The Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania (OSWP) will hold its annual Orchid
Show on Saturday, March 21, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, March 22, 10 AM to 4 PM
at the Phipps Garden Center, 1059 Shady Avenue (Fifth & Shady). Admission is free
(donations are appreciated) and the public is invited.
Photographer’s opportunity Sunday 9 a.m. to 10am before show opens to public.
Photographers can have clear access to the exhibits.
The theme of this year’s show is "Sixty years and growing...Orchids." We are celebrating
the 60th anniversary of OSWP. One will be able to understand how easy it is to become
hooked on orchids. Visitors will be astounded to see hundreds of orchids in full bloom
in beautifully staged exhibits. The show will include orchid exhibits, free educational
seminars, plant raffles and sales by vendors from all over the eastern United States &
The orchids and exhibits will be judged by a team of certified American Orchid Society
Judges. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about and acquire orchids.
The Orchid Show is part of the educational mission of the OSWP.
For more information about the Orchid Show, orchids and The Orchid Society of
Western Pennsylvania click here. For more information contact Carolyn Bolton
History of the OSWP
On February 21,1954 18 orchid lovers from throughout Western Pennsylvania met at the local
home of Grete Holst Evans (Mrs. Charles T. Evans Jr.), a gifted gardener, accomplished amateur
artist and lover of orchids since she was ten years old and growing up in the Virgin Islands. After
moving to Mt. Lebanon with her husband, Grete felt that there might be other local growers
who shared her passion and she asked the the American Orchid Society for the names of its
members in the Western Pennsylvania region. The 18 planners then decided to hold a follow-up
meeting one month later, on Valentine’s Day, March 14, to form a local organization.
Frank Curto of Phipps Conservatory proved pivotal to the fledging organization by offering the
Conservatory as a meeting site and ensuring that the event was extensively publicized. To Ms.
Evans surprise, 125 people actually attended the event and many signed on. “Orchid Society
Forms Here with 89 Hobbyists Already Members,” reported the Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph,
following up with the promise “Big Program Ahead for Admirers of Flower” (March 21 1964).
The OSWP continues to flourish today, 60 years later, remaining faithful to the founders’ vision
of affiliating with the American Orchid Society and holding meetings that featured “lectures...
[and] slides by authorities on the subject.”
Two years after its founding, the OSWP introduced its first public orchid show. Initially held
in January until the brutality of a Pittsburgh winter made early members “think spring,” it is
always a well-attended and highly-regarded event that features hobby grower and vendor
displays of orchid plants showcased in beautifully arranged naturalistic settings. Here, visitors
are offered a tantalizing glimpse of the vast variety of orchid species, the opportunity to
appreciate new advances in hybridizing, and a chance to attend free lectures on a range
of beginner and more advanced topics. One measure of the OSWP show’s track record of
excellence is the fact that a phenomenal number of plants have been recognized with American
Orchid Society awards for exceptional quality and breeding over the years. OSWP volunteers,
many wearing “Ask Me about Orchids” buttons, are happy to answer the public’s questions and
to share their insights.