UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

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A few Saturdays ago, my mom and I went to McMillan Greenhouse at UNC Charlotte for their semi-annual plant sale. We went together last year and I bought a beautiful, healthy white orchid. It’s still thriving but I had some questions about how to care for it, so I was glad the greenhouse sale was coming up.

The greenhouse is magical inside. There are so many varieties of orchids to see.

orchids at UNC Charlotte greenhouse

So many colors, shapes and sizes.

Purple orchids

Most of the orchids in the greenhouse are permanent residents. They do, however, have a great assortment of plants for sale. It’s not just limited to orchids either. They have succulents, tropicals, carnivorous and more.

Spotted Tropical Plant Leaves

Aren’t those spotted leaves beautiful??

Classroom Lesson

We sat in on one of the lectures that they offered. I got some great information about how to care for the orchid I had at home. After it bloomed last year, a few of the leaves turned yellow. I was sure it was a sign that I’d killed yet another orchid. But a few weeks later, I noticed a couple new leaves emerging! Our teacher told us that it’s necessary for the orchid to lose older leaves and regenerate new ones before it blooms again. Phew!

Phal Orchid

So what did I buy?? It was so hard to choose! I ended up getting an orchid that reminded my of my childhood. There is a flower called the Lady Slipper that grows in damp wooded areas. It blooms some time in May. I remember playing in the woods and thinking that they were so incredibly beautiful and exotic. It almost looked like something that would great in a tropical paradise, not in cold snowy Massachusetts. I had to resist the urge to pick them. I was always told they were endangered and it’s technically illegal to pick or transplant them. So I’d crouch down and stare instead.

Here she is opening up:

Orchid opening up

I didn’t realize that the greenhouse is open every day! If you need a dose of beauty, you definitely need to stop by.

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