NYBG Opens Annual Orchid Exhibit; Rescues Black Market Plants

Reach Reporter Madeline Anthony at (718) 260-4591. E-mail her at manthony@cnglocal.com.
Photo Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is gearing up for the unveiling of it’s 14th annual Orchid Show, entitled ‘Orchidelirium’, which opens February 27 and runs until April 17.

The event will showcase thousands of orchids varying in size, shape, and color that have been hand selected from greenhouses all over the country.

One of the most popular displays at NYBG, the annual orchid show brings record numbers to the Bronx each year.

For Marc Hachadourian, director of the Nolen Greenhouses and curator of the Orchid Collection at NYBG, the coming exhibition signifies the culmination of nearly a years worth of work.

“Preparation begins when the last show closes,” said Hachadourian, who has worked on each orchid show since they first began almost 15 years ago, “How and what we choose to display, and conceiving the show’s design began months and months in advance.”

Hachadourian works with a network of nursery’s from all over the nation to cultivate the collection, and to ensure that when the plants arrive they haven’t yet begun budding.

It’s his job to then make sure each plant flowers at exactly the same time, which means the correct amount of water, light, and temperature for each specific orchid is crucial – and the exhibit will feature hundreds of different kinds.

“When the curtain goes up, it all needs to be at the peak of perfection,” said Hachadourian, “We never anticipated how popular it would be, but the public response has been amazing.. it’s become a kickoff to spring, it’s when people are craving color, sick of looking at all the snow on the ground,” he continued.

In addition to the countless orchids collected specifically for the show, attendees may get a glimpse into the international orchid trade – an industry which has been compared to the underground market of exotic animals.

“It’s that same desire to possess something that is of the natural world, some crazy collectors are willing to pay anything for the rarest of the rare,” said Hachadourian.

NYBG runs one of the 65 orchid rescue centers that exist in the US, so when the United States Department of Agriculture confiscates illegally traded endangered plants, they are sent to NYBG and Hachadourian works to give them new life.

Some of these extraordinary revitalized flowers will be on display at the show, and will be labeled as such. “It’s a conservation effort,” said Hachadourian of the unique and rescued breeds, “But some of them happen to bloom during the time of the show.”

Aside from the enticing array of blossoms, the exhibition will also include poetry readings, music and dance performances on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, orchid care demonstrations, and romantic ‘orchid evenings’ throughout its duration.

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