Winter will get a bit more colorful when the annual Orchid Show returns to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Starting February 10 and running through March 25, the show will transform the Garden’s Greenhouses and parts of the Regenstein Center into an orchid-filled oasis. The show opens every day at 10 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m., except for Thursdays, which feature special offerings and a nighttime viewing of the show until 8 p.m.
This year’s show is titled Asia in Bloom: The Orchid Show and will feature more than 10,000 blooms. Native orchids and the rich culture of several different Asian countries will be celebrated at the show. Design elements will include an orchid structure inspired by the temple spires of Southeast Asia, Chinese lanterns and a Japanese rock garden.
Celebrating the culture of Asia has been integrated into more than just the décor. Several musicians scheduled for Morning Music with Orchids will play traditional music from different Asian countries. Thursday nights, when the show is open later than usual, will showcase Asian food and drink.
Along with the orchid displays, the following associated events will take place throughout the show:
- Members’ Preview (Friday, February 9, 5 to 7 p.m.): The night before the Orchid Show officially opens to the public, members will have an exclusive opportunity to preview the displays. Live music will set the ambience; cash bar and light refreshments will be available. Orchid experts will be on hand to answer all your orchid-related questions.
- Paul Lange: Big Blooms – Orchids (Friday, February 9, through Monday, September 24): In Krehbiel Gallery of the Regenstein Center, see a collection of 18 large-scale images of beautiful and somewhat petite orchid blooms, skillfully photographed.
- Morning Music with Orchids (every Tuesday and Thursday, 10 to 11 a.m.): Twice a week, at the opening of the show, musicians will perform in Nichols Hall. Thursday morning performances will feature Asian-influenced music. Morning Music with Orchids concerts are free.
- Photographers’ Hour (every Thursday, 8:15 to 9:45 a.m.): Photographers who would like to capture the show using tripods and monopods will be invited in before the show opens on Thursday mornings. Regular ticket fees apply, but only a limited number of tickets will be available each day.
- Orchids After Hours (Thursday evenings, 4 to 8 p.m.): One night a week, the Orchid Show will keep the doors open late. Visit the show after the sun goes down and see the orchids in a brand-new way. Food and beverages will be available, including beer from Asia and sake and sushi created on-site.
- Orchid Marketplace (every weekend): During the show, orchids will be for sale at the Orchid Marketplace. On select weekends, members of the Illinois Orchid Society will be on hand to offer repotting services and answer all your orchid-related questions.
- Evening with Orchids (Wednesday, March 7, 6 to 8 p.m.): Enjoy a cocktail tasting at the Orchid Show. Tickets include a tasting glass, wristband to participate in tastings, tasting guide and access to the show. Must be 21 or older to attend. Advance tickets: member/nonmember prices are $25/$30. Day-of tickets: member/nonmember prices are $28/$33.
- Illinois Orchid Society Spring Show & Sale (Saturday and Sunday, March 10 & 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Photographers’ Hour on Sunday, March 11, 9 to 10 a.m.): Displays of orchids from the rarest of species to cultivated hybrids will be artistically arranged and vendors will have orchids for sale. Individual orchids in 128 classes will vie for awards. Families can take part in orchid-based activities for children. On-site vendors will be selling orchid plants and related products.
- Asian Orchids Illustrated (January 26 – April 15; Free Library Talks on Sunday, February 25, at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, February 27, at 2 p.m.): Presented in collaboration with the Orchid Show, several volumes from the Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta series, published in the late nineteenth century, will be on display in the Lenhardt Library. Illustrations of the rare and endangered orchid, Paphiopedilum orthschidianum (Rchb. F.) Stein, are featured along with illustrations of other Asian orchids from the Rare Book Collection.
- Post-Orchid Show Plant Sale (Thursday, March 29, 10 a.m. to noon [Garden Plus, Director’s Circle and President’s Circle members only], noon to 2 p.m. [Garden members at all levels], 2 to 4 p.m. [public welcome]): Shop the orchids and plants you saw at the show. Many of the plants featured throughout the show’s run will be on sale in Nichols Hall for discounted prices.
B-Roll video from this year's Orchid Show: https://youtu.be/KdYEDxoBkls