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NYBG Orchid Show 2022
Photograph: Shaye Weaver/Time Out New York

A first look at the kaleidoscopic blooms at this year's Orchid Show

The color-changing rainbow tunnel is back!

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Perspective is everything. At least, this is certainly the case with this year's Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden.

Floral designer (to the stars!) Jeff Leatham is back with his kaleidoscope-themed designs for the second time after the pandemic cut his 2020 show short. Like a kaleidoscope, this year's show may be the same theme as last year's, but it presents a different perspective than before. (Luckily, the same highly Instagrammable rainbow tunnel is back!)

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Set across three galleries, Leatham's work is playful, colorful and reflective. When you enter the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory's Palm Court to begin the journey through the show, you are welcomed with a sculpture of fragmented mirrors resembling the inside of a kaleidoscope with sprays of orchids in shades of orange, yellow, pink and red inside and surrounding it.

The orchids lead visitors on into its rainforest climate, where they climb up trees and dangle from branches, through glasshouse galleries and ultimately back into the Palm Court, where it ends in a glorious crescendo of blooms that both hang from the ceiling and reflect off peaceful ponds. 

NYBG Orchid Show 2022
Photograph: Shaye Weaver/Time Out New York

Thousands of orchids of every shape and color imaginable (even turquoise) have their moment in the grand kaleidoscope of the show. 

"We wanted to keep the same name," Leatham said at the show's preview this week. "Every time you look into a kaleidoscope, you see a different image, scenario, and beautiful story. The moment you walk in here, you see a story throughout."

NYBG Orchid Show 2022
Photograph: Shaye Weaver/Time Out New York

But if vibrant color is what you're after at the Orchid Show, you'll be pleased to know that the underground rainbow tunnel is back. Midway through the show, you can walk through this tunnel, which mimics the turn of a kaleidoscope with changing lights that glow all colors of the rainbow.

Since the Orchid Show is such a popular event each spring, we recommend grabbing tickets to NYBG's Orchid Evenings on select Fridays and Saturdays in March and April for those 21 and older. You can experience the exhibition at night with music, a cash bar and food with plenty of time for photos.

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidoscope is on at the NYBG between February 26 through May 1.

NYBG Orchid Show 2022
Photograph: Shaye Weaver/Time Out New York

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