The Orchid Show 2012

Fall in Love or White Fairy Orchids
Fall in Love or White Fairy Orchids

What Makes a Flower an Orchid?

A flower is considered an orchid if the anther with pollen, considered the male parts of the flower, is fused to the stigma, the female parts of the flower. So basically, a flower where the male and female parts form one unit, gets to be called an orchid. Yeah, I didn't know that either until I went to this year's orchid show. Since that is what defines an orchid, then one orchid doesn't necessarily look like another; there are an estimated 30,000 naturally growing species. In fact orchids can not only grow terrestially (meaning on the ground), they can grow on trees and even rocks. Orchids can grow in almost any habitat, from semi-arid to arctic tundra and can be found in every continent except for Antarctica.

xCattlanthe or Trick or Treat Orchids
xCattlanthe or Trick or Treat Orchids

As I walked among the marvelous number of orchids, I'm amazed at the diversity. You had aggressive, showy flowers like the Asian Corsage Orchids, then you have your shy, small, pale orchids from the Philippines. You had orchids that looked like dancing ladies and orchids with petals that were as colorful and small as moths.

Rainbow Orchids from India
Rainbow Orchids from India

You had orchids that grew like reeds and orchids that wore nun's caps. Well they're not really nun's caps, they're called Nun's Cap orchids because the flowers resemble a nun's veil when they were first brought to England in 1778. Those must have been cool-looking nuns.

Nun's Cap Orchids.  Found in parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Nun's Cap Orchids. Found in parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Orchids from the Philippines
Orchids from the Philippines
An Asian Corsage Orchid, Carpinteria Sunrise
An Asian Corsage Orchid, Carpinteria Sunrise
Lots of Dancing Ladies Orchids
Lots of Dancing Ladies Orchids
Pansy Orchids
Pansy Orchids
Moth Orchids
Moth Orchids
Reed Orchids
Reed Orchids

Unlike most orchids that grow up from the ground, these brilliant cane orchids grow from a height.

Cane Orchids
Cane Orchids

Patric Blanc's Vertical Gardens

To be overwhelmed by beauty is a wondrous thing and that's exactly what I felt like when I visited the The Orchid Show at The New York Botanical Gardens. One sure way that a New Yorker knows that Spring is just around the corner is to visit the annual orchid presentation at the Botanical Gardens in March. The show is held at the Enid Haupt Conservatory. For the price of $20 you are transported to a hothouse of greenery from practically every corner of the world. You will see many different types of flora and fauna and fern and tree, from the deserts to the mountains, from the woodlands to the tropics, all landscapes seem to be represented in miniature. But I was there to see orchids as presented by one of the master botanists, Patric Blanc, who is famous for his vertical gardens. Most gardens are horizontal, meaning that plants grow from the ground that you walk on. Mr. Blanc has been able to create vertical gardens, meaning that the plants grow from a wall. For this show, Mr. Blanc has taken many different types of orchids and grtown them vertically. Looking at the vertical panels, I thought that he made it look so easy. All types of dancing ladies, moth, and pansy grew in vertical profusion. Surrounded by the vertical panels were the orchid plants from the Botanical Gardens collections making a show of their own.

Patrick Blanc's Vertical Gardens

So if you're in New York City in March, get out of Manhattan and take the train to the Bronx and visit the New York Botanical Garden's Orchid Show, you will be dazzled by beauty.

Entrance to the Enid Haupt Conservatory
Entrance to the Enid Haupt Conservatory

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