Anyone that knows me, knows that I love everything flowers, gardening and nature. I can just walk around greenhouses and gardens for hours. So when I saw the NY Botanical Garden's Annual Orchid Show was starting at the end of February I was super excited to check it out. I was planning on going to the Botanical Gardens later in the spring so this was a good chance for me to get the lay of the land as well. I read online that going in the middle of the show is best as everything is in full bloom so thought this would be a nice to time to go. When I mapped it out, I saw that it would take me around an hour and a half to get to the Gardens on the Subway but I wasn't deterred. The last time I had been that far up into the Bronx was back in April of 2011 when we lived in Queens and Nicole, my mom and Auntie Cheryle went to the zoo that is right beside the gardens.
When I got there, I didn't know what to expect; I had a one mile walk through the Bronx (I'll leave that open to your interpretation, and it will probably be correct) but it was early enough that it was pretty quiet and a decently clean looking community. I never understand why they put these beautiful attractions in areas that no one actually wants to go to and probably shouldn't go to either. But oh well, it doesn't matter, I was fine, just a little more nervous on my way back to the subway stop after my visit.
After I got there, the actual 250 acre park seemed almost deserted, minus the staff that are prepping the Gardens for the coming season, planting, digging and cleaning. When I walked inside the sprawling Enid A. Haupt Conservatory I was shocked how busy it was. Apparently my plan of being the early bird first one there was a bust. Mostly it was groups of Italian and Chinese Tourists with a few couples and families thrown in but when I got mixed up with those groups it was crazy!
As soon as I walked in, my camera lens and glasses fogged up like crazy because it was the Rainforest section that was first. I couldn't see but the little bit of fog on the lens made some cool pictures at the start.
I was very happy to see that the Botanical Gardens take in very rare Orchids that have been illegally harvested all over the world and then confiscated while being smuggled from country to country. Instead of these illegal (and very expensive) flowers being destroyed they are put on display and cared for very well so that people that appreciate them for their beauty can enjoy them. I have heard of cases of very rare Orchids selling for over $5000 for a single stem.
Year round the Haupt Conservatory is filled with amazing and rare plants and flowers. 10 months of the year when the orchid show isn't on it is still a huge draw with the different wings home to different climactic regions of the world and the plants and weather that go along with those zones. While wandering through I came across so many gorgeous non-Orchid species that call the Conservatory home. You will see those randomly along the way too, not just the Orchids.
Did you know that Vanilla incomes from a type of Orchid? I knew this but am quite sure I had never seen it growing before and it is quite pretty. This plant is not in season for producing at the moment but is massive. It winds around a high tree at least 15 feet high and into a couple neighboring trees and plants.
One of my favorites! This is the most vibrant pink I have ever seen.
The theme of this years Orchid Show is "Chandeliers". They have hundreds of plants blooming and cascading from baskets hanging from the ceilings. This was one of the first ones that I encountered.
Some more of the rainforest plants that are in the Conservatory year round that are in full bloom.
When I opened the doors into the next room and saw this, it took my breath away. It is mostly Orchids hanging by the hundred from the ceiling and walls. All the pots along the sides are also different orchids.
I really should have paid more attention to names but I was totally enamored with these! I think they are a type of Orchid but are just so cool looking! They are hanging all over in the front of the photo above as well.
I have seen those before and they always grab my attention. So unique, and there were thousands of these blooms hanging!
The Darwin's Star Orchid was one that really interested me, partly because of the story below, but also because it is so simple but so beautiful.
At the back of the fountain room. Loved this display.
The lush tropics. You could get lost in here if not careful!
The two trees below had the most unique flowers I have ever seen. I honestly stood and stared at them for ages. I have never seen anything like them before!
So much respect for the Botanical Garden and everyone that puts so much work into preserving and conserving these plants from all over the world.
As I was walking into the "Desert" section they had a wall full of Air Plants. Love these!
Many different Cacti.
Succulents! My favorite!
Walls of gorgeous Bougainvillea. Took me back to Peru. Love!
The Carnivorous plant section. Too much fun.
This was the largest of the chandeliers and this picture does not do it justice. It had to be at least 10 feet high with thousands of flowers. Also, please excuse my hair, it did not take well to the jungle humidity. This was also March 27... #WearyellowforSeth day.
Looking up into the Chandelier.
The final hallway with lush greenery and probably 50 different chandeliers.
After about 2 hours wandering around inside, I wandered back outside, to the cold and explored the grounds a bit. I was happy to see that quite a few Perennials were coming back up already.
I also stopped for a delicious bowl of soup at one of the cafes that is open year round and also checked out the UNBELIEVABLE gift shop filled with books, souvenirs and hundreds of orchids, plants and succulents for purchase. Josh was lucky I didn't want to lug 30 plants home and hour and a half on the subway! I also came across this clock as I was leaving the grounds.
After another long subway ride home (and having a very nice man try to sell me 5 Rubix Cubes for $6) I was ready to go back! I can't wait to go back and walk the sprawling grounds once everything is up and running. There are many outdoor gardens and many more indoor greenhouses and conservatories to enjoy. If you are in NYC and have any interest in nature this is the place to go! It is quiet, safe and so beautiful! Check out a list of things to do there (there are lots of kids and adult programs during the on season as well) at : NYBG.