The Orchid Show: Orchidelirium opens February 27 at
The New York Botanical Garden

I’m passionate about plants and gardens. In plants lies the salvation of the world. As a  recent campaign by the United States Botanic Garden pointed out, “Plants are not optional.”

I talk a lot about “plant blindness”—our amazing capacity to walk right past what makes our existence possible. I talk a lot about the relevance and importance of botanical and other public gardens to our daily lives. I talk a lot about plants.

NYBG's Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in winter...but ready for the orchid show.

Another gray winter’s day in New York. NYBG’s conservatory has only the barest hint of what’s waiting inside….

Now we’ve got an opportunity to SHOW rather then tell, and it couldn’t be better timed. The New York Botanical Garden orchid show opens tomorrow and runs until April 17th—and you should run to see it. Leave the world-weary, winter-weary city grind behind and head for the garden.

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The show traces the history of orchids in cultivation, from intrepid explorers to our homes.

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Thousands of orchids are combined with tropical plants from the garden’s collections.

Marc Hachadourian gets it. NYBG’s orchid expert is fond of calling orchids the “pandas of the plant world.” They excite attention, awe, and interest—inspiring sometimes extreme passions. It is our relationship with the orchid family that NYBG plumbs with its 14th edition of its show, The Orchid Show: Orchidelirium.

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Fanciful depictions of orchids showcase their beauty.

On the occasion of NYBG’s historic 125th anniversary, the garden looks back and celebrates the colorful (both bright AND dark, sometimes sordid) history of the orchid’s long march into our homes; first as precious, coddled rarities, and now as pot plants available at any grocery store.

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Staff designed set pieces demonstrate the skills of NYBG horticulturists.

Thousands of blooming plants are packed into the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in an exhibit planned, designed, executed and interpreted by staff. Starting over a year ago with a concept and months of planning, the show took over two weeks of intense effort to install by an interdepartmental team.

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Epiphytes spend their lives off the ground and many tropical orchids appreciate the lift.

Designed by NYBG’s Christian Primeau, the show promenades through the conservatory’s galleries—with plants incorporated into the permanent collections—and culminates in a splashy display guaranteed to take the chill out of winter.

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Take at walk into history…and beauty at NYBG.

This brings us full circle to the proof of the critical importance of plants and gardens to human well-being. I propose that ‘seasonal affective disorder’ (SAD) is not simply a climate related phenomenon. My theory is that SAD comes as much from lack of contact with plants and flowers as from the dreary gray of winter weather. While it may not make you delirious, The Orchid Show: Orchidelirium will certainly take the edge off SAD, drop the scales from your eyes, and reaffirm the importance and relevance of having places to go to see such spectacles. I dare you not to feel better after your visit….

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‘Orchidelirium’ is guaranteed to make a difference in your day.

The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY; show dates: February 27-April 17, 2016; visit www.nybg.org for ticket information and times.

 

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