late in life. It was a simple series of white flowers on a stem, nothing fancy, yet he insisted that it accompany him from the hospital to his room in the Care Center. A friend had brought it as a gift, and it somehow spoke to him, he who had never had a thought for plants earlier in his life. Orchids can be magical.
The ones at the New York Botanical Garden’s annual orchid show practically knocked me to the ground.
I was lulled by the piped-in yoga-class soundtrack. Then reawakened again and again by the five greenhouses’ worth of tropical specimens.
How can something be unique yet generic, astoundingly beautiful yet ho-hum, run of the mill? That was my honest assessment of the oxymoronic goods on hand.
The orchids went on and on.
Moth orchids, ghost orchids, slipper orchids, rainbow orchids. Moonlit orchids, which attract nocturnal pollinators, and are also especially fragrant by the light of the moon.
Ever so slightly obscene.
A bit of TMI, thank you very much.
Easy on the signage, New York Botanical Garden horticulturalists! Sometimes I prefer my facts optional, at least when viewing the natural world.
I found myself admiring other living beings in the vicinity, anything not obviously pretty, the ones with thorns, like the South American floss-silk tree.
Or the non-orchid plant that that presented itself in an extraordinary, almost indescribable shade of green – a jade vine, it grows only in the Philippines.
I was drawn to the womb of a tunnel that connected parts of the exhibit.
And my fellow visitors clicking, clicking, clicking, intent on capturing the essence of a particular flower. Human beings, cameras, nature, always fascinating. Note: it is impossible to take a bad picture of an orchid.
Outside, the catkins dangled from the April birch.
A prickly sweetgum seedpod lay nestled in the grass beneath its parent, a sweetgum tree not yet leafed out.
And the equally prickly human being waiting on our bench for the next tram.
The orchids are always going to be splendiferous, whether they come from the supermarket or the Enid Haupt Conservatory show. The ones I saw today made me realize how exquisite everything else is, too.