In telling the tale of one of the great Amazonian explorers, C.V. von Martius, I wrote that, “… Martius was carrying with him 20,000 botanical specimens which served, and continue to serve, as the basis for countless botanical studies, including Flora Brasiliensis which remains the only published complete Flora of Brazil to this day.” To clarify, I was not suggesting that Flora Brasiliensis contains all Brazilian species, but that it is the only Brazilian Flora that included all documented plant species in Brazil at the time of its writing. In fact, there are at least twice as many species known in Brazil today as there were back then!
Examples of new information resulting from botanical exploration in French Guiana: A/B. New species Byttneria morii C. Monopteryx inpae, previously known only from central Amazonian Brazil D. Miconia cacatin, placed in the wrong genus when first published
“What’s that vine?” is a question I overhear frequently when strolling near the Herb Garden. Do you know what it is? Here’s a hint: Mmmmmmm … beer! Yep, that’s right, it’s none other than Humulus lupulus, aka hops, the bringer of tasty bitter flavors and preservation to one of mankind’s favorite beverages.
Tomorrow marks the opening day of our summer exhibition, Wild Medicine: Healing Plants Around the World! This very exciting exhibition has several elements spread throughout our 250 acres. Wander through the 11 galleries of the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to explore the story of how plants help keep us healthy, happy, and beautiful. Exhibition elements inside the Conservatory include tasting stations, informative signs, and two entire galleries dedicated to The Italian Renaissance Garden, a reinterpretation of Europe’s first botanical garden, the teaching gardens at the University of Padua established in 1545. Outside in the Conservatory Courtyards, Four Seasons features sculptures by Philip Haas, inspired by the works of Giuseppe Arcimboldo. You will also find additional tasting stations featuring tea and tropical juices alongside the beautiful waterlily pools in the Courtyards.
In the Library Building, the LuEsther T. Mertz Library is hosting The Renaissance Herbal in the Rondina and LoFaro Gallery. Explore rare books and manuscripts known as herbals that demonstrate the evolving role that plants have played in medicine and history since antiquity. Weekends feature a rich repertoire of the music and dance of the Italian Renaissance period. On view in the Ross Gallery, Nature’s Pharmacy features photographs of medicinal and beneficial plants taken by professional and amateur photographers from around the world as part of the prestigious International Garden Photographer of the Year contest. Select weekend home gardening demonstrations will offer gardening instruction on how to cultivate and enjoy healing plants at home.
We’ll miss the cherry bloom now that it’s passed, though the pink petal carpets dotting the Garden are riotous reminders. Meanwhile, the Azalea Garden is in peak bloom and we’re checking our watches over the roses as they mull the idea of waking up. The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden usually hits peak in the early days of June, but Peter Kukielski assures us the color explosion is just around the corner. Of course, we don’t leave gaps; not far from the Rose Garden, opposite the mad-monikered tree peonies, lilac blossoms by the thousands fan that quintessential spring perfume.
We had someone ask us on Tumblr the other day if they’d already missed out on this year’s lilac bloom, so I puzzled together a few shots of the collection taken over the past week to put anxious hearts at ease. That said, no, these white and purple puffs are still very much en vogue and smelling delicious. read more »
The landscape of our new Native Plant Garden is evolving daily. Each day brings a new bloom, a new leaf, a new hue, or a new resident to this amazing 3.5-acre landscape. It is a celebration of the native plants of the northeast, of which wildflowers are the most delicate and ephemeral. And we’re very happy to be participating in the sixth annual NYC Wildflower Week!
On Friday, Wildflower Week participants are invited to a very special tour of the Native Plant Garden, Thain Family Forest, and Azalea Garden. The tour, Native Flowers, Forest & Azaleas of NYBG, will be conducted by Jody Payne, Director of the Native Plant Garden; Jessica Arcate-Schuler, Director of the Thain Family Forest; Deanna Curtis, Curator of Woody Plants; and Kristin Schleiter, Director of Outdoor Gardens. The tour–offered rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on May 17–is free with paid admission and participants should meet at the Leon Levy Visitor Center Reflecting Pool.
An inflorescence of Virginia bluebells showing the pink buds that become blue just before opening.
The leaves of Virginia bluebell sprout each spring in such deep shades of purple that they are difficult to see against the dark soil. As the leaves mature, the purple coloration is gradually lost until they become a soft green. Flowers, too, undergo a color change, from pink in bud to a lovely shade of blue shortly before the buds open.
The floral color change is not uncommon in members of this family, the Boraginaceae (borage family). Its members include forget-me-not (Myosotis spp.), viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare), and lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.), all of which have pink buds opening as blue flowers. The color change is due to changes in the pH of the cell sap, and, like some hydrangeas, plants growing in more acidic soils will have flowers of a deeper shade of blue. Members of the borage family also share in common the shape of their inflorescence, referred to as a scorpioid cyme for the way it uncoils like a scorpion’s tail. A true spring ephemeral, the leaves of Virginia bluebells turn yellow soon after the flowers have finished blooming and are gone by late June. read more »
By becoming a Member today, you'll not only get a whole year's worth of benefits, you'll get the knowledge that you are helping the Garden's renowned horticulture, science, and education programs to flourish.