Monday, March 20, 2006

Visiting Aliens: Orchids and Cactus

Mitchell and I went up to the New York Botanical Garden yesterday to see the Orchid Show.

After a brisk walk from the Bedford Park station and cold wait at the gate, we finally reached the Conservatory, and truly entered a new world: a humid, warm, fragrant world richly green, and brightly accented with a kaleidoscope of flowers. It took my glasses a good minute or so to clear up. Though I knew that orchids varied greatly, it was overwhelming to see so much variety gathered together. The show was packed, and the fancy cameras were out in force.

The desert cactus wing was a great counterpoint... equally alien seeming, but subdued in colour. Mitchell was intrigued by the variety of cactus. Just as curious, but more subtle were the lithops, or "living stones" which Mitchell thought looked like little bums. I was surprised to learn later that they do flower quite brightly.

Part of the draw of the orchid show is the opportunity to bring one home from the gift shop. Like the conservatory, the gift shop was packed with people eager to bring home their experience. Starting at $25, the shop is a great deal to pick up more than the standard white orchids. In the end, Mitchell picked out a lithop for $4, and I, a cactus.


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