Preview: Orchids at the Prague Botanic Garden
A complex flower on full display in capital's botanical garden
Posted: March 6, 2013
Perhaps as a means to force spring into bloom after this long winter, the Prague Botanical Garden in Troja has begun its eighth annual display of orchids, likely to draw thousands of visitors as it has every year so far.
Over more than 40 hectares (about 100 acres), the Prague Botanical Garden offers open-air exhibitions, a Japanese garden, the tropical greenhouse Fata Morgana and much more. It is under continuous development through 2017 in an effort to become not just one of the city's best attractions, but one of the best in the world.
The Prague Botanical Garden consistently cooperates with other institutions and growers to collect and present a representative sample of the flowers currently in bloom. The exhibited flowers are borrowed from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, the Garden School Malešice or private growers.
"There is always at least one orchid blossoming in the collection of the botanical garden during the year," curator Jan Ponert said. "But it is always a different kind. At this time of year, just before spring, the largest amount of flowers are in bloom at the same time, which is why we organize the exhibition for this moment. The problem is to get enough samples from the cooperating growers to fill the exhibition with blossoming orchids. The Botanical Garden's collection alone would not be sufficient, although it comprises some 1,000 species."
When: Tues.-Sun., 9 a.m.-8 p.m., through March 24
Where: Prague Botanical Garden in Troja
Tickets: 120 Kč for adults; 60 Kč for children, students and seniors
Visitors to the Prague Botanical Garden will have the opportunity to admire some exceptional and uncommon orchids, for example the Vanda, with its special blue blossoms. Next is the Paraphalaenopsis Labukensis orchid, which only grows naturally in the northwest of the island Borneo. Another interesting plant is the Lycaste cochleata, which was brought directly to the Prague Botanical Garden by employees of a botanical garden in Guatemala who had saved it from the path of a new roadway.
In addition to the many rare orchids at the exhibition, visitors can expect special botanical arrangements, lectures led by the professionals and plenty of flowers on sale should they want souvenirs that will keep on giving. Orchids offered here for sale will be healthy and high-quality. Mostly, collectors will have the opportunity to buy flowers they won't find in shops. Ponert says some shops inject white orchids with dye to turn them blue, or even simply spray-paint them, either way a process that is cruel to the plant and deceptive for consumers.
The Prague Botanical Garden, on the other hand, takes special care of both its plants and its visitors. Věra Bidlová, the director, says this time of year can be hard on orchids. They can be easily damaged by frost or improper transfers, and keeping them healthy and looking good requires the cooperation of several departments at the botanical garden and elsewhere.
"We start putting the exhibition together a week before the opening, and that's the hardest part," Bidlová says. "We have to put the plants in display cases and label them in a very short time. Also, the arrangement takes a lot of time. We want to offer our visitors something new every year, so the requirements just get higher and higher."
Monika Ticháčková can be reached at