Plant Talk

Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Your Long Weekend Plans—Holiday Train Show & More

Posted in Around the Garden on January 18 2020, by Matt Newman

Photo of snowdropsThe long weekend is here, and just in time for the final week of the Holiday Train Show! Don’t miss your chance to see our botanical homage to famous New York sights—and explore plenty of our other events and activities. Bring your little ones for the last performances of All Aboard with Thomas & Friends, head to the Mertz Library for a look into the architectural history of our landmark Haupt Conservatory, get outside to explore winter interest—like newly emerging snowdrops—in our collections, and so much more.

With NYBG being open for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 20, it’s the perfect time to catch the Holiday Train Show before it disappears for the winter. The show continues through January 26 with all-new highlights from Central Park.

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Extreme Compost Makeover: Organizing Community Composting Sites

Posted in Garden News on January 13 2020, by Jodie Colón

Jodie Colón is the Compost Project Manager at The New York Botanical Garden.


Photo of NYC Compost Project volunteers

When it comes to organizing your closets, the latest trend is to only keep items that spark joy. Many gardeners in Bronx Green-Up gardens apply that principle to their compost bins. But often they happily keep every leaf, branch, weed, and kitchen scrap out of the landfill. When an overflow of joy accumulates, they know who to call—our NYC Compost Project. We swoop in to help reorganize compost bins, tame piles of plant materials, and give sites a fresh start. Yet, just like on those reality shows, the clutter inevitably creeps back.

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New Food Initiative: The Bronx Canasta

Posted in Garden News on January 9 2020, by Ursula Chanse

Ursula Chanse is the Director of Bronx Green-Up and Community Horticulture at The New York Botanical Garden.


Photo of Bronx Canasta hot sauce participantsReady for a new Bronx-made and inspired taste?

The New York Botanical Garden’s Bronx Green-Up is excited to be part of an exciting new food initiative, The Bronx Canasta. This innovative food production and economic empowerment project aims to build self- reliance of Bronx communities to grow their own food and create, market, and distribute value-added products based on crops grown in the Bronx. The Bronx Canasta, which secured four years of funding through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Food Project grant, grew out of Bronx Green-Up’s long- standing food, farming, and community gardening partnerships with The Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center, Brook Park Youth Farm, International Rescue Committee, La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition, Morris Campus Educational Farm, and Small Axe Peppers.

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What’s Beautiful Now: Tropical January

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on January 9 2020, by Matt Newman

Warm, colorful, humid. That’s the Haupt Conservatory in January. The living collections of our historic glasshouse thrive thanks to the balmy temperatures it maintains year-round, and there are plenty of fascinating botanical treasures to be found—from the neon structures of the neotropical blueberries to the spore-carrying sori of the ferns.

Cavendishia grandifolia

<em>Cavendishia grandifolia</em>
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2019 in Review & What Is Ahead at NYBG

Posted in Garden News on December 30 2019, by Carrie Rebora Barratt

Carrie Rebora Barratt, Ph.D., is CEO and The William C. Steere Sr. President of The New York Botanical Garden.


Reflecting on a rewarding year at The New York Botanical Garden, we express gratitude and are inspired with forward-looking energy. Thanks to your support we are at the center of the conversation about plants, people, and the planet. Highlights from 2019 include:

Photo of the Haupt Conservatory being restored

Caring for Our Living Collections

The renovation of our Enid A. Haupt Conservatory palm dome exemplifies our dedication to past and future: a complex project that first and foremost cares for our treasured Conservatory and its collections. The capital project replaces the compression ring and provides necessary upgrades in heating, offices, and restrooms. Every element of our mission—plant research and conservation, horticulture, and education—converges in this New York City landmark. During the project, we were inspired to celebrate our collections by highlighting staff favorites in our ongoing exhibition, Biophilia: Sharing Our #plantlove.

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What’s Beautiful Now: Shelf Fungi in the Forest

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on December 27 2019, by Matt Newman

Shelf fungi fun in the Forest! There’s so much to see on walks along the winding trails of the Thain Family Forest, not least of which are mushrooms in reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. What have you spotted lately?

Shelf Fungi

Shelf Fungi
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Trains, Trolleys, & More

Posted in Holiday Train Show on December 27 2019, by Matt Newman

Some think the “G” in the Holiday Train Show‘s G-scale model trains stands for “Garden,” but it’s actually “groß“—German for “big!”

From trolleys to commuter rail, subway cars, and freight, our G-scale models bring the Holiday Train Show to life with some of the largest trains and track you can get. Here you’ll find a few of our favorites, including steam locomotives and diesel engines, and everything in between. Do any of them look familiar to you?

The Holiday Train Show

The <em>Holiday Train Show</em>
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Our Holiday Train Show Favorites

Posted in Around the Garden on December 26 2019, by Matt Newman

We each have our favorite New York landmark replicas in the Holiday Train Show. Tell us yours—and what you’d love to see added in the future!

Take a look at some of our staff-favorite buildings from the exhibition, like the original Penn Station, the Statue of Liberty, and the Guggenheim Museum. See these and other familiar favorites as the show continues through January 26!

Penn Station

Penn Station
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"My favorite building is the original Penn Station. The Applied Imagination model captures its grandeur and serves as a reminder of how hard we must work to preserve our architectural and natural heritage." —Todd Forrest, Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections, NYBG

Make Bar Car Nights Your Go-to Holiday Outing!

Posted in Video on December 24 2019, by Matt Newman

From dueling pianos and ice carving to the hottest culinary offerings from the Bronx Night Market and a variety of seasonal cocktails, come see what you’ve been missing at these adults-only evenings at the Holiday Train Show. New tickets were just released for Friday and Saturday night—join us!

Biophilia: Look but Don’t Touch

Posted in Around the Garden on December 24 2019, by Plant Talk

Photo of stinging nettles' leaves
Stinging nettles’ (Urtica dioica) leaves appear soft and fuzzy, but look out.

Some of the plants highlighted in “Biophilia: Sharing Our #plantlove,” the Conservatory exhibit sharing our curators’ most fascinating plants, protect themselves with spines, stings, and more. This is definitely a case of “look but don’t touch!”

Thorns, spines, and prickles: Pointy protuberances stab predators as they approach.

Armor: The thickened, waxy skin of many succulent plants adds a layer of protection from herbivores.

Stings: Minuscule needles of the mineral calcium oxalate are found in a wide variety of plants, from philodendrons to agave (which is used to make tequila). The sharp crystals irritate the skin and can be toxic when eaten. Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are covered in tiny fibers with sharp points that irritate and inject toxins into the skin.

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