American Riviera Wow: Orchid Show

The historic blossom bash features some of the most fabulous flowers around.

IT ISN'T SPRINGTIME, so much, that gets our flower-obsessed, sunshine-seeking, breeze-desiring hearts aflutter so much as the weeks before the spring even arrives. For while the season may officially kick off 'round the third week in March, buds and blossoms and leafy things are going to town long before that particular moment arrives. It is a moment filled with happy portent — happytent, if you will — and it reminds us that this is the year we actually wanted to grow roses, or a fig tree, or, what is an ultimate dream for many horticulture mavens, orchids. Finding inspiration — or orchidspiration, if you will — just ahead of spring's start, though, isn't too hard. For sure, you can do research online, or ask some orchid-knowledgeable friends, but a visit to Santa Barbara, and the Earl Warren Showgrounds, from Friday, March 17 through Sunday, March 19 will surely set you on your path to orchid-growing pleasure. For that's where/when the...

SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL ORCHID SHOW... takes place, and the 72nd annual go-around will be as big and as glorious as an especially impressive tiger orchid bloom. A large-scale flower market is a central feature, and an orchid-riffic art show, and corsages on display, and a visit by the Orchid Doctor, Bruce Kidd (so arrive with your orchid-focused queries). The petal-delicate, hearty-of-spirit extravaganza is a true long-runner on the flower scene, but it isn't only longtime growers who attend. Newcomers to orchid love are also a major part of the party, and everyone can find some ideas, some tips, and some new specimens to dote upon over the three-day happening. Do you feel spring on approach, way in the distance? It isn't too far, which means flowery daydreams, probably about awesome orchids you've grown on your own, are soon to start.

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