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Flower shows brighten winter's gray days

Think spring by attending a nearby flower show.

By Beth J. HarpazAP Travel Editor / February 24, 2009

Brent Johnson/Missouri Botanical Garden/AP

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New York

Enough already with chilly gray winter. Time to pick up a bouquet of bright pink tulips and start thinking about spring.

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In many places, it will be weeks before daffodils and hyacinths start peeking through the ground, but there are plenty of flower shows to see in the meantime.

Some are big annual events with themes that change every year, such as the famous Philadelphia Flower Show, this year March 1 to 8 with a "Bella Italia" theme,  (tickets, $22).

Other displays focus on one type of flower, such as the various orchid shows that showcase the jungle plant's intense blooms at gardens and exhibit halls around the country.

One of those annual orchid shows held each year just as the cold weather starts to lift is at the New York Botanical Garden."We're in the last gray days of winter," says Marc Hachadourian, curator of NYBG's Glasshouse Collection. "What better place to be than a tropical paradise filled with exotic orchids?"

Here's more information about orchid shows scheduled soon. Following is a list of other flower shows:

The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx hosts its seventh annual orchid show, this year showcasing the plants in a contemporary Brazilian garden design with fountains, pools, mosaics, and palms. "The Orchid Show: Brazilian Modern" takes place Feb. 28 to April 12. The garden is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; admission, $20.

-  The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and has been hosting orchid shows for an impressive 91 of those years. The orchid show is called "Henry's Garden," named for Henry Shaw, who founded the garden in 1959. The show features more than 800 orchids with a Victorian theme, including a three-tiered fountain, large planters brimming with flowers, wrought-iron lamp posts, urns, and other period pieces to suggest a 19th century courtyard. The show runs through March 15 (garden open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $11).

-  Among the best places to view orchids are local and regional shows sponsored by orchid societies. The South Florida Orchid Society bills the 63rd Miami International Orchid Show as the largest exhibiting orchid show in the country. It will take place Feb. 27 to March 1 with a theme of "Secret Orchid Gardens" at the Doubletree Miami Mart/Airport Hotel and Exhibition Center. The program includes a juried awards competition, daily demonstrations by orchid experts, and sales of thousands of orchids and related items.