28 Mar It’s a ‘Wild World’: Our Recap of the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show
Flower show season is in full swing, and we are here for it. Ryan and I recently attended the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show like we did last year, but this time as invited guests and guided by the show’s plant registrar Heidi Kirkpatrick.
The 71st annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show was held at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. The theme? “Wild World of Orchids,” a dive into the diversity of this family of plants 25,000 species strong.
Special attention was paid to the vanilla orchid. That’s right—those flavorful pods actually come from an orchid, a vine called Vanilla planifolia. We saw flowers we never could have imagined, like a Pleurothallis whose flower resembles a colorful clam floating on a flat wide leaf. We wondered where the jewel orchid, with its pinstriped black foliage and minimal light requirements, had been all our life. We even did our first Periscope broadcast. Then we went shopping! Wait until you see the beauties we brought home.
For us, this year’s show had one very special enhancement: our friend Warren Keller was along for the wild, wonderful ride.
Warren, you might remember, is one of the best gardeners on Instagram (@warrensgarden), and he’s become a friend of ours in real life. He’s made several appearances on The Horticult—like in this post where he shares his preferred soil mix for succulents, and our agave hijinks here. Warren lives in Lompoc, a little less than an hour north of Santa Barbara, and offers generous advice to plant lovers around the world.
So we were thrilled to attend the show with a fellow avid gardener with whom we could also take goofy plant selfies. As relative newbies to the orchid world, we also loved this chance to get up close and personal with the Orchidaceae family. After all, that’s what shows like this are all about.
We’ll let the plants do the rest of the talking. (The only thing these photos can’t do is recreate the perfumed air that hits you the second you walk in.) Read on to check out the day’s most showboating orchids…