Scouting: New York Botanical Garden

Why, you might be asking yourself, would someone visit the New York Botanical Garden on a cold, grey day in early March? What on earth could there be to see when it’s still winter?

One word: Orchids.

Specifically, The Orchid Show: Key West Contemporary, which features, surprise!, lots and lots of incredible orchids. The show was designed by the aptly named Raymond Jungles and inspired by an actual garden he created for a client in Key West, FL.

 New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show; Image:  Laura Messersmith

New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show; Image: Laura Messersmith

 New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show; Image:  Laura Messersmith

New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show; Image: Laura Messersmith

 New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show; Image:  Laura Messersmith

New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show; Image: Laura Messersmith

Perhaps it goes without saying, but the flowers are absolutely stunning and there are so many that the plants literally cascade from nearly every branch and trellis, and spring up from almost every surface. Extra bonus: orchids are tropical – cue the camera lens fogging up! - and were being kept warm inside the climate controlled Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

  Enid A. Haupt Conservatory ; Image: Laura Messersmith

Enid A. Haupt Conservatory; Image: Laura Messersmith

Built in 1902 the Conservatory is a beautiful white ironwork and glass structure straight out of My Fair Lady. It reminded me so much of the former Covent Garden Floral Hall (now part of the Royal Opera House) that I was curious if they were architectural cousins from across the Pond. It turns out that the Haupt Conservatory was actually inspired by the Palm House in Kew Gardens and the Crystal Palace. All three were built between 1844 – 1851, but by different architects - so maybe second cousins once removed….?

 Palms; Haupt Conservatory; Image:  Laura Messersmith

Palms; Haupt Conservatory; Image: Laura Messersmith

Anywho, enough architecture; back to the orchids! The variety of colors, shapes, and sizes in the exhibit was amazing: giant alien green orchids with strange, pointed petals and delicate yellow orchids that looked like itty bitty popcorn. As you can probably tell I took about 1,000 pictures.

The show is on until April 21st – heaven help us if spring hasn’t arrived by then – and I highly recommend it if you’re in need of a getaway that doesn’t require a plane ticket. The chance to be somewhere tropical for the afternoon was well worth the train ride north. Or, maybe you just want to pretend you’re a character in Clue. Let me guess: Miss Scarlet with the candlestick, in the_________.

 New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show; Image:  Laura Messersmith

New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show; Image: Laura Messersmith