February 04, 2024

Time for Orchids!

Paph. Magic Mood 'Great Northern' x Magic Mood 'Alan Napper'

I recently visited Olbrich Botanical Gardens for Orchid Escape and Orchid Quest. What a wonderful way to briefly put winter aside and enjoy the beauty of these amazing plants and blooms! The theme this year: “Rise of the Angiosperm,” with a nod to the Cretaceous Period, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and proto-orchids developed.

Cretacous theme 3

Cretaceous theme 1

Cretaceous theme 2

It was fun to see the dino “fossils” flanked by orchids of all types, sizes, and colors. 

orchid anatomy

Colorful signage described orchid anatomy.

orchid pollination

And the specialized methods of orchid pollination.

orchid display

Beautiful displays were around every corner in the conservatory, including this collection in the pond.

I captured a few photos of the more than 1,000 blooming orchids displayed, some of which are permanent residents. I tried to include the names on each photo (hold your cursor over the image to see them). If plants weren’t marked, or I wasn’t sure I had the correct label, I simply included the genus. If you see any errors please let me know:

Paphiopedilum 1

Vanda 2

Renanthera Mem. Marie Killian x R. monachica

Cymbidium 4

Phragmipedium 1

Dendrobium 1

Vanda Pachara Delight

Macodes sanderiana x limii

Vanda 1

Cymbidium 2

Cypripedium 1

Cymbidium 1

Cymbidium 3

Vuylstekeara Melissa Brianne 'Dark'

Coelogyne flaccida

Paphiopedilum victoria-regina var. sumatra

It was a great way to warm up, enjoy the beauty, and learn more about the world’s thousands of magical orchid species!

At the time of this post, Orchid Escape is still on through March 3, 2024. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. Or visit olbrich.org to learn about future events.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful surprise—a multitude of orchids during a snowstorm in Laramie in February! One term really caught my attention: proto-orchid. It set me to wandering the web, where I found info about orchid diversification not long after that big end-of-Cretaceous extinction. Love stuff like that—hints at a fascinating story yet to be figured out.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Yes, the orchids definitely help with the mood during winter, don't they? And I wasn't familiar with parts of the orchid story, either. I'm sure you're much more knowledgeable than I am. Fascinating stuff, for sure. :)

  2. Paphiopedilum's look the most exotic to me. I've never tried growing them though. Just Phalaenopsis, Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, and my personal favorite, Oncidiums. Must have been nice to be somewhere warm with all of those flowers!

    1. I've only tried a few orchids at home, and not much success. I think we keep our home too cool during the winter. And with pets, I have to be so selective in where I put them. Anyway, it sure is a treat to see many of them thriving in one place! The Olbrich Bolz Conservatory is wonderful!

  3. What a wonderful display! It puts the exhibit at my local botanic garden to shame. The dinosaur additions are a cute touch.

    1. I enjoyed the theme and the dinos, too. Every year is different. Fun stuff. :)

  4. Wow Beth what a fabulous place to visit especially in winter. So many stunning plants and flowers. And I love how they placed the fossils. Orchids always scare me as I view them as fussy or I don't have the right conditions here to grow them indoors. So I'll look from afar.

    1. Yes, the warmth in the observatory and all the thriving plants are encouraging. I'm the same way with growing the orchids at home. I think we keep our house too cool during the winter. Oh well, more reason to visit Olbrich and other indoor gardens!

  5. Beautiful set of photos, Beth and what a delightful visit! You must have had a wonderful time amongst these stunning plants. Thanks for sharing with us. Tina

  6. The dinosaur "fossils" are a fine addition to the plantings. Their neutral color does not distract from or compete with plant beauty. In addition the visual image of "fossils" with orchids, that proto-orchids emerged in the Cretaceous is now firmly in memory. I did not realize how long Orchids have been around--vastly longer than humans!

    Not to mention wandering a green warm space when your outdoors are largely dormant must be a great joy.

    1. Aren't the displays great?! I learned so much from the displays and information...and of course, there's so much more to learn. You are so right about the warmth in the observatory, even though we're having a mild winter (for us).

  7. Our Sam just visited the Orchids. :-) He was in Madison for the weekend of January 26,27,28th.
    He shared photos with me.
    xx oo

    1. Nice. If you, yourself, plan to be in the area again let me know in advance and we can meet. :)

  8. How wonderful, what a great visit you must have had!

  9. What a lovely display of orchids, I also love the idea of dinosaurs among them.

    1. It's a wonderful show--on until early March. They do a great job with the presentation each year.

  10. Beautiful photos! Interesting information.
    Have a blessed day!


DEAR ANONYMOUS VISITORS: Please include your FIRST NAME. We need to know you're a real person. Security updates mean your comments likely will NOT be published unless you include your name. Sorry. Also, comments with hyperlinks might not make it through the heightened security system.

Your comment might not appear right away (even though we love you). PlantPostings uses comment moderation, and we read every comment before we publish.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great gardening day!