The Arch City Gardener

Journeys In St. Louis Gardening and Beyond

1 Comment

Worldless Wednesday: Art In Bloom





A Cure for the Winter Blues

Orchid 7 2018I’ve got the winter doldrums. I’ve had enough of our gray, damp and chilly St. Louis winter. There’s really no snow to speak of during a St. Louis winter. We might get an occasional ice storm to make our pulses race a bit and remind us that we are alive, but mostly winter here is just a whole lot of blah. This year’s has been punctuated by some extremely cold temperatures so I’ve spent much of it more housebound than usual.

But there is a cure.

In late February when you’re just about bored to death, the Missouri Botanical Garden hosts its annual orchid show. And what a lovely sight it is. MoBot is home to one of the largest orchid collections out there and they do love to trot them out in late winter.

Orchid 2 2018

Aren’t they lovely? Such a heavenly combination of colors.

Orchid 5 2018

The garden’s founder Henry Shaw received his first orchids in 1876. Today the collection is nearly 6,500 strong with more than 2,000 species, nearly 1,500 cultivars and more than 686 unique taxa. Orchids come in all sorts of shapes, size and colors. The ones above look whimsical, like they have little fluttering wings.

Orchid 4 2018Orchid 10 2018

Dark, waxy looking leaves, bright green buds and pale freckled purple petals are worth a picture or two.

Orchid 11

Orchid 12 2018

With March around the corner, we’ve still got a few weeks of the mid-winter drearies left, but the good souls at the St. Louis Art Museum know us flower lovers want more. And they will deliver with their annual Art In Bloom event in early March.

Until then, I will bide my time, continue my walks through the lovely cities that make up St. Louis County and be on the look out for early signs of spring.


Lovely, Lovely Art In Bloom

One of my very favorite things to do is attend Art in Bloom, a weekend-only event at the St. Louis Art Museum in which patrons tour the museum to view floral interpretations of various pieces of the museum’s collection. What a brilliant idea! The displays are created by local garden clubs and professional florists. Pieces are scattered throughout the museum so that museum goers may take in the wonderful sampling of the collections. I think there were nearly 60 displays this year.

Docents are on hand to explain both the artwork and the display. In some instances the floral designer was on hand sharing his or her personal story of inspiration. There are three types of judging for various categories–a panel of professional judges, the art museum staff and the visitors to the museum. It’s fun to see how the People Choice awards stack up against the pros and the staff.  For years my sister Nancy and I–and now my daughters–have spent the day carefully judging the designs on our self-guided tour. We like to score the pieces based on interpretation. Some years when we have lots of time we include color and composition.

This year there were so many truly splendid designs it was difficult to pick a favorite. We write our scores in the program booklet and then when the whole thing is over, our feet are aching and backs hurting, we head to Nancy’s house for a glass of wine, put our feet up and go through the booklet defending our votes. We inadvertently left the booklet in one of the restaurants at the museum so I am unfortunately unable to identify all of the artists–floral designer, sculptor, painter, potter, furniture maker. The inspiring artwork is in the background of the photo. I hope you enjoy this armchair tour.

Stained Glass Window (960x1280)

White lilies were a central theme to many of the religious works. I loved the vase in this interpretation of the stained glass window. This was one of my very favorites.

Chicago Elevator Door

The scrolled panel on the left is ironwork from Chicago.

Jane Fonda

That’s Jane Fonda in the background. The painting also includes her brother and father. There was a docent on hand describing how the gerbera daisies are indicative of the 70s. The docents were fun the listen to.


The stone arches in the background provided inspiration for this piece and lots of conversation among the family judges.

Naked lady on rug

This was one of my very favorites. To me, the containers are an important element of the display and the red fluted bowl in this design really made an impact.


When I saw this display, I said it made me happy. Nancy laughed and said, “That’s appropriate because that is the name of the painting.”

Yellow Square

Very cool. A docent was on hand for this piece and explained the tones of the painting coinciding with the various shades of yellow to orange in the flowers. I liked the square containers which matched the silver frame.