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Warm up at colorful orchid and garden shows

Orchid and garden shows are a wonderful way to warm up during winter and enjoy some colorful floral beauty.

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The theme of the garden's eighth annual orchid show is Cuba, showcasing plants amid depictions of Old Havana and the Cuban countryside, including a tribute to Cuba's Soroa Orchidarium, a garden devoted to preserving and cultivating orchids and tropical plants.

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"In a blending of architecture, design, landscape, and color, we wanted to create an experience for the visitor that was dramatic, vibrant, and colorful while introducing elements of the Cuban experience that evoke the feel and look of the landscape and the country that I knew as a child," Jorge Sanchez, who grew up in Cuba and designed the exhibit, said in a statement.

Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, "Orchid Show," through March 28. Orchids are displayed amid a French-inspired temporary streetscape and garden, including an image of the Eiffel Tower. The garden's collection of more than 8,000 individual orchid plants mostly comprises winter-blooming orchids that are rotated in and out of the show as they come into flower.

The garden's orchid collection dates back to its founding era more than 150 years ago. "The first orchids at the Missouri Botanical Garden were a gift to our founder Henry Shaw in the 1800s," said garden spokeswoman Karen Hagenow.

Atlanta Botanical Garden, "Orchid Daze: Towers of Flowers," through April 11.

The event takes place in the garden's Fuqua Orchid Center, which houses one of the largest collections of species orchids in the United States. The show transforms the concept of a garden as a horizontal carpet into a vertical spectacle, with orchids spilling from towering columns.

"The carpets climb the walls and become vibrant wallpapers and flowing banners," said the show's designer, Tres Fromme of Mesa Design Group, in a statement. Special events include orchid care clinics, March 6 and April 3, 10 a.m. until noon; the Atlanta Orchid Society Show, March 13; and Vanilla Sunday, March 21, with cooking demonstrations. (The vanilla plant is a member of the orchid family.)

Orchid Society shows: Find a complete list of local Orchid Society shows at the American Orchid Society website (click on "Events" and then "Show Schedule.")

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