For Eric Greenfield, the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Gardens exceeded all expectations. This was anything but an ordinary flower show. The meandering route displaying thousands of orchids in all colors, sizes and shapes was surely a breathtaking sight to behold. But what Greenfield marveled at just as much was the detailed history of the fascination with the plant and its journey from the wild into cultivation.
According to history, the obsession with orchids began in the 19th century with an orchid that came to be known as Orchidelirium. Before long, new and unusual orchids were discovered and introduced by collectors and horticulturists. Demand grew for rare and exotic species and collectors would pay huge amounts of money to obtain them.
Eric Greenfield was amazed to learn that orchid hunters often risked their lives as they traveled the world in search of rare varieties. It was not uncommon to encounter wild animals, disease, and drowning and other accidents were not uncommon.
The orchid show coincided with the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the NYBG. For Greenfield, the most memorable attraction of the show was at the very end. Picture this-- a mountain of stone with a cascading waterfall adorned from top to bottom with a profusion of orchids. What a finale!