Friday, February 27, 2015

The Orchid Show - NYBG

Yesterday I caught a train to the New York Botanical Garden.

Why? Orchids! My editor at Gardenista had asked me to write a story about the new orchid show "Chandeliers" that opens tomorrow (find the story, orchids growing tips and photos here; warning, you may want to buy an orchid, afterwards), and I was lucky to have been part of a preview, before thousands of visitors arrive.

A great advantage of our new Harlem address is its proximity to the Harlem-125th Street Metro-North stop, making a trip to the Bronx as short as 20 minutes, door to door. From Brooklyn it took almost two hours, with a change from subway to train at Grand Central.

The short and simple ride was not without incident. Absorbed in an email I was writing on my phone I missed my stop, and had to backtrack, going sprawling on black ice on the platform in the process. I have very interesting knee-bruise.

But safely at the NYBG I was suddenly in a winter wonderland. No black slush, here, but lawns of white. 

And inside the massively ornate Enid A. Haupt Conservatory the damp warmth made me pull off insulating layers, and instantly fogged up every one of my three camera lenses. Momentary panic. It took 10 minutes for them to de-fog.

It was an educating experience and I learned more than I expected (my own experience of orchids has been in the wild, with fynbos and grassland species, not tropicals).

The show is layed out interactively, with very well chosen information displayed. I came away able to ID the orchids on display without flashcards, and the new-found appreciation that some orchids are scented.

Phalaenopsis, the familiar moth orchids, above. 

Dendrobiums - cane orchids. 

The show opens tomorrow, and runs till April 19th.


  1. What a treasure NYBG is- I wish I could live on the premises! Great photos! Going to read your story now instead of doing my work :).

  2. Thanks for the information. I will be in NY at the end of March. This made me happy today!

  3. Am so glad for this peek at the orchid show. Mother raised orchids for years - even had a small green house - so i am neither in awe of them, nor afraid to try my hand. Sadly, however, we have discovered that there is enough gas emitted from our gas fireplace that as soon as they start to set buds, the buds shrivel and drop off ... from the gas. So, unless i get a greenhouse, it's not going to happen for me. Appreciate your going in my stead. sorry about the knee.

    1. That's very interesting, webb... How did you work out that it was the gas?

  4. Wonderful pictures of the orchid house! So much beauty around!
    All my best and warmer days

  5. ". . . and everything else that has nothing to do with winter." Just lovely! Thanks for the splendid photos, too. I am now determined to get into town to our Phipps Conservatory (a reason all its own for 36 hours in Pittsburgh!) Phipps is display and learning center for botany, horticulture, climate science, as well as home gardening. Modern (Chihuly, Frabel) and classical statuary are incorporated in the garden rooms - wonderfully restorative. One last Pittsburgh plug - Marie, you mentioned the inexpensive orchid plants found in big box stores having a high cost in distance travelled. A number of the phalenopsis plants come from the Bidwell Training Center on the north side of Pittsburgh - a tremendous resource for career training and creative arts development. Not too far :-)
    Sorry about your knee, but I so appreciate your post and photos!

    1. Ah, interesting, Diane. I'm glad you mentioned that. In the Gardenista piece I actually meant - but now see that it is ambiguous - that they have traveled far in terms of going from super-expensive to super-cheap, by means of breeding, not in miles traveled. Enjoy the Phipps!


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