BRONX, N.Y. - A giant mirrored orchid with water cascading through it into a pond is definitely one way to kick off an orchid show. It's the creation of world renowned floral designer Jeff Leatham, who has brought his design dazzle to the Bronx.
"We really want people to walk in here, and experience something they have never experienced before," Leatham said.
Leatham has added his expertise as guest designer for the 18th annual orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden which features thousands of the colorful and fragrant flowering plants. For Leatham, whose clients include everyone from Oprah to the Kardashians to the Dalai Lama, working with the horticulturists here at the garden was a dream come true.
"Visiting here for the first time for me was really like opening up a coloring book, and just deciding what I wanted to do, because color is so important to me. And then when they said I had the entire space to re-create, it really got exciting for me," Leatham said.
In addition to Leatham's influence, the show will seem different to Orchid fans who have visited in the past. Restoration of the historic Haupt Conservatory's Palm Dome is ongoing so the show takes a bit of a detour around it using the tunnel beneath it, which now looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
"We've used the tunnel for different things in the past, science stories, but for this particular show we tried to work with the theme of kaleidoscope and we created a wonderful light show in there," said Karen Daubmann, Associate Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Engagement.
Visitors will find themselves in the rain forest galleries with hundreds of different varieties of orchids — all part of a show that folks at the garden say will feel very fresh and new to visitors.
"For our visiting audience, there's going to be a lot of people who are going to connect with this, because it does feel so different than previous years," said Marc Hachadourian, Senior Curator of Orchids at NYBG.
For more info, visit nybg.org.