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Edgeworth woman takes passion for orchids to annual show

Kristina Serafini | Sewickley He
Standing in front of a flower painting done by her sister Kathleen Scott Gallagher, Cynthia Scott holds a potted orchid inside her Edgeworth home Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Scott is participating in the annual orchid show at Phipps Garden Center in Pittsburgh next weekend.

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What: Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania's annual orchid show.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; photography opportunity from 9 to 10 a.m. Sunday.

Where: Phipps Garden Center, 1059 Shady Ave., Point Breeze

Admission: Free.

Information: Go to

By Joanne Barron
Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 3:37 p.m.

Cynthia Scott's favorite flowers help her to greet visitors.

The colorful orchids are one of the focal points in her Edgeworth home, as a display of the flowers in vases sits right inside the front door. Orchids can be seen in several other rooms as well.

“It's so great to see them every time I come home. They are just so graceful and beautiful. They look happy to me,” she said.

A member of the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania, she never misses the annual show, to be held this year on Saturday and Sunday at Phipps Garden Center in Point Breeze. Scott said she is not a grower.

She calls herself an orchid appreciator who has taken educational seminars offered at the shows each year.

She said despite the myth that orchids are hard to grow and maintain, they are easier to take care of and last longer than most flowers.

“For such a delicate flower, they are very sturdy,” she said.

As long as they are not watered too much and are placed in the “right spot” with the correct light, the flowers can live for months, and there is no problem with disease, she said. The plants should be purchased when they have lots of buds, not when a lot of buds are open.

From the seminars, Scott has learned to put three or four ice cubes in with the orchids once a week to make them last longer.

Scott said she fell in love with orchids and started buying the plants about seven years ago after attending a flower show.

“Then, I got hooked,” she said.

It used to be that orchids could be bought only at farms, she said, but now, local grocery stores sell the plants.

“And, they aren't that expensive anymore,” Scott said.

The “most spectacular” orchids can be found at the annual show, she said.

“The growers they bring in are fantastic.”

The theme this year is “Orchids, the Gems of the Plant World.”

Featured will be displays of hundreds of orchids in full bloom, seminars and lectures, plant raffles, sales of hard-to-find growing supplies and sales of a variety of orchids from society members and growers all over the eastern United States and Ecuador.

The orchids and exhibits will be judged by certified American Orchid Society judges.

Arlene Ricker,of Canonsburg, local society second vice president and publicity chairman, said this year for the first time there will be an orchid photography exhibit.

Photos will be judged by photographer and society member Jim Yamber of Oakdale,who will teach an orchid photography workshop.

Orchid grower Mary Lou Kosis of Edgeworth is secretary of the society and is chairwoman of the clerking committee for this year's show — in charge of placing ribbons on the winning plants, keeping records of the winners, and answering questions at the show.

Kosis has been involved with the show for more than 30 years and has garnered a few hundred ribbons and trophies. At one time, she cared for more than 1,500 orchids.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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