Due to the ongoing pandemic, the New York Botanical Garden canceled their annual Orchid Show. If it’s one of your favorite New York City traditions, don’t cry. NYBG has scheduled an orchid alternative that will keep you in blooms!
When is the Orchid Show at the NYBG?
When it’s still snowing in March, I get depressed. After a long winter, I’m ready to hose off the patio furniture, pick up flats of pansies at Home Depot and make a decision about whether or not this is the last year I can go sleeveless.
The sure-fire way to beat the winter blues in early spring is a trip to the annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden, located near Arthur Avenue, New York’s real Little Italy. Featuring the iconic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the NYBG is home to all good things flora. Normally held from mid-February to mid-April, the annual Orchid Show in the Bronx, is a dazzling display of common and exotic species.
Sadly, the 2021 show has been canceled. But there’s still an orchid celebration planned.
2021 Intimate “Spotlight on Orchids”
From February 20 – April 4, 2021, visitors to the Haupt Conservatory can observe orchids in their native habitats. Flowers in white and blazing colors will be planted throughout the permanent plant collections in the Conservatory. Bring the kids and play a variation on “Where’s Waldo?” as you try to spot the gorgeous blooms.
“Spotlight on Orchids” is open to all visitors with the purchase of an advance, timed Garden Pass + Conservatory ticket, which includes access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and outdoor gardens and collections. Visit nybg.org/visit for more information or to purchase tickets.
NYBG looks forward to the return of its annual Orchid Show in 2022.
Past Highlights of the NYBG Orchid Show
“I want visitors to come away with an unforgettable impression of the color and beauty of orchids.” That was Jeffrey Leatham’s goal in designing the 2020 Annual Orchid Show. Leatham is a noted celebrity floral designer and creative director of the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris. The 2020 exhibit felt very intentional, in a good way. The displays were lush, colorful and repetitive to reflect the kaleidoscope theme.
The 2019 orchid exhibition featured a partnership with the Singapore Botanical Gardens and Gardens by the Bay. Guess what the national flower of Singapore is? Duh! The NYBG went to Asia in 2015 too, replicating a Thai “sala” – a traditional pavilion for relaxation, draped with exotic orchids. Both Thailand and Singapore pride themselves on a rich history of cultivating orchids.
An Orchid that Smells Like Vanilla?
Old favorites re-appear at the NYBG Orchid Show. Pansy orchids echo the shape and color of spring’s more familiar harbingers and showy corsage orchids attract crowds of photographers. I enjoy the muted shades of some of the taupe and mauve specimens. Did you know that the vanilla bean (used to make pure vanilla extract) is the seed pod of the vanilla orchid? Imagine a room that smells like Grandma’s baking but looks like her chintz sofa.
The Darwin Star is a perennial favorite. Apparently Charles Darwin, after examining a sample of this orchid, insisted that a moth with an extremely long insect tongue must exist in order to pollinate it (think Gene Simmons). Darwin was roundly mocked as no such moth was known to exist in Madagascar, the orchid’s home. Four decades after Darwin’s death, a moth was discovered with brag-worthy tongue proportions supporting the naturalist’s theories.
Take Home an Orchid
The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, NY, uses the hashtag #plantlove to reinforce the vital connection between people and the living world. One way you can participate is to purchase an orchid. Several varieties are available for sale in the NYBG gift shop including Phalaenopsis, Catleya, Oncidium and Paphiopedelum. Prices are $20 and up. Afraid you’ll kill it? Buy orchid-related merchandise instead.
This morning as I write this, it’s snowing again. Bring it on, Mother Nature. It may be winter on the outside, but I’ve got spring inside.