From Oct. 12-Dec. 1, 2019, Selby Gardens will highlight the orchids of Asia. Set within an Asian-inspired landscape, the Orchid Show 2019 will showcase unique orchids within horticultural displays, and will demonstrate the cultural significance of the plant as they are often manifested in Asian art, philosophy, and religion.

The orchid is one of four important botanical symbols in Asian culture. In addition to the orchid, the four plants, known as the “Four Gentlemen,” include the plum blossom, bamboo, and chrysanthemum. Each plant signifies the four seasons and a human trait, with the orchid illustrating spring, as well as integrity and friendship.

Blossoms of Asia combines a dazzling display of living orchids in the Tropical Conservatory with an elegant exhibition of orchid treasures from Selby Gardens’ bibliographic and preserved collections in the Museum of Botany and the Arts.

The orchids in the Tropical Conservatory will include Asian specimens from Selby Gardens’ living plant collection.  The display will reference traditional Japanese garden design and horticultural practices, including ikebana, the art of flower arranging; and bonsai, the creation of miniaturized trees, in order to evoke a sense of Asia in the heart of Sarasota.

Cymbidium okagami, woodblock print by Zuigetsu Ikeda, approximately 1930-1940, commissioned by Japanese banker Shotaro Kaga who bred orchids in the first half of the 20th century.

Inside the Museum of Botany and the Arts, information on Selby Gardens’ Asian orchid collection, accompanied by a selection of Asian orchid spirit and herbarium specimens will be on display. Rare botanical books and prints from the Selby Gardens’ Research Library, coupled with ink paintings and watercolors generously lent by the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, will also be on display. This exhibit of historical works, from Europe and Asia, will enable comparisons between different styles of illustration, from the scientific, to the decorative and symbolic. 

Throughout the show, educational lectures, classes, and events are a perfect way for orchid enthusiasts to learn more about the Blossoms of Asia exhibition, as well as Asian culture. Orchid Evening on November 6 will also allow guests to experience the Orchid Show in a whole new light, as guests can view the entire display in a special after-hours lighted display with live entertainment by the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School.

Be inspired by one of Asia’s most symbolic plants, the orchid, as Selby Gardens celebrates its diversity, symbolism, and beauty at the Orchid Show 2019: Blossoms of Asia. The Orchid Show 2019 is open October 12 through December 1 at Selby Gardens