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(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The fifteenth annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden transports visitors to Thailand (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The New York Botanical Garden
Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx
Tuesday – Sunday through April 9, $8-$10 children two to twelve, $20-$25 adults, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
twi-ny orchid slideshow

For its fifteenth annual Orchid Show, the New York Botanical Garden takes visitors to Thailand, a country with a rich orchid history and one of the world’s leading exporters of native and hybrid varieties. The Orchid Society of Thailand was formed in 1957; today Thailand produces more than $80 million worth of orchids every year, and its industry is on the cutting edge of micropropagation and cloning. On view through April 9, “The Orchid Show: Thailand,” inspired by the Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden in Chonburi Province, designed by Christian Primeau, and curated by Marc Hachadourian, features more than a thousand plants in a rainbow of colors that reveal Thailand’s natural diversity, with focuses on dendrobium, vandas, paphiopedilum, and miniatures.

(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Exhibition features more than a thousand varieties of orchids and other plants native to Thailand (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The pond display at the entrance boasts an elephant topiary; elephants are Thailand’s national symbol. (Thai topiaries, known as mai dat, date back to the thirteenth century and are generally abstract.) Sky lanterns (khom loi) hang from above, disposing of bad luck and bringing good fortune. A pair of spirit houses, hand-carved by Pirot Gitikoon, are shrines for protective spirits, with flower offerings, incense, candles, dancers, protective dragon spirits (naga), unseen guardian spirits (phra phum), elephants representing transportation, and strawberry soda. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a sala Thai, a place of rest and contemplation; hundreds of orchids grow in the pavilion, which was designed by artist and architect Mom Luang Tridosyuth Devakul (Mom Tri). In addition to orchids, there are other examples of Thai horticulture, including bouganvillea, bamboo, mangoes, bananas, and palms.

Offerings are made at spirit houses for protection (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Offerings are made at spirit houses for protection (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Orchid Evenings take place March 31 (LGBTQ Night) and April 1, 7, and 8 from 6:30 to 9:30, with music and dancing, a cash bar, and no one under twenty-one. (Try the Dancing Lady, created for the show by Edible Bronx mixologist Bruce “Blue” Rivera, consisting of silver tequila, tamarind purée, triple sec, grapefruit juice, and lime juice.) On April 2 and 9 in Ross Hall, “Magical Thailand — A Journey with the Somapa Thai Dance Co.” celebrates Thai art and culture. There are also orchid care demonstrations in the Conservatory GreenSchool on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 and 3:30 and orchid experts on call for advice in the NYBG shop Saturdays and Sundays from 1:30 to 4:30.

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