Patrick Blanc Vertical Garden of Orchids at New York Botanical Garden
World-Renowned French Botanist and Artist Brings Breathtaking Displays to The New York Botanical Garden
The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Gardens March 3–April 22, 2012
The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Gardens at The New York Botanical Garden will be unlike any other orchid show ever seen. That is because the guest designer for the 10th annual exhibition is Patrick Blanc, world-renowned French botanist and artist who will transform the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory with his spectacular vertical walls of living foliage. Using thousands of orchids and companion plantings as his palette, Blanc introduces towering spectacles of tropical life to the landmark Conservatory. Blanc, celebrated for his innovative vertical gardens and signature “green walls,” abandons the constraints of gravity in his cutting-edge approach to horticulture. In an explosion of alluring design and fragrance, exotic plant walls rise high above, creating this season’s not-to-be missed exhibition for garden lovers, orchid fans, and those desiring a one-day tropical retreat.
Rich in color and texture, Blanc’s living tapestries have been commissioned for cityscapes, interiors, museum exhibitions, and fashion shows worldwide. One of the most notable among his more than 150 projects in 20 countries is the living exterior façade of the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.
Blanc Uses Orchids and Tropical Plants to Create Mesmerizing Textural Walls in the Conservatory
This year The Orchid Show at The New York Botanical Garden, the nation’s largest and only curated orchid exhibition, begins with a dramatic 8’ x 16’ wall erected in the Reflecting Pool of the Palms of the World Gallery and planted with vibrant orchids such as Psychopsis Kalihi (butterfly orchid), ferns and other foliage, interspersed with ribbons of trickling water. The journey continues through the Lowland Tropical Rain Forest Gallery, where orchids grow in the canopies of tropical trees, and then past a display of miniature orchids, some with thousands of tiny flowers on a single plant, in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest Gallery.
Upon entering the Seasonal Exhibition Galleries, The Orchid Show’s main galleries, visitors will encounter Blanc’s astounding 13’ x 13’ “cube” of orchids, a square of four vertical walls of plants with two doorways and six windows. Outside, the “cube” will be festooned with a remarkable array of orchids. Inside, visitors will be treated to Blanc’s images and drawings, reflecting how his fascination with the remarkable adaptations and diversity of plants sparked his innovative approach to vertical gardens and his creative flair for growing plants in urban environments.
After experiencing the rich textures and dramatic colors of Blanc’s “cube,” visitors travel along a pathway flanked by three walls, 23’ to 33’ feet in length. Alive with more of his exciting designs, inspired by his many travels to tropical environments, these walls are clad with Blanc’s distinctive plantings of lush ferns and tropical foliage plants such as zebra basket vine, rex begonia vine, showy medinilla, chain cactus, and Krauss’ spike-moss mixed with brilliant orchids, including ×Aliceara Marfitch ‘Howard’s Dream’, ×Oncidesa Gower Ramsey ‘Hilo Dream’, ×Jackfowlieara Appleblossom ‘Woodlands’, and ×Miltonidium Melissa Brianne ‘Highland’, to create intricate patterns of colors and shapes. Intoxicating fragrances permeate the air, completing a journey of the senses that transports visitors to an exotic and captivating world.
Designer Patrick Blanc
The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden is designed by award-winning French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc, known internationally as the “Green Man” for his groundbreaking living tapestries. At the age of seven, he designed his first aquarium; at the age of 15, Blanc constructed his first waterfall by recycling aquarium water through the root systems of plants. Through 35 years of studying the adaptive properties of plants in the world’s most primitive forests, Blanc’s process allows plants, flowers, mosses, and vines to grow without soil along the face of a wall. His passionate fascination with plants that grow in unusual places has made Blanc a pioneer in this emerging form of horticultural art.
The concept of the green wall dates back to 600 B.C. with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Blanc has modernized the larger green wall concept with his innovative brand of hydroponics technology. Renowned French architect Jean Nouvel writes in the preface of “The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City” by Patrick Blanc, “He works on including a multiplicity of species. The system is fabulous and the results mysterious.” This exhibition will celebrate Blanc as a designer and an artist and introduce his remarkable creations to thousands of visitors.
The Orchid Experience Continues Throughout the Garden
In venues across the Garden’s 250 acres, The Orchid Show offers visitors opportunities to learn about the Garden’s historic and ongoing orchid research, embark on an audio tour, purchase top-quality orchids at Shop in the Garden, receive care information from experts, take orchid-related courses, and more:
• History and Mystery of Orchids Saturdays and Sundays, 1 & 3 p.m. With over 25,000 species growing on six continents, orchids fascinate and touch the lives of people in every country and culture from the jungles of Costa Rica to vanilla farms in Mexico. This series of exciting presentations and demonstrations takes you on a journey around the world of orchids and shows you how to grow and care for them at home.
• Orchid Audio Tour A cell phone tour of The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden complements the exhibition, giving visitors a unique perspective on the remarkable orchids in the Conservatory.
• Orchids for Sale Shop in the Garden has hard-to-find specimens as well as easy-to-grow varieties, orchid-care products, and hundreds of books about this esteemed flower. On weekends, experts will be available to advise you in selecting and caring for orchids.
• Orchid Evenings Saturdays throughout The Orchid Show plus Friday, April 20, 6:30–9:00 p.m. Enjoy a cocktail while viewing The Orchid Show and its thousands of spectacular flowers. Music and unforgettable beauty make for one of New York City’s most romantic date destinations. Your ticket includes a complimentary cocktail and special dinner offers at some of Arthur Avenue’s outstanding restaurants. Non-Member $30/Member $20 (Adults 21 and over)
Orchid • Capturing the Beauty of Orchids: Photography Workshop
Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. The Garden’s renowned Orchid Show is ideal for photographing the beauty of these highly prized flowers. Hone your skills of composition, background control, close-up angles, and capturing natural light. Complete the day with a presentation and critique of your photographs. Non- Member $158/Member $142
• Orchids in Ice! Sunday, March 25, 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Create your own show-stopping orchid arrangement in a container filled with faux ice after gaining creative inspiration from the beautiful orchids in The Orchid Show. Non-Member $96/Member $86
Browse more classes and register at nybg.org/AdultEd Visit the Garden’s Web site at nybg.org for complete exhibition details and to purchase tickets.
Founding Sponsor, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation
Major Sponsors, Mr. & Mrs. Marvin H. Davidson Generous support also provided by the Karen Katen Foundation Additional support provided by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States