Culture

Everything’s Coming Up Orchids

by Wendy Sy Photographed by Angela Pham/BFA.com
Thursday, February 9, 2017
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Before a blanket of snow and slush covered the city overnight, the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) hosted its annual Orchid Dinner. Held at the Plaza, it’s hard to believe that less than 24 hours ago, it was spring—or at least, it felt like it.


Centerpieces with no shortage of color and extravagance filled the tables of the Grand Ballroom. As for this year’s theme? Thailand was the inspiration, paying homage to the country’s tropical gardens, orchid breeding and cultural history. The décor was donated by a number leading designers and companies including Baccarat, Drake/Anderson, Shelley Johnstone Design and Kathleen Walsh Interiors. The evening celebrated the 15th year of the NYBG’s Orchid Show, which will run from February 18 through April 9 at their Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.


Proceeds from the event, which kicked off with a sale of rare orchids, underwrite the development of the NYBG’s orchid research conservation. Strict international regulations have left many wild orchids under threat of extinction from over-collection and destruction in their native habitats. What the Garden does, and having been doing for more than two decades though their Plant Rescue Center, is care for the health of orchids that have been collected illegally and seized at international borders through the Convention on Illegal Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreement.


“I think in this time when we are weighing decisions about our natural world, it is so important to see what it gives us—this incredible array of inspiring, moving flowers, colors and plants, and to be reminded of this whole other section of creatures,” says actress and NYBG board member Sigourney Weaver. “It’s not really always about us. There’s so much life that we also need to protect and respect.”


During dinner, NYBG president Gregory Long took the stage to say a word of thanks and reflect on the museum’s success. “Our collections are really encyclopedic,” he says. “I’d like to say that it makes us sort of the Metropolitan Museum of Plants.” A round of applause followed and at the next table, a guest exclaims, “It’s true!”


Upon leaving the Plaza, the cloudy sky above brought about the first signs of snow a’coming. And just like that, we’re back to winter.




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