Inspired by Longwood’s new Meadow Garden, our indoor “Orchid Meadow” features some of the most unique plants in this year’s Orchid Extravaganza display. The indoor Meadow consists of several Carex species and foliage plants as well as between 300 and 350 individual orchids. We sourced the orchids from specialty nurseries around the country to create a mix of less common plants as well as some tried-and-true favorites. The display highlights species and smaller orchids that we are not able to get in large quantities.
Our team transformed four beds in our East Conservatory into this miniature landscape, with each bed showcasing a unique design and vignette of orchids. In total, it took three days to construct and arrange the Meadow.
The parterre pools in the East Conservatory are drained and covered with a permeable weed barrier before the installation can begin. Next, we add plastic nursery bench tops to reinforce the pools where heavier elements, such as stumps and logs, will be placed. Then we begin to build up the rear portions of the Meadow with bold-foliaged tropical plants, including Cordyline, Juncus, Schefflera, and Dracaena.
Next, we concentrate on arranging smaller orchids into detailed scenes, creating focal points near the stumps. The team uses bulb crates, stacking them to create height variations and backdrops for detailed elements. Once the miniature orchids are arranged in their final positions, we wire them into place and use sheet moss and filler plants to conceal the pots and hardware.
In the southeast corner of the Orchid Meadow, the bulb crates are mixed with stumps and wood fragments to create the feeling of a much larger base. Once the ferns and moss are added, the display comes to life and brings to mind a mossy woodland floor, in this case covered with Paphiopedilum tropical lady slipper orchids.
The southwest corner is designed to look like a stylized woodland edge and features a large Liriodendron stump that was harvested from the woodlands on Longwood’s property. The stump itself is covered with mosses and unusual orchids including Dracula, Bulbophyllum, and several large Pleurothallis species.
We achieved a grassy texture in the northwest section with several different sedge cultivars, including Carex laxiculmis ‘Hobb’ Bunny Blue, C. dolichostachya ‘Kaga-nishiki’ Gold Fountains, C. flagellifera ‘Toffee Twist,’ and a Liriope called ‘Evergreen Giant.’
We invite you to visit our Orchid Meadow and explore this collection of unique orchids through March 29.