Wild Medicine: Healing Plants Around the World, Featuring the Italian Renaissance Garden

May 18 - September 8, 2013

Discover how cultures around the world rely on plants for everything from medicine to cosmetics. Embark on a journey of the senses through a stunning re-creation of an Italian Renaissance garden and interactive stations highlighting the rejuvenating and healing powers of tea, cacao, and tropical juices. Explore a fascinating presentation of rare books and manuscripts known as herbals and enjoy a poetry walk, weekend Renaissance music & dance performances, hands-on science adventures for kids, and more!

Healing Plants Around the World

Featuring the research of some of the Garden's leading experts in science, medicine, and ethnobotany, Healing Plants Around the World explores plants such as the cinchona tree, the source of quinine, which treats malaria, and white willow, whose bark leads to the production of aspirin. More than 500 species or cultivars of medicinal plants are showcased, most of them grown in the Garden's glasshouses, making this one of the largest exhibitions of medicinal plants ever mounted. See the full list.

The Italian Renaissance Garden

This verdant exhibit is inspired by Europe's first botanical garden, created in 1545 at the University of Padua, in the Venetian Republic. A lush landscape of Mediterranean flowers, including exotic varieties, endangered species, and medicinal plants, are classically composed to evoke the original design that remains at Padua to this day.

The Renaissance Herbal

This compelling exhibition, in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library's Rondina and LoFaro Gallery, showcasing rare manuscripts and beautifully illustrated books produced in the medieval and Renaissance eras, demonstrates the evolving role plants have played in medicine and history since antiquity. These beautiful herbals have been selected from the incomparable collections of the Mertz Library, the largest botanical and horticultural library in the world.

Leadership support provided by the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust

Additional support provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and Save Venice Inc.

Four Seasons

May 18 - October 27

Four Seasons, in the Conservatory Courtyard, is an installation of four sculptures, each standing more than 15 feet high--Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter--by contemporary American artist and filmmaker Philip Haas. Haas was inspired by the 16th-century Italian Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who painted eccentric, yet scientifically accurate, composite heads composed of flowers, ivy, moss, fungi, vegetables, fruit, bark, and branches. The colossal size of Haas's sculpture accentuates the visual puzzle of natural forms as they are recycled to form four human portraits, each representing an individual season.

Four Seasons is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Additional support provided by the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation


Presented by:

Sponsored by:

Additional support provided by: Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Inc.
New York Council for the Humanities