Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope and Orchid Nights Burst With Color at The New York Botanical Garden’ Annual Orchid Show

After a nearly two-year hiatus and a pause of one of the most beautiful orchid shows ever, Jeff Leatham returns to The  New York Botanical Garden with his lavish Kaleidoscope show. Running through May 1, The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope decorates the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory with orchids from above and below with species and color as vibrant as the decorator himself.

Pink exotics ©Meryl Pearlstein

Perfectly timed to complement the blooming cherry blossoms and daffodils outdoors, the orchid show attracts visitors from all over the world with both its artistic and educational bent.

Orchids and Cherry Blossoms ©Meryl Pearlstein

Jeff Leatham’s original orchid extravaganza at the NYBG was cut short in 2020. But even if you caught part of that experience, Leatham promises that this year’s version is quite different. Reflecting his many years of experience as artistic director of the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris and floral designer to the stars (think Oprah and the Dalai Lama),“Kaleidoscope” evinces Leatham’s evolving view of colors that twist and turn. Establishing the theme at the beginning of the exhibit, orchids reflect off a multi-dimensional mirrored sculpture creating a kaleidoscopic effect as you move around it.

The Mirror ©Meryl Pearlstein

Look up and down as you walk through the halls of orchids and the psychedelic tunnel – your journey is a non-stop burst of color.

The Tunnel ©Meryl Pearlstein

The arches and rooms in the Conservatory are decorated with thousands of orchids, some dangling overhead, some forming dramatic towers, and others lined politely along the garden edges. Micro orchids, rare orchids, slipper orchids and species of all colors fill the glass building, with cherry blossoms visible outside.

Orchids Above and Below ©Meryl Pearlstein

Returning this year as well, the NYBG’s after-dark program “Orchid Evenings” adds a special dimension to the delicate blooms indoors. Cocktails, stage performances by Princess Lockerooo and Harold O’Neal, and refreshments from the Bronx Night Market create a festive party from 7pm-10pm on April 22 and 23. You must be 21 to attend the evening showings and a reservation to enter the Conservatory is required.

Purple Exotics ©Meryl Pearlstein

Plan your timing so you can explore the gardens outdoors by day, enjoy the orchids in their indoor setting as dusk falls, and then indulge in the outdoor fun that will have you smiling until late. You can also reserve an early-evening table at the Hudson Garden Grill on Saturdays (last reservation is at 5:30pm).

Slipper Orchids ©Meryl Pearlstein

Tickets can be purchased online for all orchid programs and for day entry to the garden.

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory ©Meryl Pearlstein

The NYBG’s gift shop continues the experience with books, gardening information, and a wide range of orchids for sale from “beginner” easy-to-grow varieties to more demanding “diva” types. (For non-flower items, you can also order online). If you miss the show or wish to learn more about orchids, the Botanical Garden is offering an online class on May 11 that will teach you all about orchids. Register here.

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