Rare and Exotic Orchid Exhibit

January is typically the coldest month of the year, but not inside the tropical paradise of the Bloedel Conservatory!

Starting January 26th until February 6th, the bi-annual Rare & Exotic Orchid Exhibit will be on display! Brighten your day with breathtakingly vivid colors, exotic shapes, and a beauty that will leave you starring!

Put on in partnership with the Vancouver Orchid Society, shake off the winter blues and be sure to stop in for a visit! Regular hours: 10am to 5pm. Volunteers from the VOS will be offering FREE Orchid Tours three times a day (11am, 12 noon, 2pm). They will also be on hand between 11am to 3pm, ready to answer any questions you may have about growing, potting, and identifying these little jewels. Learn a little, see a lot, but don’t miss this fantastic event!

Here’s a preview of what you might see:

Butterfly Orchids

Lady Slippers

Dancing Ladies

Cattleyas

Odontoglossums

And Orchids that smell like chocolate mint! YUM

Regular admission applies.

See you there!

A New Year of Hope

The Bloedel Conservatory. Photo copyright Vicky Earle

It’s a New Year and we have much to celebrate at the Bloedel Conservatory! Last year was a year of “firsts” under the dome. Even though we still await the new Operating Agreement that will allow Bloedel to officially merge with the VanDusen Botanical Garden, there have been exciting happenings at our green jewel atop Queen Elizabeth Park! Here is a quick recap of 2011:

The Friends of the Bloedel saw big changes to our Board of Directors during 2011. Our President, John Coupar was successfully elected to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. His drive, unwavering dedication, insight and optimism will be a great asset to the Park Board! Founding Director Sheryl Hamilton and her family also made the decision to leave Vancouver for more the tranquil surroundings of Armstrong, BC. Her drive and passion are greatly missed and we wish her all the best in her new home! Vicky Earle, also a Founding Director, is very excited to take the lead as the new President of the Friends of Bloedel. Two new Directors also join the Board for 2012, Aimeé Taylor and Johanna Hickey, who both have tremendous experience and bring great enthusiasm to our group.

Zygopetalum orchid

One of the biggest highlights of the year at the Conservatory were the new Orchid Shows organized in partnership with the Vancouver Orchid Society. Spectacular and exotic blossoms filled the subtropical section of the Conservatory for three separate shows. Knowledgeable VOS members were on hand daily, leading tours and answering questions about the dazzling displays. Truly an orchid affectionato’s dream! We eagerly look forward to more orchid shows during 2012!

Ruby, Eclectus parrot. Photo copyright Vicky Earle

Other highlights included many new additions to the Bloedel family! Two beautiful Electus Parrots, Ruby and Kiwi, along with Sylvester, the handsome Silver Pheasant were all adopted last summer. The Conservatory is a great home and they are all thriving! The feathered flock also greeted new small birds that include Star, Cordon Bleu and Gouldian finches, as well as a variety of canaries and other waxbills. All brightly coloured and welcome additions!

photo by D Sharon Pruitt

Also new in 2011 were the Walk in the Tropics Series at the Conservatory and HSBC Family programs. A Walk in the Tropics is a monthly walk conceived and organized by VanDusen’s Education Director, Gillian Drake. They were a smashing success (sold out) and will continue throughout 2012. Led by knowledgeable staff from Bloedel and VanDusen, these morning walks are designed to familiarize you with the rich biodiversity found under Bloedel’s dome. Check the Events Calendar on the VanDusen Botanical Garden website for dates, topics and sign-up information. The HSBC Family Programs (for families with children ages 5 to 11) were also extended to Bloedel for the first time. Guided programs include fun and educational activities for the whole family to learn about the diverse tropical plant life and birds that live under the dome.

Last, but not least, the annual Jewel Box of Lights event was a wonderful success, with thousands of visitors coming in to see our tropical oasis dressed for the holidays. The fountains on the plaza were colourfully lit for the very first time in history! Gardeners at the Conservatory masterfully added stunning displays of poinsettas, twinkling waterfalls of lights and magical lasers to the festive flare of the dome. We thank all the patrons who came out for our Opening Night Event!

Considering we nearly lost this green jewel forever 2 years ago, this year of 2012 continues as a New Year of Hope, for it will see the fruition of more new programs, events and celebrations at the Bloedel Conservatory. The Friends of Bloedel are hard at work and will bring you all the latest news right here! (Click the “Follow” button at the bottom right of the page and receive automatic updates!) We thank you all for your continued support and wish you and your families a wonderful and prosperous New Year. Be sure to schedule visits to the Conservatory and immerse yourself in the magic of the dome in 2012!