Thousands of orchids and other plants will be on display for six weeks beginning Oct. 12
SARASOTA, Fla. – The 2018 iteration of the highly-popular annual Orchid Show at Selby Gardens returns October 12 with a story and floral plant displays that will have guests questioning what they think they know about orchids. After all, this huge plant family perplexed even Charles Darwin, whose work inspired the theme of this year’s show.
The Orchid Show: Endless Forms presented by Better-Gro® emphasizes the remarkable range of shapes and sizes of different orchid species. The phrase is drawn from the famous final line of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, in which he stated that “from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
From Oct. 12 – Nov. 25 the Tropical Conservatory will be filled with spectacular orchids, including rare and unusual specimens from Selby Gardens’ living plant collection. The idea of “forms” will be emphasized by a series of large, dramatic sculptural elements found throughout the conservatory. The use of epiphytic orchids, which do not require soil, allows for the plants to be suspended in unusual ways.
“When we consider which orchids to use in our displays, thought goes into not just color, but also an orchid’s root shape, its leaves and bulbs – really there are so many elements to think about,” said Angel Lara, Director of Glass Houses at Selby Gardens and designer of the botanical garden’s upcoming orchid exhibition. “This is one of the many reasons that the title “Endless Forms” is really suited to this exhibition.”
A complementary exhibition in the historic Payne Mansion’s Museum of Botany & the Arts will showcase preserved rare orchid specimens and botanical prints. Groupings of a print, pressed herbarium specimen and fluid-preserved spirit specimen will demonstrate the various forms of botanical evidence tools used by plant researchers. This exhibition is curated by Dr. David Berry, Associate Director, Academic Affairs and Special Projects at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
Rare botanical books from the Selby Gardens Research Library will also be released from the vault, including A Monograph of Odontoglossum, an impressive oversized volume published by British horticulturist James Bateman in 1874, and Illustrations of Orchidaceous Plants, produced in the 1830s by Austrian artist Francis Bauer, considered one of the greatest botanical illustrators of all time. The Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid has gifted a replica of the Haenke’s Malaspina colour-chart : an enigma to Selby Gardens from its archive and library. The piece is thought to be the first “color-by-number” guide for botanists working in the field to use to complete illustrations after returning home. To demonstrate modern research tools of botanical science, an animated 3-D model of orchids produced in partnership with the Institute for Digital Exploration (IDEx) at the University of South Florida in Tampa will be on display.
Several special events accompany the show, which runs through Thanksgiving weekend. Highlights include:
After Hours Festivities
- Wine & Design with Angel Lara (6 p.m., Oct. 17). A hands-on, floral design workshop series invites guests to learn to design gorgeous, custom flower arrangements along with wine tastings courtesy of Michael’s On East. $65 Selby Gardens Members; $75 Guests.
- Orchid Evening (6 – 9 p.m., Nov. 7). Experience the Orchid Show in a whole new light with an orchid-inspired cocktail reception and an exclusive, after-hours lighted viewing of the latest exhibition at Selby Gardens. Live entertainment by the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, light hors d’oeuvres, wine and craft beer tastings. $45 Selby Gardens Members; $50 Guests.
Talks & Lectures
- Keynote Lecture with Dr. David Berry (Noon – 1 p.m., Oct. 17). “The Brilliant Botanical Bauer Brothers” explores the lives of and works by two of the greatest botanical illustrators of all time. Included with general admission.
- Lunch in the Gardens with Tom Mirenda (11 a.m., Oct. 25). Celebrate orchids in their many forms during the 2018 Orchid Show at Selby Gardens with Tom Mirenda, author and columnist for ORCHIDS Magazine, American Orchid Society Conservation Chair and Former Orchid Collection Specialist, Smithsonian Institution. Luncheon co-chairs: Ariane Dart & Pauline Wamsler Joerger; Lecture Series Chairs: Jean Weidner Goldstein, Teri A Hansen & Margaret Wise. Luncheon Sponsor MISH New York; Series Sponsor: Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. $75 Friends of Gardens-Selby Associates Members; $150 Guests.
- “What Really Turned Darwin On,” with Dr. Antonio Toscano de Brito (Noon – 1 p.m., Nov. 14) Charles Darwin was fascinated by orchids, so irresistible to pollinators, which played an important role in inspiring him while writing On the Origin of Species. Using high-impact visuals, Toscano will demonstrate why orchids are considered the sexiest of all plants. Included with general admission.
Visit www.selby.org for more classes and activities, and to purchase tickets. The Orchid Show: Endless Forms presented by Better-Gro® is on display daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Oct. 12 – Nov. 25.
“It’s our pleasure to once again serve as the presenting sponsor for the 2018 Orchid Show. After 60 years of cultivating and growing orchids, we have certainly come to know that orchids really do take on endless forms,” said Rod Hollingsworth, CEO of Sun Bulb Company and Better-Gro® Products. “It is a privilege to share our passion for orchids through this outstanding exhibition, and we’re proud to support Selby Gardens in their efforts to preserve, protect and educate people about this remarkable family of plants.”
Lead sponsors for The Orchid Show: Endless Forms presented by Better-Gro® include Williams Parker, MISH New York, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Total Wine & More, State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues. Additional support is provided by Sherran Blair (in memory of Mary Perry), Alice Rau, The Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, Inc., and Triad Foundation.
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About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a living museum and the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns and other tropical plants with a focus on botany, horticulture and environmental education. For more information, please visit www.selby.org. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas. Regular admission is $20 and $10 children ages 4-17; members and children 3 and under enter free. Contact us at (941) 366-5731 or selby.org. Get social with us on Facebook, Instagram and more by searching @selbygardens.