Orchids in bloom at Mill Creek Park

Spring feels particularly distant this week as low temperatures hit the Valley, but a kaleidoscope of color is in bloom at Mill Creek MetroParks.

The annual orchid show, Jewels of Winter, opened Tuesday inside Fellows Riverside Gardens.

“It’s always nice this time of year to see color. People come here to the gardens to see the exhibits, see the flowers, grab a cup of soup in the cafe, warm up their senses and get ready for spring,” said Fellows director Andrew Pratt.

The orchids featured in the display vary widely in shape, color, size and scent.

One variety, called Sharry Baby or chocolate orchids, has small, burgundy flowers and emits a distinct cocoa aroma.

In this winter’s exhibit, the flowers are paired with pieces from the collection at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry & Labor.

Fellows staff collaborated with the museum to select artifacts, including a sample of iron ore, safety glasses and industrial boots.

“This year we decided to have an homage to the Valley’s industrial roots, specifically the steel industrial roots of the Valley. … We thought it would be a nice juxtaposition between flowers and harsher artifacts,” said Pratt.

In keeping with the theme, Fellows staff constructed a fountain out of an old drum cap from a fuel tank.

During the display, the Gardens will host two orchid-repotting clinics Feb. 9 and 19. Interested participants can bring their own orchids or purchase them at the clinic.

Although orchids are difficult to care for, their flowers are surprisingly hardy.

“By the end of the show, most of these flowers should be there,” said Pratt.

The show will run until March 3. Fellows Riverside Gardens is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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