Imagine a fireworks display where each firework that goes off is frozen in time, and you have the freedom to walk around and examine each and every one. The NYBG has artfully created this sensation through their current exhibition of orchids, put together from their own collection of 8,000, and is on display until April 2.
I arrived with friends right before 10:00 this past Saturday, and there was already a line forming to get into the Conservatory. Once inside we were surrounded by orchids high and low. They were under stumps, floating in urns, hanging in baskets and attached high up in the tree branches.
Even when we were convinced we had discovered them all we would glance over our shoulders and see one we had missed. And yes, there were many 'ooohh's and 'aahh's from everyone.
Many great designers draw their influence from nature, often creating a series based on one keen observation. When you look at this variation on a theme that Mother Nature has accomplished with one species, it is humbling. Orchids are well adapted to their natural environment. They grow in specific shapes and develop specific smells, both sweet and rancid, all to attract very specific insects. They develop sophisticated, chameleon-like coloring and can attach themselves where other plants could only dream of going. Most orchids are epiphytes and can grow with their roots exposed or attached to tree branches, drawing nourishment from a humid environment.
Despite this complexity, you can easily care for one in your apartment. If you are at all interested to learn how, this would be your ultimate destination. After admiring these beauties you can walk right into the seminar tent and learn how to care for them from the experts and then move on to the retail shop and pick up your own. They have very handsome varieties in the $20 range, as well as others that cost in excess of $100.
- Matt N.