There’s more to orchids than their vivid colors, delicate structure, and eye-popping beauty. To the ancient Greeks, orchids were a symbol of fertility; Victorian-era Europeans viewed them as a symbol of luxury and elegance; in Christianity, the exquisite flowers symbolize the blood of Christ; and to the Aztecs, they represented strength. The brilliant, bulb-like blooms are globally known for their health benefits and healing properties. There are many meanings and uses of the Orchidaceae, but there’s one thing everyone can agree on: These buds are one-of-a-kind beauties. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables) will showcase more than 10,000 orchids at the International Orchid Festival. A plethora of the titular flowers, including coral ones with yellow bursts, white ones that look like they’ve been splattered with burgundy paint, and vanilla ones known for giving vanilla its robust flavor, will be on display. The festival will host garden workshops and interactive walking tours that will reveal the natural habitat of the plants. There will also be an edible garden, a tropical fruit pavilion, and the Orchid Tea Room, where you can explore the various tastes of orchid. And if you fall into the tantalizing spell of these blossoms, international and local vendors will offer the plants for sale. In addition, you’ll also have the chance to explore the Wings of the Tropic butterfly exhibit, which opened last December. There will also be art installations scattered throughout the garden, including John Chamberlain’s aluminum sculptures; Sitting Naturally benches, which are wooden, iron, and steel creations where guests can sit and enjoy artistic surprises such as a chandelier; and an African exhibit of Chapungu sculptures from the Shona tribe of Zimbabwe. And of course, no festival would be complete without food and live entertainment.
March 8-10, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 2013