Orchids and More in May!

orchid spotted_sm

Looking for somewhere fun and relaxing to take Mom on Mother’s Day? May is all about orchids at the Bloedel Conservatory! There are exquisite orchids on display right now: gorgeous phalaenopsis (moth orchids) and cymbidiums (boat orchids), as well as the more unique lady slipper, spider and oncidiums (dancing lady orchids). Always a treat to see and sure to delight Mom! The Conservatory is now open until 8pm everyday throughout the summer – perfect after a stroll in Queen Elizabeth Park or dinner at Season’s Restaurant. And it gives you even more time to treat Mom on her special day!

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As you wander through the tropical atmosphere finding all of the orchid treasures, be sure to stop and say ‘Hello’ to Malibu, the new Sulphur-crested Cockatoo! She will likely give you a loud ‘Hello’ right back and maybe show you some of her best dance moves! Malibu is quite a character and a welcome addition to the Conservatory. She and over 100 free flying exotic birds are sure to bring smiles to the whole family!

Lady Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedlium).

Also in May, come in for the next Walk in the Tropics talk. If you love orchids, don’t miss: Orchids Throughout the World, taking place on Wednesday, May 22 at 6:30. With over 30,000 species, orchids are the largest plant family in the world! Join Margaret Pratt, President of the Vancouver Orchid Society, in a discussion about these fascinating plants and their unique adaptations for tropical climates. You may just find out why many people develop serious ‘orchid addictions’. Registration is a must! For more information click here.

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And excitement for orchids does not stop there! The Rare and Exotic Orchid Show begins Friday, May 24th at 10am through Sunday, May 26th. This special event is a joint partnership with the Vancouver Orchid Society and is free with admission.  A must see for orchid aficionados! Members of the VOS grace the Conservatory with exquisite orchids from their own private collections and are on hand to answer all of your orchid questions. Don’t forget your camera! There will be a multitude of rare and unusual beauties for that picture perfect shot! May is all about orchids and more!

Save the dates and see you there!

Jewel Box of Lights Illuminates the Bloedel Conservatory!

Mark your calendars! The Bloedel Conservatory will again splash colour across Vancouver’s grey winter with holiday lights and the bright plumage of its exotic birds. The lush indoor landscape is exotic at any time of year, but the annual Jewel Box of Lights provides a stroll through the tropics with a holiday twist. Seasonal music, poinsettias and bright blooming Christmas cactus provide the context for a non-traditional holiday experience. Baby, if it’s cold outside, come to the Bloedel Conservatory!

To kick off the event in celebration of Bloedel’s 43rd Anniversary, the Friend’s of Bloedel are sponsoring a very special evening of entertainment beginning at 5:30pm on December 6th. Musical quartets will be singing songs of the season, a trio of tubas, a wonderful Santa dispensing individually wrapped European chocolates and very delicious Parrot sugar cookies with mulled apple cider – are all free with admission (while supplies last). Of course the lights will be magical! The gardeners have once again pulled out all the stops placing millions of twinkling lights and cascading waterfalls of sparkling lasers. A fun night of family entertainment for a great value!

The Friends of Bloedel will also be raising money to help the birds and boost new education programs at the Conservatory. Gorgeous poinsettias and orchids will be for sale along with a great raffle prize draw. Be sure to come out to support your favorite feathered friend!

It’s an event not to be missed!

DATE: Thursday, December 6, 2012 – January 1, 2013 (Closed December 25)

TIME: Doors open at 4:30pm – 9:00pm

Special Opening Night Entertainment: December 3 beginning at 5:30

LOCATION: Bloedel Conservatory: off West 33rd Avenue between Cambie and Main Streets at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC

COST: Adult $7; Senior/Youth (13-18) $5 ; Child (3-12) $3.50; Family (2 adults & children 3-18) $16.50. Group rates and commercial bus rates available.

Free parking will be available throughout Queen Elizabeth Park from 4:00pm for the duration of the event!

“Bloedel is a Jewel Box as are the stars, and at Queen Elizabeth Park you can almost touch the heavens on a clear night!”

See you there!

Butterflies at the Bloedel Conservatory?

Yes! Butterfly Orchids that is!

The Rare & Exotic Orchid Show is on NOW!

Yellow Butterfly Orchid (Psychopsis papilio Lindl. H.G.James)

Come in an see a variety of lady slippers (paphiopedilum and phragmipedium), dancing ladies (oncidium), and the stunning butterfly orchid (psychopsis). And don’t miss the tiny orchids! They are some of the most delicate and spectacular specimens nature has created! One even smells like chocolate mint!

The show runs from September 28th until October 8th, 2012.

Lady Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum).

Members of the VOS will be on hand everyday from 11am to 3pm to answer questions you may have about orchid identification, repotting and maintenance.  They will also be conducting free orchid talks scheduled for 11am, 12noon and 2pm. Listen in and learn about this very diverse family of plants, how they grow in nature and why orchids have become such popular (and addictive) plants worldwide!

Dancing Lady Orchids (Oncidium)

Bloedel Conservatory Hours:

September 18th – April 30th: 10am – 5pm

Regular admission applies

See you there!

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!

October Orchid Show at Bloedel!

White miltonia (pansy) orchid. Photo Radina Jevdevic

Come one, Come all! 

The New Orchid Show is Here!

Come be dazzled by the beauty of these extraordinary blossoms! The Vancouver Orchid Society has put together an extraordinary display of orchids to share with you – a variety of lady slippers (paphiopedilum and phragmipedium),  dancing ladies (oncidium), vandas, odontoglossums and a stunning butterfly orchid (psychopsis).  The show runs from September 30th until October 10th, 2011.

Members of the VOS will be on hand everyday from 11am to 3pm to answer questions you may have about orchid identification, repotting and maintenance.  They will also be conducting free orchid tours scheduled for 11am, 12noon and 2pm every day. Listen in and learn about this very diverse family of plants, how they grow in nature and why orchids have become such popular (and addictive) plants worldwide. Members also promise to dispel any myths that these exotic plants are hard to grow!

And don’t forget to look for the tiny orchids. They are some of the most delicate and spectacular specimens nature has created! Some even smell like chocolate mint. Be sure to bring your camera and your curiosity! You are in for a treat!

Bloedel Conservatory Hours:

September 18th – April 30th: 10am – 5pm

Photo Radina Jevdevic

Royal Robe orchid. Photo by Radina Jevdevic

Laelia spectabilis praectans. Photo Radina Jevdevic

Dendrobium obtussisepalum. Photo by Radina Jevdevic

See You There!