Category Archives: Botanical Theater

New York Botanical Garden’s GLOW and The Holiday Train Show® Are Not to be Missed

Coney Island, New York City replicas, NYBG, The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)
Coney Island, New York City replicas, NYBG, The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)
Grand Central Terminal and NY train station replicas, NYBG, The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)

The winter season is in full swing with the NYBG’s 30th Year Milestone Celebration of The Holiday Train Show® (Saturday, November 20, 2021 – Sunday, January 23, 2022 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

The beautiful exhibit which features over 1 mile of train track and a 360 degree surround space in an added gallery is a favorite of New Yorkers. This year’s show features new additions to its collection which now number over 191 miniature structures of New York City and New York State landmarks.

Once again as part of the Train Show on a new combination ticket is the expanded light exhibit GLOW. As the sun sets and the moon rises on select dates, family and friends can wander through the Garden’s festively illuminated landscape and enjoy the 1.5 mile color-and-light extravaganza that begins at 5 pm and ends at 10 p.m.

NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)

Tickets are available for the following dates: Thursday, December 23, Sunday, December 26 – Thursday, December 30. In January, these dates are available: Saturday, January 1, January 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22.

NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)
NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)
NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)
NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)

When you buy your combination ticket for NYBG GLOW and the Holiday Train Show® expect to be dazzled on two fronts. Indoors, you will enjoy the shimmering lights that ethereally pierce through the foliage of lovely plantings and New York replicas of Applied Imagination’s architectural structures perfectly arranged so that a variety of old model trains, trolleys, whimsical streetcars can speed by the miniature iconic New York landmarks.

Leading into the NYBG The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)
Lining up to enter NYBG The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)
Belevadere Castle in the Central Park Display, NYBG The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)
NYBG, The Holiday Train Show®
Edgar Allen Poe cottage in the Bronx, 1 mile from the Garden, NYBG, The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)

And along the outer garden pathways, you will be entranced by the beauty of the striking colors projected against the landscape of trees, bushes and buildings forming colorful patterns of light against the shadows. I went on a moonlit night and the effect was spectacular.

For The Holiday Train Show® look for the new additions celebrating the 30th year of the exhibit.

LuEsther T. Mertz Library, Lillian Goldman Fountain of Life, John J. Hoffee Tulip Tree Allee, NYBG The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)

Showcased are the replicas of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building, the Lillian Goldman Fountain of Life, and the John J. Hoffee Tulip Tree Allee, collectively designated a New York City Landmark in 2009. The Allee that leads up to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library is comprised of four rows of distinguished native trees that were planted beginning in 1903 and have grown to a great height.

Laura Busse Dolan, the CEO of Applied Imagination who created the replicas for The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)

When I spoke to NYBG staff and Laura Busse Dolan, the CEO of Applied Imagination, she mentioned that the Tulip Tree Allee replica in front of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building are live topiary myrtle trees very ingeniously sculpted to scale.

LuEsther T. Mertz Library, Lillian Goldman Fountain of Life, John J. Hoffee Tulip Tree Allee, NYBG, The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)

The Mertz Library is the most important botanical and horticultural library in the world. It houses more than 11 million archival items spanning 10 centuries. In a style reminiscent of a Roman Baroque palace and capped with a green copper dome, architect Robert Gibson designed the striking building in 1901.

Detail of the John J. Hoffee Tulip Tree Allee, constructed of live myrtle topiaries, NYBG, The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)
LuEsther T. Mertz Library, Lillian Goldman Fountain of Life, John J. Hoffee Tulip Tree Allee, NYBG, The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)

The Applied Imagination miniature is constructed with natural materials; the facade is made of horse chestnut bark, representing the structure’s stone blocks. Accented by mahogany pods, cinnamon pods and black walnuts (donated by a patron of NYBG) the replica is a beauty in its own right, worthy of the 900 to 1000 hours for its fabrication.

LuEsther T. Mertz Library in the distance in NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)
LuEsther T. Mertz Library in the distance in NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)

A part of the display, The Goldman Fountain of Life is the dramatic composition of mythical figures in front of the Library. American Renaissance sculptor Charles E. Tefft designed the fountain in 1905. It was restored in 2005, 100 years later. Like the real fountain, the replica mirrors the Beaux-Arts sculptures including charging seahorses, a lively nymph and a startled mermaid and merman. These figures are covered in tobacco leaves with grape vine tendrils for their hair. Incredibly, the fountain’s basin is created from large shelf fungus.

Detail, The Lillian Goldman Fountain of Life, in front of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, NYBG The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)

Some interesting facts about the structures featured in this year’s exhibit that you may not know are as follows. The Lillian and Amy Goldman Stone Mill, one of my favorite NYBG buildings dates around 1840 and can be rented out for weddings and other catered affairs. It was designated a New York City Landmark in 1966 and a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Applied Imagination’s team used tobacco leaves, cork, alder seeds, grape vine tendrils, and Brazilian and turkey tail fungi to the replica.

