Need a late winter pick me up? A trip to the annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden in NYC never disappoints. This year the exhibit celebrates Singapore and features an orchid named after one of the stars of the film “Crazy Rich Asians”.
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. Featuring the iconic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the NYBG is home to all good things flora. From February 23 through April 28 visit the annual Orchid Show, a dazzling display of common and exotic varieties. The smell alone is worth the $28 weekend admission.
Highlights of the NYBG Orchid Show
The 2019 Annual Orchid Show celebrates the orchid loving culture of Singapore. The orchid is the island nation’s national flower. To display the gorgeous blooms, the New York Botanical Garden uses structures associated with two of Singapore’s most popular destinations – the Singapore Botanic Garden arches and the “Supertrees” of Gardens by the Bay.
2019 marks the 17th year of the Orchid Show and, for the first time, it features an orchid named after a public figure. Vanda Awkwafina is named for actress Awkwafina who starred in the popular film “Crazy Rich Asians”.
— AWKWAFINA (@awkwafina) February 21, 2019
An Orchid that Smells Like Vanilla?
Old favorites appear at the NYBG Orchid Show too. 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.
And don’t miss the Darwin Star. 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.
Special Events During the NYBG Annual Orchid Show
Want a special treat? The New York Botanical Garden is hosting several Orchid Evenings during the run of the Orchid Show. The Supertrees will be illuminated, creating dazzling floral displays. Sip a Singapore Sling and enjoy music and dance performances. Food’s available too from the Bronx Night Market. Admission is $38 and the 2019 Orchid Evening dates are March 16, 23, 30; April 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27. Advance purchase is highly recommended due to the popularity of the event.
The New York Botanical Garden is using the hashtag #plantlove throughout 2019. The vital connection between people and the living world will be a focus of programs, exhibits and displays. One way you can participate is to purchase an orchid. Afraid you’ll kill it? Easy to grow varieties are available. Or attend a workshop to learn more about how to take care of your orchid.
After the Orchid Show: Head to Arthur Avenue
Arthur Avenue (what many consider to be New York’s real Little Italy) is a stone’s throw from the NYBG. A visit for pasta and cannoli is an excellent way to end your day in the Bronx.
Your first stop should be Madonia Bakery for a loaf of seeded Italian bread and some cannoli. If you’re visiting around St. Patty’s Day, don’t forget to pick up Irish soda bread too!
Then, duck into the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. When I visited last March, Fordham students, dressed like leprechauns, were playing green beer pong. I felt a bit like Christopher in the Sopranos episode when he has a near death experience and encounters a bouncer on the other side who tells him he’ll end up in hell, like his father. A bouncer? Apparently hell for an Italian is an Irish bar called The Emerald Piper “where it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Every day. Forever.”
But nothing was bothering David Greco and the gang at Mike’s Deli (Mr. Greco won an eggplant parm throwdown against Bobby Flay). I took home fresh mozzarella, stuffed peppers and a “Paula Deen” – prosciutto, hot sopressata, radicchio, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and truffle butter on focaccia.
Other than the action at the bar, the market was quiet and peaceful. On my way out, I stopped to observe a gentleman rolling cigars by hand. As he picked up each leaf, a wave of earthy scent was released into the air, complimenting the sharp smell of the cheeses hanging nearby.
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.
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