Feeling the plant love

They provide us with food, medicine, shelter and the very air we breathe. And yet, as the New York Botanical Garden noted recently during a scrumptious vegetarian luncheon at the Grand Hyatt New York in Manhattan, we tend to treat plants like so much wallpaper. Indeed, we suffer from “plant blindness.”

 Well, no more. This year the garden and its visitors will be feeling the #plantlove in a series of events designed to draw attention to the botanical world.

“Biophilia: Sharing Our #plantlove” highlights the permanent collection of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the garden’s Victorian glasshouse, whose dome will be undergoing renovation beginning April 29.

That follows on the heels of “The Orchid Show: Singapore” (this Saturday, Feb. 23 through April 28), which transports orchid admirers to the Asian city-state, quite possibly the capital of orchid-mania. It may have been February on the calendar – and on the snow-speckled ground – at Thursday’s press preview, where we enjoyed breakfast empanadas by Empanology and vegan muffins by UptownVegan, both of the Bronx. But inside it was Singapore indeed as NYBG recreated the architectonic “Supertrees” from that city’s Gardens by the Bay and the Arches from the National Orchid Garden that is part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Also holding pride of place is the Vanda Awkwafina, the orchid that NYBG has named for the star of “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Ocean’s 8.” This marks the first time NYBG has named an orchid for a public figure.

Elsewhere on the #plantlove calendar, there are “Tree Dialogues” with environmental authors in March and May; Citizen Scientists Days and an Earth Day weekend celebration in April; a garden-wide exploration of “The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx”; a principal figure in Latin America’s modernist art and garden movement (June 8-Sept. 29); Edible Academy Weekends June through October; Kids Camps in August; the second annual New York City EcoFlora Conference on preserving the Big Apple’s native and naturalized flora, Sept. 20; the “Chorus of the Forest” world premiere by composer-in-residence Angélica Négron, Nov. 2 and 3; and the return of beloved “Kiku: Spotlight on Tradition” (Nov. 2 through 17), featuring the Japanese way with chrysanthemums.

Attendees of the Grand Hyatt luncheon were also introduced to Michele Oka Doner, the garden’s artist-in-residence. At NYBG, Oka Doner will create site-specific works that bring nature, science and art together, offering a different view of the garden’s vistas.

For more, visit nybg.org/plantlove.

Georgette Gouveia

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