by Marisa Marcantonio

There's always room for more beauty in the world, as the splendorous Orchid-filled tables at the

New York Botanical Garden's annual Orchid Dinner proved.  More than 25 designers worked their floral magic again this year, at the Veranda Magazine-sponsored event, creating visions of Key West Contemporary to kick off the 12th Annual Orchid Show. Funds raised from the evening and the sale of rare Orchids go towards Orchid research at the Botanic Garden. What is more glorious than seeing masses of orchids imagined in a variety of fantastical settings? From monochromatic palettes to a fruity-colored mix, the tables tapped a tropical vibe. The designs were a bit tamer than in years past ie, not as enormous in scale, but as usual this event is a delight for the eyes. Even more breathtaking in person, this will give you a sense of the creative botanic artistry that went on this year. Be sure to visit the NYBG Orchid Show which is on till April 20th, it provides another Orchid gazing opportunity that should not be missed.

Photos courtesy of Billy Farrell

A ring of fuchsia orchids were suspended above the Robert Couturier-designed  table in an act of suspended disbelief.

 Danielle Rollins, a talented new addition this year, created a bright, multicolored ethnic global-inspired setting.

She used wonderful embroidered napkins and one of my favorite Schumacher classics on the chairs, a multicolored ikat.

Stephen Elrod, creative director of Brunschwig and Fils went bold with turquoise, hot pink and acid green pairing a floral printed skirt and striped chair covers.

Capturing the essence of Hemingway's Key West,  a signpost that was tangled up in orchids.

Staying on message with some of Papa Hemingway classics strewn about.

With a little razzmatazz and a lot of color, Cullman and Kravis created a party-ready mood with their tiki hut table topper.

 A riot of color, the china matched the flowers in their brilliance.

A geometric box balanced on an angle rose out of a low arrangement at David Easton's stunning table design.

I have to say, Phillip Gorrivan won the prize for most height and drama- his towering lacquer white urn rose towards the sky. The palm leaves and orchids took it even higher. It was really something.

A charming low green arrangement by Magnafloral in a white vessel was understated chic.

Pastel blues and yellows provided the backdrop for draping fronds and acid green orchids by Sherrill Canet.

Shawn Henderson's centerpiece was inspired by the Florida work of prominent modernist of the 1960's, Paul Rudolph, and his custom plaster piece features a concrete ball suspended from a rope. Very minimal and chic.

 A veritable tropical jungle!

Alison Spear for Arquitectonica Interiors showcased their wallpapers in place of a fabric tablecloth.

SOLD! The rare Orchids were sold out in the blink of an eye.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Every winter, exotic orchids provide the tablesetting magic for The New York Botanical Garden's Orchid Dinner. The glorious event, generously underwritten by Veranda, BNY Mellon and Tiffany and Co, is a way to celebrate and support one of New York's best loved horticultural treasures, The New York Botanical Garden. “We were thrilled to sponsor the Orchid Dinner for our 5th consecutive year,” said Veranda editor in chief Dara Caponigro. “The evening supports the New York Botanical Garden’s vital work in conservation and education and we are pleased to have helped the Garden attract so much creative talent in support of its mission. This event is always a showcase for some of the most extraordinary design.” If you have not been to the gardens, go! The stunning Orchid Show that opens March 3rd draws quite a crowd from far and wide, as does their beautifully-edited gift shop.
For the table designs, interior and floral designers start with the delicate looking blooms, and build their design story around the flower-- sometimes using masses upon masses of them. This year, the tables were as divine as ever, with orchid arrangements created out of every possible variety and hue soaring heavenward. Here is a sampling of several tablescapes, with more to follow tomorrow.
You may get orchid fever, watch out:

Stephen Elrod for Brunschwig & Fils created a global fantasy land using the newest bold Brunschwig prints. Notice the giraffe centerpiece holding a lantern in its mouth. Stephen always outdoes himself.

Reds yellows and pinks step up to the splendid giraffe.

David Easton created a low lying arrangement with Maidenhair ferns and tall Phaelenopsis.

Laura Vinroot Poole with John Lupton, Andrew Thomas and Leontine Linens had a blast of brights and a giant red urn filled with chartreuse and red orchids.

Connie of Plaza Flowers had a true piece de resistance, pairing a large spray of deep red orchids with brushed metals.

Philip Gorrivan for Lalique went for white and clear.

Flower School New York's Felipe Sastre created a palm tree out of Phaelenopsis.

LMD Lewis Miller Design combined clear glass, a metallic table skirt and crisp white orchids.

Bowman Dahl Floral & Event Design worked with gray and mercury glass to go along with the fanciful puff of orchids atop a long stemmed vase.

Baccarat by Rafael de Cardenas/Architecture at Large used intricately intertwined orchids in vibrant tones for a rain forest effect.

Michael Walter for Lexington Gardens created a gorgeous towering waterfall of garden tools and potted orchids that was spectacular.

Robert Marinelli, RMID Enterprises, Inc. mixed a matte burlap cloth with hits of fuchsia and a glittery low centerpiece of a log with orchids sprouting from it, pure woodlands fantasy.

Campion Platt rang in the Chinese New Year with low orchids and a fanciful multi-hued paper dragon.

MagnaFlora Design | Events had a showstopping low centerpiece of just purple orchids.

Guests got to take home a mini orchid.

Roric Tobin for Geoffrey Bradfield Inc. went on safari.