As I mentioned earlier, the unremitting drear of these grey days got me on the D train to the Bronx, and a two-hour visit to the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden left me feeling as if I had been in the tropics for two weeks. The monumental sculptures on the lawns were an additional treat.
And last, but hardly least, was the surprise of everything else in bloom in the dazzling, Victorian-style glasshouse where the orchids are on display. The orchids are clamoring for attention right now, of course, but there are several other breath-taking beauties worthy of more than a passing glance.
I lingered a long while at a passion vine. Passiflora vitifolia, a South American native, was in full, rampant, health, throwing itself around like a hormonal adolescent--when it wasn't trailing shyly into corners. Flower and leaf made a charming little tableau against the wet flags of the glasshouse.
There are two large arches of vines across the top of one of the houses. I had never seen either covered with so many blossoms. This one is Thunbergia mysorensis, Mysore clockvine, from India.
Indeed, those crimson and marigold hues are one of the most vivid impressions I have of my trip to India a couple of years ago.
Just a few feet away another hoop stretches across the top of the house, this one covered with a Jade vine.
The color of the blossoms on Strongylodon macrobotrys, from the Philippines, is surreal. The flowers have an odd, waxy, nearly plastic sheen; they are thick and heavy.
The tree-tomato, or tamarillo--Solanum betaceum, sunning itself...
The peau de soie texture of Osa pulchra from Costa Rica...a blossom the size of a grapefruit.
And the citrus in bloom, a heady fragrance hanging in the moist air. I'm having fantasies of moving into a greenhouse....but in the meantime I'll hang out at the New York Botanical Garden, one of my favorite places in the world.