My First Orchid Evenings at NYBG

Orchid Evenings
Orchid Evenings

I finally attended Orchid Evenings at the New York Botanical Garden this past Saturday—and I had a wonderful time!

My husband and I didn’t have any plans for the weekend, but he had his company car so we had more freedom to get around the city. On Saturday morning it dawned on me that having the car gave us the perfect opportunity to drive up to the NYBG for Orchid Evenings, so we bought our tickets online for the 7pm entry. Regular tickets are $35 apiece and include one signature cocktail; if you’re between the ages of 21 and 40 and you want to spend $100 per person you can upgrade to the Young Garden Circle Lounge for a private entrance, open bar, light bites, vodka taste testing, and more access inside the Conservatory.

I was a little worried there would be a line to get in, because the Young Garden Circle promotes “skip-the-line access” as a feature, but we got a prime parking spot and there were only a couple people in front of us at the main entry.

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory was beautifully lit up with purple upon our arrival:


Just outside the conservatory entrance we used the drink tickets we received upon check-in to pick up our Vanilla planifolia-inspired signature cocktails—vanilla vodka and ginger ale with a sugar rim—and headed on inside. The entryway reflecting pool area was positively dripping with orchids:


I couldn’t get started without having my photo taken in front of the display:


We began to explore and discovered that orchids are even more magical in the dark.





It was pretty crowded at the beginning, with people clustering around orchids and taking photographs of them, so it was a bit of an exercise in patience to gain access to view the orchids. The cocktail definitely helped with that.  🙂

This year’s Orchidelirium theme is really well executed…I’d say it’s more cohesive than other recent Orchid Show themes. There’s plenty of descriptive signage along with lovely displays that evoke the Victorian era such as this Wardian case, which was a big hit with guests:


I hereby declare that I will have a Wardian case of my own one day!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: always look up. If you don’t you might miss these gorgeous Vandas suspended above your head:


Down the long hallway of orchid after orchid we approached the main room (you won’t see a DJ there during daytime hours!):


Everyone (myself included) was clamoring to get photos in front of the Orchid Show’s main centerpiece, this gorgeous mountain-and-waterfall-of-orchids:


I think my favorite orchid from this year’s show is the x Brascidostele Gilded Tower ‘Mystic Maze’:


I’d never seen one of these before and was completely taken with it…probably because those green-and-brown striped petals and sepals remind me of Zygopetalums. Speaking of which:



In case you don’t already follow me on Instagram, check out my feed to see a few other pics that I posted from the evening. And please feel free to browse my entire photo album of the evening on Flickr.

I’m curious how many orchids are sacrificed each Saturday for Orchid Evenings. When you get a bunch of tipsy people wandering around and leaning over to take pics of orchids, some are bound to get damaged.

Before I close out I want to offer a piece of advice for attending Orchid Evenings: bring cash to tip the bartenders! As my husband and approached the first bar to pick up our complimentary cocktail we realized that neither of us had any cash. Fortunately I had a couple bucks in quarters so I sheepishly tipped the bartender using that. The bars inside the conservatory take credit cards but the system doesn’t allow you to add a tip on your card, so tipping is cash only. I feel like a complete asshole for not being able to tip the bartenders inside! I know that whatever credit card system they’re using has the ability to allow tips on credit cards—when I signed the tablet with my finger the main screen underneath the signature box said that tipping was disabled. I’m not sure why they chose to disable tipping, but plenty of people don’t carry cash these days so I imagine we weren’t the only ones who failed to tip because of that. Okay, ending my rant.  😛

We had a really great time at Orchid Evenings and I highly recommend going, even if you’re not an orchid nerd like me. It’s a very unique weekend activity that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Where else can you sip cocktails and peer at these magical flowers at night?

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