New York Botanical Garden, A Virtual, Online Haven During This Global Pandemic

 

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham

‘The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope,’ NYBG 18th Annual Orchid Show (Carole Di Tosti)

The Medieval 21st century plague of Covid 19 has swept into the United States with insidious tyranny. Sadly, with insufficient testing, the nation doesn’t realize the extent of its invisible spread, just yet.

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham, NYBG

‘The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope,’ NYBG 18th Annual Orchid Show (Carole Di Tosti)

However, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill Di Blasio are aware of the implications of the tragic events in Italy as that country goes into more weeks of quarantine. Thus, these prescient and dynamic New York leaders with the efforts of our heroes in the medical professions and essential services, are making the invisible visible with massive testing.

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham, NYBG

‘The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope,’ NYBG 18th Annual Orchid Show (Carole Di Tosti)

Edinburgh circa 1650, pic of The Plague Doctor's "hazmat outfit" to prevent infection

The Plague Doctor (Carole Di Tosti)

New York is to be commended for being in the forefront to scale up the protocols, supplies, research and data to nail down this nefarious, highly communicable virus and siphon off its power so that its replication in New Yorkers is incapacitated, and its ability to kill even the most vulnerable is obviated.

To the left is a photo of The Plague Doctor’s outfit circa 1650 in Edinburgh, UK which I took from a tile I purchased after a tour underneath the streets of Edinburgh, in the Old Town. The tour was amazing. It  featured how the denizens of the city lived during the 1700s and revealed how they confronted the terrible plague which wiped out a goodly number of city dwellers. The uncertainty about what was causing the disease (the flea on the rats who lived in close proximity with citizens) led many to escape to safety in the country for fear of contagion. Those who had the means to leave, left. The remaining citizens suffered and died or caught it and recovered, or never caught it at all because they practiced quarantines or had the antibodies to keep the disease at bay.

Edinburgh circa 1650, pic of The Plague Doctor

Edinburgh, UK, photo of The Plague Doctor 1650 (Carole Di Tosti)

The Plague Doctor’s outfit was the hazmat suit of the time that protected the wearer. The bird like beak held curative herbs (rosemary, lavender, hyssop, marjoram  etc.) that the doctor breathed in, an unwitting prevention which stopped their inhalation of droplets of contagion which would move into their respiratory system and infect them.

New York Botanical Garden, fall

New York Botanical Garden, early December 2019, looking toward the herb garden, when Covid 2019 was spreading in Wuhan, mainland China and maybe globally which we may never know. (Carole Di Tosti)

Of course, curative plants, herbs like those found in the NYBG Nancy Bryan Luce Herb Garden. were used extensively in teas, tinctures, etc., and in the toolkit of the practitioner of the healing arts. The herbs listed on the page of the Nancy Bryan Luce Herb Garden are examples of prodigiously used herbs which were thought to be helpful in staving off contamination.

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidosope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham

‘The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidosope,’ NYBG 18th Orchid Show (Carole Di Tosti)

In the 21st century we are light years away from such a crisis, and yet our Covid 19 plague has strange reflections of that time in the “sheltering in place,” “hunkering down” and “pausing” that the proactive states in the nation have enacted so that all but essential services and workers must stay inside. In California, New York, Ohio, Illinois and Louisiana, this pertains if individuals are in an age range of 65 and older while all others practice social distancing,  social responsibility and self-discipline to self-monitor and not congregate anywhere whether on street corners or in parks. Surely, if other states follow, effectively managing this highly communicable pestilence Covid 19 will happen sooner than later.

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham

‘The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, (Carole Di Tosti)

During this time until it opens its gates once more, New York Botanical Garden offers hope, beauty, resilience and peace, the immutable themes it displays year-round. In these extraordinary times, these spiritual powers resonate more than ever. The Garden as a place of emotional healing continues to stand as a hallmark that we who live in New York City and New York State and those who visit from around the world, can be nourished soulfully during this gravest of pandemics. Currently, the Garden provides an online beacon of light as it flourishes during glorious spring. The Garden’s virtual offerings are an antidote to calm troubled souls and stressed spirits.

