NYBG Wonderland Exhibit Opening

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

What can be better than being able to walk through a whimsical setting of a beloved childhood literary classic and observing nature’s beautiful florals? Both can be done at the New York Botanical Garden’s (NYBG) latest presentation! The all-new, immersive, and enchanting exhibition, Wonderland: Curious Nature, inspired by the beloved stories Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There runs through October 27th.  It features a magnificent flower show, fantastical tea parties, and exciting night events. Visitors of all ages will step into a one-of-a-kind botanical experience that grows “curiouser” and “curiouser” as they journey through settings, sights, and scents evoking the classic tale and its sequel. Wonderland is a magnificent flower show with contemporary art installations, engaging daytime programming, fantastical tea parties, and exciting night experiences await the curious and adventuresome at heart. Nature at NYBG transcends the confines of traditional exhibitions, seamlessly blending breathtaking floral displays with contemporary art, all set against the backdrop of NYBG’s 250-acre landscape, landmark buildings, and lush natural beauty. The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is one of many horticultural highlights, bursting into peak flower in June, with thousands of roses looking their best through September, as if cued by a conductor or commanded by a queen.

Nearly 160 years after its first publication, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its heroic protagonist remain touchstones for imagination and wonder across generations and around the world. The beloved tale serves as an inspiration with its archival objects to evoke the events and settings brought to life in the Alice stories, while also examining the scientific, botanical, and cultural context that produced them and will span three seasons.  In the Leon Levy Visitor Center, a White Rabbit fashioned entirely out of plants greets visitors. Created by Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal (MIM), a Canadian company dedicated to modern interpretations of the art of “mosaiculture,” a blend of sculpture and plant cultivation, the early 12-foot-tall rabbit is one of their incredible installations, which have been shown at botanical gardens and attractions in North America, Europe, and Asia. A horticultural wonderland, Down the Rabbit Hole, awaits visitors in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and the surrounding area. Visitors meander through a display of the giant tropical water lily and other aquatic species before entering a manicured landscape with an English double border. As the orderly walled garden begins to come undone, visitors find themselves inside a mysterious rabbit hole and emerge to behold giant leaves and miniature plants. This old garden of colorful wonders features some of the most fetchingly odd plants from NYBG’s collections. Devil’s tongue from China, giant milkweed from Africa, and Myrmecodia, a plant from Australia that serves as a home to colonies of ants, are just some of the many bizarre but beautiful plants. Outside, on the Conservatory Lawn, the boundaries of botanical art are challenged by more than 100 topiaries in geometric shapes. Featured plants include a traditional English garden alongside plants that are seemingly plucked from the imagination.  Organized by curator and scholar Jennifer R. Gross, in collaboration with NYBG, Wonderland: also showcases the work of contemporary artists in diverse media: FoldHaus, Patrick Jacobs, Andre Kong Studio, Abelardo Morell, Yoko Ono, Beverly Semmes, Alyson Shotz, Agus Putu Suyadnya, and Paula Wilson. The NYBG is located at 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458. For more information about Wonderland: Curious Nature, special evening events for adult visitors and exhibits visit their website at https://www.nybg.org/event/wonderland-curious-nature/