The coronavirus has claimed a rite of spring.
Fears over the spread of COVID-19 have prompted the cancellation of popular home and garden shows all over the area.
The Great Big Home + Garden Show in Cleveland has been pushed to March 2022 at the Huntington Convention Center.
And the Medina County Home and Garden Show, traditionally held at the fairgrounds, will be a virtual affair only on March 6 and 7.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still stop and smell the flowers — albeit at a social distance.
The Holden Forest & Gardens is moving ahead with its “Orchids Forever” show at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
The show opened last weekend to sellout crowds and will run through April 11.
The experience will be a bit different this year as visitors will not simply be allowed to amble up and buy a ticket and freely wander around the exhibit space and large glasshouse biodomes.
Face masks will be required along with timed tickets purchased in advance at cbgarden.org. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for kids.
Pathways through the displays will be one-way only to ensure guests are spaced apart.
Organizers are letting in 25 guests every 30 minutes but have extended the show’s traditional five-week run to nine weeks to ensure more folks can escape the winter blues.
Jillian Slane, director of exhibits and experience, said there will also be fewer orchids on display as organizers have had to shrink the show some to ensure guests can easily navigate the one-way path.
But that doesn’t mean there still will not be a colorful assortment of orchids.
There are hundreds of Phalaenopsis orchids on display alone in a towering orchid sculpture dubbed “Orchids in Bloom” designed by copper, resin and steel artists Mark Lagergren and Anthony M. Ball.
The Eppig Gallery features a display of orchids that tells a bit about the history of the flower.
Clark Hall is set up like a conservation laboratory with orchids in test tubes and digital projections of orchids under microscopes.
Paintings featuring orchids by artist Gunter Schwegler are also on display.
The Glasshouse rainforest features orchid species from Africa, Asia, Australia and Central America.
There are thousands of orchids on display — many coming from a grower in Oberlin along with others from Broadview Heights and Hawaii.
The most unusual and rare orchids on display this year can be found in the biodome.
Horticulturist Mark Bir said there are two Bulbophyllum orchids that are native to Asia and can be found growing on trees. They are on loan from a private orchid enthusiast and grower who lives in Cuyahoga County.
“They almost look alien,” he said. “They are what we call species because they are straight from the wild.”
Of interest to kids will be the Rainforest Creature Feature where guests can meet the critters from dart frogs to Madagascar hissing roaches who call the Glasshouse home at 1 and 2 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.
Slane said guests with smartphones can take a picture of a special QR code that will open up a window that will offer more information about the origins of a particular orchid.
The popular Ask the Orchid Doctor clinics will be virtual this year and available at cbgarden.org on the internet.
While the coronavirus has forced the Cleveland Botanical Garden to scale back its annual show a bit, garden spokeswoman Margaret Thresher said interest in plants has not waned in the pandemic.
She points to the January attendance at the outdoor Holden Arboretum in Kirtland — in the heart of the Snow Belt — that had just 40 visitors that month in 2020.
This past month, Thresher said, 400 visitors braved the snow and cold to wander around the expansive outdoor collection.
Bir said interest in orchids is on the rise, too.
Folks are trying new things amid the pandemic, Bir said, and quickly discovering that orchids, while delicate and intimidating-looking, are pretty resilient.
Many of the orchids sold locally were grown in Oberlin and were genetically engineered to be hardy.
There are some 40,000 species documented in the wild, he said, and tens of thousands of new varieties are being cultivated by growers.
There are 47 native species found in the wild in Ohio.
“At the show, we try to bring in colors from throughout the world,” Slane said. “Interest on orchids really has grown a lot amid COVID.”
Craig Webb, who may or may have killed an orchid or two in his lifetime, can be reached at [email protected].
What: “Orchids Forever”
Where: Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland
When: Show runs through April 11
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; noon to 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Tickets: $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 3 to 12. Must be purchased in advance at cbgarden.org
For more: Visit cbgarden.org/orchids-forever