An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

January 23, 2010

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory

After meaning to do so for sometime, I finally got around to visiting the Phyllis and Arthur Kaplan Orchid Conservatory on Friday. I have known about this facility since before it opened last year, but have not made the time to visit. Prompted by a recent article in the Daily Press and by a post from new found blogger, GCV Horticulture - I decided to visit. I really have had no excuse as the Conservatory is within walking distance of the house, plus Friday was such a grim, gray day, perfect for a trip to the tropics.

The late Dr. Kaplan happened to be the doctor of choice for my wife's family before he retired. When he wasn't practicing medicine, he was active in philanthropy as well as enjoying his passion for roses and orchids. His orchid collection as well as large monetary donations were given to Old Dominion University to build the 2.1 million dollar facility. There are several greenhouses used for growing orchids and for botany research. The display greenhouse is open at no charge to the public weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory (2)

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory (3)

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory (28)

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory (5)

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory (13)

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory (25)

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory (24)

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory (10)

Kaplan Orchid Conservatory (15)

I apologize that I do not have names for the orchids. My one suggestion for the facility would be to have more clearly visible labels. If you would like to see some more photos from the Conservatory, you can click here.


  1. So, you couldn't see if anyone else wanted to go???
    I have been meaning to go over there as well. I enjoyed the article in the paper.

  2. Wow, those orchids are simply spectacular.

  3. I'd hadn't heard about this facility - thanks for letting me know! Great photos. Maybe Janet and I can plan a trip down there...

  4. I know I should care but I do not care about the names ... unless I want to find them to grow... I would forget them anyway!! Your images are stunning! Within walking distance! Lucky you! Thanks so for sharing. ;>)

  5. Hi Les, now there's ANOTHER place I need to make time to visit! I still haven't gotten to the ones right near me, let alone down your way. But, you never know--with me going down there occasionally to visit my daughter, it never hurts to have the names of garden-related places!

  6. Les, Thanks for the link. Lucky you to live so close to Kaplan Conservatory. I'm sure you'll be a regular visitor now. Wonderful photos!

  7. Thanks- just what I needed on a gray MI day. We have a lovley bontanical garden here - Fred Meijer- that we have a family membership to. Thanks for reminding me to go soak in the green and look at the orchids.

  8. That looks like a fun place. And a great photo op! You really take fantastic photos.

  9. Janet,
    It was sort of a last minute thing, but if you would like to go in the future, I am up for it again. Plan on another activity as well, what you get to see does not take that long.

    Sweet Bay,
    They were indeed.

    Let me know when you plan to come.

    For my own self, I don't care about the names. But there are people who do and they always ask if I don't provide.

    Unless you are an orchid person, I wouldn't make a special trip, but if you are already in town I'd go.

    It it a good thing to live so close. ODU is now a bear to park near. You are welcome for the link.

    You are welcome. A family membership in a Bot. garden is a great investment, especially to get the kids out.

    Thanks for the kind compliment.


  10. Thanks for the tour. Stunning orchid photos. A reminder to take some time for visiting some inside gardens while the weather is still on the cold side. Looking at those tropical orchids I feel warmer already...

  11. The green one had me breathing heavy. I think we've had that conversation before.

  12. John,
    As lovely as they are, I have no desire to grow any. I leave all the trouble to someone else and just enjoy the view.

    I hope you have had a chance to recover. Thanks for stopping by.


  13. Oh thanks for that pick me up, Les! That this fine display is open and free is the best thing in the world. While all are beautiful, it is the Paphs, the lady's slipper that makes my heart race. Excellent captures. :-)

  14. Looks like it was the perfect antidote to a gloomy day! Lovely photos...

  15. Frances,
    I thought about you when I saw those Lady Slippers, since you show them at Faire Garden. They don't remind me of footwear though, a little more sexy/sinister.

    Yes, I felt much better after the visit.


  16. Thanks Les. We consider sinister sexy a very good thing around here! I like to be associated with that. :-)

  17. I adore orchids--they are elegant and mysterious all at once. I would love to take a stroll through that collection.

    Lovely photos!

  18. Wow! Check out those colors. These are welcome images in mid winter. I’ve always loved orchids. Beautiful, beautiful photos. Thanks for taking us on the tour. I feel warmer already. Now it's time to put on my snowshoes.

  19. I came SO close to purchasing an orchid yesterday it was not even funny. I simply do not like houseplants due to the mess and the time they take so I opted out. I gotta tell you though, those Wal-mart orchids were so exquisite and perfect I had to touch them to see if they were real. The shippers did a great job getting them to market in A-1 condition. They are most lovely and it's nice to view them in person like you did.

  20. They are extra special! gail

  21. Frances,
    You are welcome.

    I agree with you but will let other people grow them.

    The colors were indeed amazing, not just for their intensity, but also for their range.

    If you are going to get them from Mall Wart, make sure you are there when the truck delivers. Their plants tend to have a short shelf life.

    Thanks for stopping by. I do hope you are feeling better.


  22. Les, you'd like Singapore. The orchid is very popular there.

  23. Thanks for the lovely photos I will soon be visiting also!