Belmont & Gaston County, NC
Orchid Conservatory | Belmont-Gaston County, NC
A Crystal PalaceVery near Charlotte, in the charming town of Belmont, you’ll find the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. The centerpiece is their Orchid Conservatory, a massive, 8,000 square-foot, five-story glass building that is the region’s only public conservatory dedicated to tropical plants.
Those who love such delicious tropicals as orchids and bromeliads will be enchanted. Check out the Cascade Wall and prepare for amazement as you look up to see perhaps the perfect setting for orchids. Did you know that vanilla comes from a unique orchid, primarily found in Mexico? We didn’t either. Look for it when you visit.
Four beautiful arches holding 10,000 tillandsias or bromeliads from South America are not to be missed. And there’s more. At any given time, at least 300 orchids are on display. You will find blooms year round. There are 40 different types of begonias living inside the conservatory, as well as 12 different tropical trees.
Ten different cycads, representing all three of the cycad families are on display. (These types of plants have been with us since dinosaur days.) And you can see a lovely representation of national flowers from a number of countries, including Tahiti, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Libya and Singapore, among others.
While there, plan to spend quality time in various sections of the garden, named one of the nation’s “20 Great Gardens,” by HGTV. Our favorites include the Cottage Garden, with its scents from generations past, the White Garden, with white blooms all year, and the Allee Garden, with its image-enticing tunnel fountain. (Children love to play under the water. Brides like it for its unique frame for that special dress.)
WOW Factor: Among the trees on display are the ones which supply the fragrant oils used to create Chanel No. 5 and Joy – two of the world’s favorite perfumes. Perhaps the most impressive tree is the ceiba, commonly called the floss silk tree. At 30+ feet tall, it’s a most unusual specimen. Notice the thorns, or prickles – wicked!
Hint: Consider this a year-round adventure, and although you might think it’s more for adults, there are great kid-friendly activities, including a children’s garden and plenty of space for running. The garden shop often has plants and always features great gifts (for yourself or others).
www.dsbg.org | www.go2gaston.org
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