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham

‘The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, (Carole Di Tosti)

First, their new content page is on NYBG.ORG CLICK HERE.  This page provides a way to stay connected to the Botanical Garden through our collections’ digital resources, creative educational programs, and other online offerings. For the home site NYBG At Home  CLICK HERE.

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham

‘The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, (Carole Di Tosti)

As spring unfolds, NYBG at Home will showcase the brightness and color seasonal spectacle. On March 20, the first day of spring, they presented a brief “first day of spring video walk” around NYBG’s grounds. The video can be viewed: CLICK HERE.

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham, NYBG

‘The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope,’ NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham, NYBG (Carole Di Tosti)

Through NYBG at Home, plant lovers can find out about upcoming virtual events such as a Facebook Watch Party video tour of The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope on Wednesday, March 25, at 12 p.m. EDT. The site also provides convenient, one-click links to NYBG’s blogs; the digital collection of NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library; teacher resources; plant-based, kid-friendly recipes; ways to get involved in virtual research projects; and much more. The Garden hopes it will be a reminder of how the natural world brings joy and a respite from troubles.

The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham's Kaleidoscope, NYBG 18th Orchid Show, Jeff Leatham, NYBG

‘The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope,’ NYBG 18th Annual Orchid Show (Carole Di Tosti)

We do not know how long we will be monitoring each other, collaborating to keep everyone across the global as safe as possible and as healthy as possible through our social responsibility. It is a domino, butterfly effect. What we do here will impact our neighbors across the Pond, in Europe, in Oceania, in Asia and other places around the world. If we keep ourselves healthy with social distancing, we reveal our care and concern for our brothers and sisters in our human family. One way to keep our souls enriched is through visual online viewing of beauty and peace. Plants are our key. They can be silent representatives of love if you open your souls to them. Keep yourselves safe=healthy and enjoy the Garden. Together, we can get through this as we watch each other’s backs and remain uplifted. #plantlove

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About caroleditosti

Carole Di Tosti, Ph.D. is an Entertainment Journalist, unpublished novelist, poet and playwright. Writing is my life. When I don't write I am desolate. Carole Di Tosti has over 1000 articles, reviews, and other writings online. Carole Di Tosti writes for Theater Pizzazz and other New York theater websites; Carole Di Tost free-lanced for VERVE and wrote for Technorati for 2 years until the site changed its focus and Blogcritics which is archived. Carole Di Tosti covers premiere film festivals in the NY area:: Tribeca FF, NYFF, DOC NY, Hamptons IFF, NYJewish FF. She also covers SXSW film.

Posted on March 22, 2020, in New York Botanical Garden, NYBG EXHIBITS and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. gggreen66@aol.com

    THanks for this Carole. it is wonderful . hope u r well. Gwen   

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  2. Yes. Hope you are doing well also. I’m cleaning like I’ve never cleaned before. lolol

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  3. Elizabeth Agnese

    I love this mindful post, Carole.Andrew Cuomo said, “Be spiritually connected and use social distancing.”The universe has our back and we are uniting together.  Mother Earth is feeling better, due to less impact on her now, while we all take a mindful break and be thankful for what we have in our lives individually and collectively. This was the theme of the film Groundhog Day. You keep repeating something (in this case, the Day), until you actually see the miracles in front of your eyes, each day, and that all people matter (all ages, all cultures). Mindful virtual hugs,  Elizabeth

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  4. As always Elizabeth,well said. I do agree. Dolphins are returning for swims in the Venice canals not having to dodge the boats zipping around. Swans have returned to the placidity. And the air pollution is down in NYC, in addition to the pollution controls always working. I have sweet doves (not pigeons) come to visit and coo on my balcony. About three weeks ago, there were 5. I see it as a sign. The whole earth is watching us and Robert DeNiro is too. lolol (That ad that Gov. Cuomo had him do is just great). So, thanks again and stay well in this crucible of corona. XO Baci

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