Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Is In Full Bloom at the New York Botanical Garden's 10th Annual Orchid Show.

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Houses The 10th Annual Orchid Show.
Photo by WGINY.
Situated on 250 acres of prime property, and operating since 1891, the landmarked New York Botanical Garden is a serene escape from a city known for its towering skyscrapers and urban overcrowding, to a kaleidoscope of color and the brilliant face of Mother Nature.  Through April 22, the main exhibit at the Garden is the The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc's Vertical Gardens.  The Orchid Show, now in its 10th year, is housed in the Garden's "Enid A. Haupt Conservatory," an immense greenhouse modeled on a similar structure at the British Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.  The show features a rotating annual theme-- last year's theme focused on Broadway, while this year's show highlights "Vertical Gardens" designed by artist and botanist Patrick Blanc. 

"The Waterfall Wall"
Photo by Talisman Brolin. Used with permission.
Entering the Conservatory, visitors are immediately transported into a lush, tropical rainforest, where a flowering "Waterfall Wall," designed by Blanc, greets guests.  Continuing through the various halls of the Conservatory, look up, through trees and all around, as Spring is blooming everywhere.

On display are vanilla orchids (a building block of vanilla extract), butterfly orchids, rainbow orchids, reed orchids, and more, from every corner of the globe.  Make sure to read the placards situated around the exhibit so as to be able to discern the "butterfly" from the "rainbow" orchids and pinpoint which orchids originate from the Americas, or from as far off as China and Vietnam.
Orchid Close-up.
Photo by WGINY.
Rainbow Orchid Close-up.
Photo by WGINY.
Reflecting Pool.
Photo by WGINY.
Let the fragrant aromas of these flowers guide you from the forest to the desert, as you move through the Conservatory.  Although exhibits at the Conservatory change frequently, some of the surrounding flora remains perennially.  There's more to this exhibit than just orchids. Don't neglect the other well-preserved beauties, such as the deserts of the Americas and Africa, or the reflecting pool in the "Palms of the World Gallery."
Nevertheless, if it is orchids you came to see, you can rest assured that approaching what can only be described as the grand finale rooms of the show (aka "The Seasonal Exhibition Galleries") will make visitors squeal, "Oh my, oh my, oh my!" (Yes, that is a direct quote from an anonymous guest...).

"Visitors Enjoy a Cube of Orchids"
Photo by Talisman Brolin. Used with permission.
Patrick Blanc has arranged thousands of vibrant orchids, creating stunning "walls of living foliage" that mesmerize the eyes.  Blanc's method allows flowers and vines to grow along walls without any soil.

In the first room of these Seasonal Exhibition Galleries stands a 13' x 13' cube, both aesthetically and architecturally pleasing, made of walls lined with vertical foliage, and housing some of Blanc's personal reflections on his works, as well as images and drawings of how vertical walls have been practically applied, such as on buildings in Paris, from where the designer hails.

Bursting with brilliant arrays of orchids, this year's show, "Patrick Blanc's Vertical Gardens" is truly a visual treat. Click here to purchase tickets to the Garden, which includes admission to the entire grounds, as well as the Orchid Show.  Ticket and membership purchases help Garden conservation.

"Orchids at the New York Botanical Garden"
Photo by Robert Benson. Used with permission.
Reed Orchids.
Photo by WGINY.

More Tips For Attending the Orchid Show
Take a personalized audio tour using your cell phone, by dialing (718) 362-9561 in the Conservatory, and keeping an eye out for placards with tour codes. 

The Orchid Show is an extremely family-friendly environment.  Children of all ages are welcome and will be especially happy if they have their own camera or can at least borrow Mom's camera-phone. 

Don't miss the display of miniature orchids at the show, encased in glass for the plants' protection, these small wonders can contain hundreds to thousands of tiny blooms. 

Wear appropriate shoes.  Remember, you are walking through a rainforest and a desert...  

If you'd like to see the orchids at night, while sipping on a complimentary cocktail and jiving to a DJ, you may enjoy "Orchid Evenings," which takes place every Saturday night throughout the Orchid Show, as well as Friday, April 20.

For the true orchid enthusiast, there are orchid-themed films, classes and lectures available almost daily throughout the show. 

Finally, when you do head out to explore the remainder of the garden (which could take half a day), make sure to grab a map.  You'll avoid getting lost, and you'll know the locations of all tram stops should you tire early.  

Snapshots of Other Suggested Areas to Explore at the Garden
(All remaining photos are by WGINY)
Magnolia Trees are Getting Ready to Bloom... 

Cherry Blossom Trees are ... Blossoming!
The Children's Garden features activities for young folks. 

Picturesque, Historic Stone Mill.

Daffodils on Display: Don't Stare Too Long at This "Narcissus"... 


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  2. Glad you like the pictures, the show was beautiful!