Exotic joys await at Orchid Conservatory
By Scot Mitamura
After many years of waiting, the Foster Botanical Garden Orchid Conservatory is finally open to the public. The Orchid Conservatory is one of the highlights of a delayed five-phase master plan for the garden. Despite the tough economic times, the city and county staff and volunteers have resourcefully opened this lovely addition to the garden for everyone's enjoyment.
The 2,600-square-foot glass and aluminum conservatory is a state-of-the-art facility. It has a fully functioning weather station that monitors the temperature, wind and humidity. Shading and ventilation can be tailored to meet the needs of the orchids and other tropical plants. Is it hot and humid? It's sweltering, just like being in the tropical rain forest, and the plants love it. Intermittent bursts from the misting system are a welcome relief for the plants and visitors alike.
The conservatory's highlights are the exotic and beautiful orchids. Visitors from around the world come to enjoy the year-round orchid exhibition. As you enter, you will become immersed with the beauty and fragrance of the popular Hono Hono orchid, Dendrobium anosmum (yes, they are still in full bloom), to the exotic Cattleya and the elegant, cascading Phalaenopsis draping the central waterfall. Strolling through the pathway, you can count more than 10 different orchid genera that are represented throughout the display. But, there are more than orchids on display.
The orchids are complemented by an array of lush and unusual tropical plants. Here you will see rare and interesting color forms of Alpinia (ginger), Musa (banana), Bromeliad, Coleus, Colocasia (taro), Cordyline (t-plants), and Philodendron, just to name a few.
If you haven't visited Foster Botanical Garden recently, a trip to the orchid conservatory might just be the reason to stop by. If you need another reason, come by and check out the ever popular Spring Plant Sale going on today.