News / Arts & Entertainment

    Orchids Bring Joy, Inspire Artists in New Exhibit

    Orchids Bring Joy, Inspire Artists in New Exhibiti
    X
    March 11, 2016 11:19 PM
    Last year, orchids surpassed roses as the most popular ornamental flower in the U.S. Now a new exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington is celebrating the colorful flowers with a collection of 5,000 orchids from practically all corners of the world. VOA reporter Julie Taboh talked with the garden's spokesman, who explained why the exhibit is drawing such big crowds.

    America is a nation of orchid lovers. In fact, last year orchids surpassed roses as the most popular ornamental flower in the U.S. 

    That's no big surprise to Devin Dotson, public affairs and exhibit specialist at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, where he recently helped launch a huge orchid exhibit.

    "Orchids are really important in the United States," he said, "you can buy them really frequently and easily now."

    That hasn't always been the case.

    It wasn't until the invention of the Wardian Case in the mid-1800s that orchids and other tropical plants could be shipped around the globe. Without these miniature portable greenhouses, the delicate flowers would never have been able to survive the difficult journeys across the ocean.

    A visitor takes a photo of some of the thousands of orchids being featured at a new exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, March 8, 2016. (J. Taboh/VOA)
    A visitor takes a photo of some of the thousands of orchids being featured at a new exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, March 8, 2016. (J. Taboh/VOA)

    Now orchids bloom on every continent except Antarctica, and are the world's largest plant family, delighting millions of people with their amazing diversity of forms and colors.

    Orchids in focus

    Thousands of the natural beauties are now on display at the U.S. Botanic Garden, which presents an orchid show every year in partnership with Smithsonian Gardens, which is also in Washington.

    "Between the two of us, we have some of the largest orchid collections in the U.S." Dotson bragged. "So for about two months, you're going to be able to walk through the conservatory and see thousands of orchids in bloom ... from very big and showy ones ... to very small and minute ones."

    On a recent spring-like day, the vibrant flowers were, indeed, center stage as visitors young and old gathered to admire, take pictures, pose for selfies and even pull out their sketch books.

    Each year, the garden explores a different theme. The focus this year is how orchids have been used as inspiration for photographers and artists over the past centuries.

    "We have a long history of seeing orchids in artworks from many people around the world; from Asia, to the new world, to here in the Americas," Dotson explained.

    Among the photographs on display in the exhibit hall is a series on pollinators, highlighting a different aspect of the flowers.

    This orchid mimics the shape and colors of a pansy flower to attract pollinators that normally go to a pansy, March 8, 2016. (J.Taboh/VOA)
    This orchid mimics the shape and colors of a pansy flower to attract pollinators that normally go to a pansy, March 8, 2016. (J.Taboh/VOA)

    "So we have pictures of butterflies and moths, bumble bees, flies, different pollinators," Dotson said, pointing to photos of different orchids. "Whereas normally you're really focused just on the flower, this really celebrates how we get more of those orchid flowers through that pollination story."

    The exhibit is also set up so visitors can take their own pictures. In the main conservatory, a 12-foot-tall green wall, filled with colorful orchids, serves as an inviting backdrop for group photos or selfies, and offers a chance for photographers to get close-up shots of the flowers.

    "We know when people come for the orchid show they're very excited," Dotson said. "They love how orchids can be so visually stunning, and so we've presented some really cool opportunities for them to photograph the plants in very naturalistic settings."

    Inspiring joy

    Ernest McNeill, an artist from Washington, is one of those excited visitors at the orchid wall. He says he frequently visits the garden for inspiration.

    "I love orchids ... and I love doing paintings of something that is rare," he said, adding, "If you take a look at some at these small orchids, to do a painting of it just brings it to the public's eye and that is something I enjoy doing."

    Art student Angela Pagan chose orchids for her nature drawing class, March 8, 2016. (J.Taboh/VOA)
    Art student Angela Pagan chose orchids for her nature drawing class, March 8, 2016. (J.Taboh/VOA)

    Mary Pritschau says she's visiting the exhibit to see the purple orchids, because that's her favorite color.

    "Usually the big ones are flashy and spectacular, and there's the tiny, little spidery-shaped ones; pretty amazing that there can be so much variety all within the same type of plant," she said.

    Art student Angela Pagan sits on the floor near a cluster of orchids, replicating the rust-colored flowers with pencil and pad.

    "The orchids were so colorful and really nice to look at, so of all the exhibits in the building, this one seemed really nice to draw," she said.

    "Orchids obviously have a long history of aesthetic beauty; people love the way they look, but it's a lot more than that," Dotson observed. "So we really celebrate these unique plants as part of this show, and we hope it's a way that people can really just engage with plants and appreciate the beauty and importance of plants in another way."

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs