by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Working at the Garden, I love how I get to see all of the wonderful behind-the-scenes work that goes into events like Splendor Under Glass. In case you don’t know, Splendor Under Glass is the Garden’s annual black-tie fundraiser that takes place in the Conservatory on November 19. It is also a preview of the popular GardenFest of Lights display, which opens to the public the following Friday, November 26.
This year’s Splendor Under Glass theme Orchids Around the World transports guests to an enchanting Orchid Cloud Forest. The orchids are part of the decor, but they will also be part of the silent and live auction — so guests can take them home after the event. And that’s where my visit to the greenhouse yesterday comes in. The Garden’s Splendor Under Glass decorating committee was hard at work re-potting 600 orchids for the event. These, along with orchids already in Conservatory displays, will total 800 orchids as part of Splendor Under Glass’ decor.
Walking into the greenhouse on a very cold and rainy day made me feel just a bit warmer inside. Hundreds of orchids means thousands of blooms and each one seemed prettier than the one before. Like with children, you really shouldn’t choose favorites — they all are so great — but I can’t help myself. I just LOVE the contrast of lime green and purple in Woodlandsense ‘Blue Bird’. The orchids were re-potted into the most exquisite containers — from polished carved wood, to ceramic, to pots custom-crafted specifically for the occasion.
The Splendor Under Glass decorating committee worked expertly and in teams of two — one person holding the plants in place while the other helped add ornamental rocks, soil and other planting media. I learned alot about orchids in my short visit to the greenhouse. Orchids don’t like to be too wet or too dry, so the women were sawing PVC pipe in sections for each pot to act as a straw to bring in air to the roots. In fact, I was told if the plants are accidentally over watered, the excess water can be removed with a turkey baster through the same PVC pipe! A neat trick to know just in time for Thanksgiving!
The group of about 10 women was optimistic that they would get all 600 plants re-potted just in one afternoon. Impressive by any standard.