Expressive orchids fill Botanical Garden

If flowers could talk


Thousands of orchids have arrived for their annual spring break at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) to lounge, cavort and caper amid a display inspired by an award-winning garden in — where else? — Key West, Fla.

Attendees from packs of moth orchids — the kind most commonly sold in stores — to a clique of exotic Darwin star orchids are camped out in the NYBG’s humid Enid A. Haupt Conservatory for the event, which has gained the dubious nickname “Orchid Orgy ’14” since its March 1 kickoff.

“I’m pretty shocked at some of the things I’ve seen from some of the other flowers,” a blushing sunset orchid said. “Let’s just say slipper orchids aren’t as innocent as they look.”

Still, the plant’s dig at the species known for bifurcated petals that look like light footwear did not seem to faze pulsating groups of slipper orchids. The soaked specimens declined to pause from a rave-style bacchanal concentrated in the Haupt Conservatory’s long eastern corridor to comment.

A group of dancing lady orchids, which smell like chocolate, took a laissez-faire attitude to the show.

“What can I do? Everyone wants to stick their nose in me,” one of them remarked.

Free love was the byword at the event bringing together orchids originally from six different continents. But some of the flowers simply viewed the event as a chance to see and be seen.

A variety of miniature orchids seemed to take the idea to the extreme, confining themselves to a glass case totally inaccessible to touch.

“I seriously can’t believe there are moth orchids at this party,” said an oberola, whose flowers span just one millimeter wide.

“Why do I have to be next to a disgusting jewel orchid?” the oberola added in reference to a species known for its detailed structure.

In spite of some elitist undertones, a democratic spirit ruled the event, one of the most popular of the year at the NYBG.

The garden boasts a permanent collection of more than 6,000 orchids from 2,273 different types, although the NYBG did not provide the number of specimens at the current show, which is in its 12th year.

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