Enid A. Haupt Conservatory

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory features prominently on the other side of the display with the LuEsther Mertz Library Building. The Conservatory which is also a New York City Landmark is considered one of the most superb glasshouses of its time. Lord & Burnham Company completed its construction in 1902. Comprised of 11 interconnected galleries that feature different habitats and plant specimens from around the world, the conservatory also features seasonal galleries, presenting annual floral displays and special exhibitions highlighting world renowned artists. The replica finished in 2014 was constructed of birch bark, cinnamon bark curls, wheat husks and acorn caps. The cupola rests on a ring of large pine cone scales and is topped by a mahogany seedpod and lotus seedpod. If you take the time to look closely, you will recognize these plant parts and gain a new appreciation of the genius Applied Imagination manifests in is miniature structures.

NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)
NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)
Dimming out, NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)

The NYBG The Holiday Train Show® has included the seven bridges around the New York City area. Model trains and trolleys trundle along the tracks along the train trestles. the tallest replica is The Brooklyn Bridge that comes in at 16 feet. Even Hell’s Gate Bridge is included.

There are seven bridges; in NYBG The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)

Downtown Wall Street area is one of the favored exhibits that New Yorkers enjoy seeing as the recognize the iconic buildings which include the Woolworth Building, the ferry building, the Oculus and One World Trade Center. The Staten Island Ferry and Statue of Liberty replicas are recognizable globally.

Downtown exhibit, NYBG, The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)
The ferries and the ferry building, NYBG The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)
Downtown New York City, another view, NYBG, The Holiday Train Show® (Carole Di Tosti)
NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)
Leon Levy Center, Gift and Plant shop, NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)
The conservatory in NYBG GLOW (12/23, 26-30, 1, 6-8, 14, 15, 21,22) (Carole Di Tosti)

NYBG’s 30th Year Milestone Celebration of The Holiday Train Show® on a combination ticket with GLOW runs from (Thursday December 23, 2021 – Sunday, January 23, 2022 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.) For tickets and times (and by now, you should purchase a membership, you know you always wanted to) go to their website by CLICKING HERE.

New York Botanical Garden: Intimate ORCHID Spotlight Replaces Annual Exhibit

Phalaneopsis orchids, NYBG
Phalaneopsis Orchids, NYBG (Carole Di Tosti)

As a result of the pandemic, the New York Botanical Garden has changed its approach regarding its annual orchid exhibition. In keeping with safety and security for New Yorkers, Garden members and guests, the annual Orchid Show will return in 2022. As a replacement, the Garden is focusing on a personal and close-up view of orchids without the fanfare, showiness and crowds.

corsage orchid, NYBG,
Corsage orchid, NYBG (Carole Di Tosti)

This year unusual orchids and other plants from NYBG’s permanent collections will be displayed in select galleries of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory on February 20–April 4, 2021.

vanda orchids, NYBG
Vanda orchids, NYBG (Carole Di Tosti)

Continuing with reduced indoor capacity, The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is forgoing its traditional orchid exhibition presenting a limited Spotlight on Orchids and other permanent plant collections in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. A visit to select galleries of the Conservatory will reveal displays of orchids in brilliant white and striking colors set against the foliage of aroids, ferns, and bromeliads. The plantings highlight how the orchids might be found in nature as they blend seamlessly with their surroundings.

phalaneopsis orchids, NYBG
Phalaenopsis orchids, NYBG (Carole Di Tosti)

The approach brings attention to orchids in their habitats and emphasizes investigation of orchids as one of the largest of plant families in their their variety with differences in their shape, size and color to attract pollinators. Orchids thrive on every continent except Antarctica and can be found even the desert gallery of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

Paphiopedilum, NYBG ‘Orchid Show: ‘Singapore,’ 2019, Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (Carole Di Tosti)

As visitors walk through the various galleries, they will be able to view and explore unique orchids from NYBG’s renowned collections from around the world. The Garden is known for its rare orchids. Don’t forget to take a long, lingering look at the glass case between the galleries where many of the Garden’s rare and small orchids enjoy their special, controlled environment. Also, check out the artful floral creations. These are fashioned by Botanical Garden horticulturists. The creations combine expressive orchids from the popular Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) to lady slippers (Paphiopedilum) with rocks, tree trunks, vines, and other found materials.

Dancing Lady Orchids, NYBG
Dancing Lady orchids, NYBG (Carole Di Tosti)

NYBG looks forward to the return of its annual Orchid Show in 2022.

Cymbidium Orchids, NYBG
Cymbidium orchids, NYBG (Carole Di Tosti)

The Spotlight on Orchids runs from Saturday, February 20, through Sunday, April 4, 2021; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Phalaenopsis Orchids, NYBG
Phalaenopsis orchids, NYBG (Carole Di Tosti)

Tickets for Spotlight on Orchids is open to all visitors with the purchase of an advance, timed Garden Pass + Conservatory ticket, which includes access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and outdoor gardens and collections. Click on http://nybg.org/visit for more information or tickets.

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