’ library and preserved collections in the Museum of Botany and the Arts.  To these will be added a stunning display of orchids and roses at the Selby House, marking the 100th anniversary of William and Marie Selby’s purchase of the property in Sarasota on which Selby Gardens now stands.  The rose was one of Marie Selby’s favorite flowers and also a symbol of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

The year the land for Selby Gardens was purchased was a momentous one in women’s history.  The dynamic display in the Tropical Conservatory will celebrate the Suffrage Movement and the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote.  Without this landmark decision, it is hard to imagine where the progress of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens would stand today.  The orchid celebration in the Tropical Conservatory will feature the symbolic colors of the Suffragettes, which include purple for loyalty and dignity, white for purity, green for hope, and gold for light and life.  The experience will be enlivened by kinetic planters that set orchids in jubilant motion. 

The North Gallery

The north gallery of the Museum of Botany and the Arts will present rare books and prints showcasing the work of some of the finest female botanical artists to have ever captured the beauty of orchids.  The historical role of women as botanical illustrators and colorists will be explored, as will the process by which botanical prints were traditionally produced.

The South Gallery

The south gallery will shift from illustration to exploration and emphasize the numerous contributions of women to botanical science, made in the glasshouse, garden, and field.  Selby Gardens is particularly proud to spotlight the significant contributions of female staff and volunteers to the understanding and appreciation of orchids and other epiphytic plants.

Historic Spanish Point

An additional orchid display will be included at Selby Gardens’ companion campus at Historic Spanish Point.  The display will connect to Bertha Palmer, the famous Chicago socialite and philanthropist who established a winter estate at Spanish Point in 1910.  Through her work as Chairman of the Board of Lady Managers at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, Bertha Palmer made significant contributions to the cause of women’s rights, which culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

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