New York Botanical Garden Showcasing Landscape Artist Lily Kwong

December 21, 2022. Bronx, NY—The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) has announced renowned landscape artist Lily Kwong as the guest designer for its 20th annual Orchid Show. Featuring immersive installations of thousands of orchids, Lily Kwong’s design of the exhibition will transport guests to ethereal, reverent landscapes inspired by ancient Chinese garden design and artistic principles. The Orchid Show: Natural Heritage will be on view from February 18 through April 23, 2023, in NYBG’s historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Tickets for the exhibition, which has been called “the most Instagrammable event,” are on sale now at

The Orchid Show: Natural Heritage by Lily Kwong will explore the diversity, adaptability, and worldwide cultural significance of these formidable flowers. Inspired by classic paintings of Chinese mountainscapes passed down through her family from Shanghai, Kwong will utilize an extraordinary array of orchids—including iconic and rare specimens—enveloping visitors in towering mountainous forms that blend ecology, culture, and fantasy. Inspired by Kwong’s own heritage, medicinal traditions, and her artistic interpretation of nature as a healing force, the resulting experience will beckon visitors into an immersive world in which humanity and nature coexist peacefully.

Working in collaboration with Kwong to bring her vision to life, horticulturists at NYBG have identified orchids from the Botanical Garden’s collections, as well as from some of the finest growers in the world, with a specific focus on Asian countries. These flowers will be assembled to create dynamic displays that are not only visually dramatic and striking, but emotionally evocative, inspiring visitors to reflect on their own plant heritage and ancestry. The exhibition’s varied installations evoking ancient mountainous topographies will invite visitors to experience the boundlessness of nature’s creativity and imagine a future where environmental harmony is restored.

“I am deeply honored by the invitation to be the guest designer of NYBG’s historic, 20th annual Orchid Show. The Garden’s Conservatory, greenhouses, and educational programs inspired my early career. This exhibition’s design is my most autobiographical work to date, and the piece took shape through meditation and exploration of my ancestral roots stretching back generations to Shanghai,” said Kwong. “As the first woman of color to step into the role as guest designer, it felt urgent to celebrate an Asian-centered perspective in the midst of this charged and precarious moment,” she said. “The piece is meant to offer a bridge of cultural understanding across the valley between us, and act as an invitation to celebrate the diverse lineages that make up our country.”

Kwong continued, “At a time when we are all starved for connection, the prayer of this installation is to offer a sense of community, reciprocity, and grounding into ancient wisdom and traditions that have guided us for millennia. In traditional Chinese culture, flowers are the carriers of rich cultural information and have been revered by scholars for representing integrity, peace, and refinement. These beautiful and often elusive flowers invoke poetry and admiration, inspire entire scientific careers, and are a critical part of our ecosystems. Orchids are the perfect plant to draw people into the complexities of our relationships with the natural world and our vital roles nourishing those connections.”

“We are thrilled to have Lily Kwong join us as the guest designer for The Orchid Show, sharing her artistic insight and perspective with our audiences,” said Jennifer Bernstein, Chief Executive Officer and The William C. Steere Sr. President of The New York Botanical Garden. “Orchids are one of the largest families of flowering plants and the second most diverse plant family in the world. Lily’s meditative and captivating designs will reveal the importance of plants in reconnecting people to nature and as a powerful source of healing and self-discovery.” Bernstein added, “One of our major goals here at this beloved green space in the Bronx is to inspire visitors and learners of all ages to appreciate, respect, and care for nature. This exhibition gives us an opportunity to showcase orchids, which are among the most celebrated and most beguiling of our unparalleled living plant collections, and to educate the public about NYBG’s plant research and conservation work, and it is our pleasure to be able to partner with Lily Kwong in that endeavor this time.”

On select nights during The Orchid Show, adults 21 and over can experience the exhibition through Orchid Evenings, with music, cash bars and food available for purchase.

At NYBG Shop, visitors to The Orchid Show may browse thousands of top-quality orchids, from exotic, hard-to-find specimens for connoisseurs to elegant yet easy-to-grow varieties for beginners, along with orchid products and books.

For more information about The Orchid Show, please visit:


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