Floral fantasy

Something magical happens when you’re on the expressway to or from Singapore’s Changi Airport: You notice that not only is the highway pristine, but it is lined with orchids. Orchids dominate the island city-state at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula to such an extent that the Singapore Botanic Gardens — the only botanical garden to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is off a main artery, Orchard Street. (Think Broadway meets Fifth Avenue). 

So, it’s no wonder that when the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in the Bronx was casting about for an idea for its 17th annual Orchid Show, it reached out to its Singapore counterparts, which include the immersive Gardens by the Bay. The show (Feb. 23 to April 28), always a hugely popular respite from winter, will include a roundup of the usual dazzling suspects in myriad varieties, ready to steal your heart away. But what will make this truly an unusual presentation is the way it will replicate architectural and environmental features of Singapore’s orchid displays.

The main attraction within the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the National Orchid Garden has more than 1,000 species and more than 2,000 hybrids, which join with other tropical species to festoon its archways.

The Bronx landmark will offer its interpretation of the celebrated archways in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. 

The artful supertrees — vertical gardens — in its Gardens by the Bay, from which orchids cascade, also contain photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy. The NYBG will salute the supertrees with dancing lady, rainbow, cane and Asian corsage orchids among those featured.

There will also be examples from NYBG’s own collection, demonstrating its commitment to orchid cultivation and conservation, as well as a series of Orchid Evenings for adults. As usual there will be a variety of related books and products in the NYBG Shop and, no doubt, some orchid- and Singapore-inspired fare at the Hudson Garden Grill.

All of which will bring a touch of Singapore to another island city that is a world unto itself.

For more, visit nybg.org.

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