As we begin to transition each year from winter to spring, one thing that always helps is heading down to the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. Last year we’d gone on the last weekend of the show and a lot of the orchids were past their peak, so we decided to go earlier this year. On Saturday morning we headed out so that we could be at the gardens as soon as they opened. Getting there early was probably a good decision as far as parking and not having to wait in line, but the conservatory was still packed with people.
The theme of this year’s display is Brazilian Modern. Since I associate orchids with Brazil, I thought it would be amazing. I was disappointed. There are interesting tiles and abstract paintings mixed in with the orchids (most of which are in large boxes), but the flowers themselves were nothing spectacular. Most of the brighter blue/purple orchids that I’d so loved in past years were nowhere to be seen. Instead, we had mixes of yellows, whites, and oranges, most arranged in wooden boxes that did nothing for me.
There was one wall of a hall that was amazing—covered with white orchids—but the final hall, which usually blows me away with its beauty, was a disappointment.
The contrast with previous years puzzles me. Last year’s show was themed around Singapore, which I don’t think of as having as many varieties of orchids as Brazil does. It had a pagoda to capture the feel of the country and most of the show consisted of trees covered with orchids. The arrangement worked very well. The year before, if I remember correctly, was a much more traditional layout of the flowers, with most of them exhibited in formal beds, but even that worked much better than this current Brazilian theme.
I’ve love orchids ever since I worked in a greenhouse as a teenager and learned more about them from my mother’s boss, whose avocation was growing and exhibiting orchids. I appreciate any chance to see orchids—especially new or interesting varieties—so,while I was disappointed with this year’s show in comparison to those of previous years, I’m still glad we went.