The New York Botanical Garden is a spectacular paradise located on 250 acres in Bronx, New York. 2016 marks the 125th anniversary since the founding in 1891, and although glorious at any time of the year, The Orchid Show: Orchidelirium held in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is a not-to-be-missed experience with its exceptional exhibition of thousands of orchids as well as special orchid programs. The 14th annual Orchid Show includes such complementary programs as World Beat: Music and Dance Around the World of Orchids on Saturdays and Sundays, Orchid Care Demonstrations, Orchid Evenings, films, and much more. The Orchid Show runs until April 17, 2016.
Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
As we entered through the large doors of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, which is a stunning example of a Victorian-style glasshouse, we felt as if we had entered a tropical paradise filled with an abundance of beauty. Orchids of every size, shape, and color dazzled the eyes, while their varying aromas permeated the air intoxicating the senses. From tiny clusters to large single blossoms, each of the orchids had their own charm and personality.
Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta
Artistically arranged, the Conservatory was filled with an exuberant abundance of orchids for the Orchid Show, some orchids were attached to trees to capture the beauty of seeing orchids growing in the wild, as well as orchids planted in pots, some planted in the soil, and others arranged in mini greenhouses as examples of how collectors would display their rare and exotic orchids.
Throughout the Conservatory, there were orchid references providing a bit of insight into their history. One such reference was that of the Dancing Lady Orchid Oncidium introduced to Europe in the 1830s. Their common name comes from their shape which some thought resembled ladies in ruffled skirts. Characteristics of the Oncidium orchid include slender branching sprays with many small flowers generally in shades of yellow and brown, and its pleasant scent.
19th century collectors were extremely passionate about orchids and it was exciting to read that "orchid hunting was a big business - a single orchid could sell for thousands of pounds at the height of England's orchidelirium." Henry Frederick Conrad Sander (1847-1920), a German-British nurseryman, known as "The Orchid King" throughout Europe and America with his thriving orchid hunting exhibitions, was named Royal Orchid Grower to Queen Victoria. The NYBG also purchased orchids from Mr. Sander, one of which was a Vandopsis gigantea purchased in 1904 and at 112 years old, which is included in the exhibition, gives an example of an orchid's longevity.
Also interesting was reading about American Botanist Oakes Ames (1874 - 1950) who was the leading authority of the world in the first half of the 20th century. In 1907, Oakes and his wife Blanche donated their collection of orchids to the NYBG, which was instrumental in developing the garden's collection in its early years. Some of the orchids remain in the collection today and are included in the 2016 Orchid Show.
The orchids on display were incredible with hues in every color of the rainbow, some had dramatically vibrant almost neon colors, others had soft, muted colors that almost blended into the background, some were solid colored, while others were multi-colored, some had stripes, dots, speckles, and varying patterns on them, and yet each variety was exquisite, a remarkable exhibit of nature's artistry on glorious display.
A few of the many show highlights included the spider-like Bratonia Kauai's Choice ‘Pacific Paradise,' the bright orange orchid known as Rhyncattleanthe Fuchs Orange Nuggett ‘Lea,' the stunning Oncidopsis Yellow Parade ‘Alpine,' and the brightly colored Bromeliad Aechmea ‘Blue Tango.'
Oncidopsis Yellow Parade - "Alpine"
Bratonia Kauai's Choice - "Pacific Paradise"
After exploring the world of orchids, we had the pleasure of attending a World Beat: Music and Dance Around the World of Orchids concert in Ross Hall, where the band Samba New York! lead by founder and percussionist Philip A. Galinsky, and dance by Danielle Lima who was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, took us on a musical samba journey to Brazil with pagode music.
Samba New York
The musical programs are part of the Orchid Show that "transports visitors on a journey through orchid collecting history, discovering the far-flung adventures of orchid hunters swept up in 19th century "orchidelirium," a time when explorers risked life and limb to secure these captivating flowers from jungles all over the world. In this series of World Beat performances, dancers and musicians share the cultures of countries where many of these rare orchids were first found."
Musical journeys included music from India: Paul Shah Dance Company (February 26, 27, 28), Columbia: Pajarillo Pinta'o Dance Company (March 5, 6), Peru: Hector Morales Afro-Peruvian Ensemble (March 12, 13), Brazil: Samba New York! (Marc), Indonesia: Gamelan Dharma Swara (March 26, 27, April 9, 10), Mexico: Calpulli Dance Mexicana (April 19, 20, and Brazil: Nego Gato African Brazilian Music and Dance Ensemble (April 16, 17).
Other interesting programs during the Orchid Show include Orchid Evenings, lectures, film screenings, orchid care demonstrations, classes, and workshops.
The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is a National Historic Landmark located in Bronx, New York where its nearby neighbors include Fordham University and the Bronx Zoo and we loved strolling through the attractive gardens after visiting the Orchid Show, reading the poetry presented on large signs interspersed throughout the gardens to inspire a reflective pause, as well as taking a free tram tour which gave us an overview of the property.
Orchid beautifully edged in color
Wonderful in any season, spring in the garden is especially magnificent with nature's awakening. During our visit on Saturday, March 19, 2016 the forsythia was a lovely yellow heralding spring and the daffodils were glorious. We cannot wait to return to the NYBG to experience the beauty of the gardens in all seasons. Do allow a minimum of 4 - 5 hours to thoroughly experience the New York Botanical Garden and its many programs.
Bromeliad Aechmea - "Blue Tango"
Admission: Weekday Tickets: Adult: $20, Student (with valid ID) and Senior (65+): $18, Children 2-12: $8, Children Under 2: Free. Weekends and Holiday Mondays Tickets: Adult: $22, Student (with valid ID) and Senior (65+): $20, Children 2-12: $10, Children Under 2: Free.
Rhynacttleanthe Fuchs Orange Nuggett - "Lea"
Hours: The Garden is open year-round and these holiday Mondays. Tuesday through Sunday: Hours are typically 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. Winter Hours for mid-January and February are 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.
Other special exhibitions and events, such as Members-Only Previews, may cause early closing of Garden areas. Exceptions are also made for evening events, which may take place after normal Garden hours. For specific hours on the day of your visit, please see their calendar on the website: www.nybg.org/plan_your_visit
The Garden, its buildings, and its tour vehicles are accessible to people with disabilities, with the exception of a few areas where the terrain is naturally uneven. Wheelchairs are available free of charge at both Garden entrances, on a first-come, first-served basis (reservations are not accepted). An ID must be left with Visitor Services. Visit the website for additional information: www.nybg.org/visit/accessibility.php
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, New York 10458-5126
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