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I was inspired to return to the Bronx last Friday after being a lucky guest at Mish Tworkowski and Joseph Singer’s ravishing “Orchid” dinner in the New York Botanical Garden’s (nybg.org) newly restored stone mill. My guide was Richard Pickett, associate vice-president for retail and business development, who toured me around the Garden’s ninth annual orchid show, which is inspired by architectural elements from great Broadway theaters. Tony Award–winning set designer Scott Pask and advertising executive Drew Hodges have concocted a visual feast implemented by Garden curator Francisca Coelho and her team. Th installation you see here evokes the proscenium of the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here is the amazing Francisca. I asked her to stand beside the palm tree she planted from seed 23 years ago. (She’s worked at the garden for 31 years, if you can believe it.)

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The show continues on through the exhibition gallery with masses of orchids blooming overhead. There are thousands of every size, shape, and color.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

An incredible orchid chandelier composed of 750 individual plants and 10,000 orchid blooms. I photographed it the night of the dinner, and learned that Francisca and her horticulture team carried each plant up a fifteen-foot ladder, placed it just so, then climbed back down again. The show is up through April 25. There is also a gallery exhibit of original Al Hirschfeld art on display at the library gallery, as well as cabaret performances every Saturday and Sunday in the Orchid Rotunda.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Francisca and her team oversee the installation of all the flower shows during the year as well as maintain the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Here in the Palm Dome, you can revel in trees and ferns whose species are as old as the dinosaurs.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Some of the colorful new ceramic planters at the entrance to the Garden shop.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Aside from plants and seed packets of every variety, the store carries orchid plants galore.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For those who want some variety in their gardening gloves, here’s a whole rack of them.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

These gorgeous bowls are made by Ivan Braun, who fashions them out of salvaged wood from the garden. The store can barely keep them in stock; right after I took this picture, they were carried off for a customer.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

A line of sweet melamine plates.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

You could spend a full day perusing the store’s book section alone.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman
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