This year The New York Botanical Garden celebrates 125 years with the opening of its annual Orchid Show. 

The show is titled ORCHIDELIRIUM, inspired by a cult movement during the Victorian era when people discovered (and went crazy for) Orchidaceae.  These so-called "Orchid Collectors" commissioned trailblazers to travel the world, hunting and searching for exotic orchids to display in their homes as a sign of status. So, orchids are like the Jeff Koons of the 19th century...

Wandering through the live plant exhibition, one is transported to the wild state that the myriad of orchids grow in and early hunters explored. Cascading from branches, some hidden, others exposed – these magnificent flowers shine with the help of NYBG horticulturists  and their intricate assembly of over thousands of rare, unique, old and new orchids.

Traveling throughout the of the exhibition as an explorer, one learns of the many different types of orchids and their unique quirks:

  • Those little black specks in your favorite vanilla bean ice cream? Those are orchid seeds!
  • Orchids don’t only live and thrive in the tropics: there’s actually a specific breed of orchids that grow in the desert  – check them out the next time you're hanging out at Burning Man!
  • The pollination process of Orchids is so complex that they are regarded as the most highly evolved group of plants- Go Phalaenopsis !

Arriving at the finale of the show is the stunning “Orchid mountain,” inspired by a 19th century rendering of the orchid craze that truly brings this movement home.

behind the greens >>ipp snaps 

Christian Primeau designed the dynamic structure with so much blood, sweat and tears, that one can feel the intricate thought of placement for every orchid genus displayed. He noted that during the process he and his team “found a special orchid space” for themselves within the show and he hoped the viewer would do the same. 

My “special orchid space” bounced around a lot at first as my eye wandered through the myriad of colors, shapes, and incredible orchid compositions. Finally, after walking back and forth multiple times, my eyes and heart stopped at what would be my beautiful Phalaenopsis.  Classic with a white exterior, this unique breed had an inky deep purple center that looked as if Jackson Pollack just tapped it with his brush on his way to lunch. 

Dynamic and different yet simultaneously simple, ORCHIDELIRIUM exists for this reason:

ORCHIDS have a way of making us see, feel, and think so many things at oncE.