Plant Talk

Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Digging Deep into Permaculture

Posted in From the Library on August 9 2018, by Esther Jackson

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.


Gaias Garden Second EditionPermaculture is a fascinating topic, but it can be difficult to know where to start looking for information when you are new to the concept and want to learn more. Defined on Wikipedia as “a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems,” permaculture has applications in landscape and ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction, and site maintenance. Two books new to the NYBG Mertz Library, Gaia’s Garden (2009) and The Rodale Book of Composting (2018), offer practical advice for home gardeners who would like to include more sustainable features in their landscapes.

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture (second edition, 2009) is a comprehensive introduction to permaculture principles and projects for the home gardener. Authored by Toby Hemenway, the work is centered on gardening practices in the Pacific Northwest but filled with concepts and projects that are appropriate for gardeners in any region. The ethos in Gaia’s Garden has carried through to many more contemporary gardening books, and this Nautilus Book Awards winner is still a relevant resource for those who are curious to learn more deeply about permaculture principles. One caveat related to the book’s age is that the plant lists should be examined critically before application—several of the recommended non-native species have been found to be problematic since the time of the book’s publication.

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What’s Beautiful Now: After the Rain

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on August 8 2018, by Matt Newman

The rains have left the Garden green and vibrant this week, and summer’s favorites continue to show off in the outdoor collections. You can still catch some of the daylilies at peak bloom along Daylily Walk, and a handful of picture-perfect lotus flowers are holding court in the Conservatory Courtyards. Don’t miss the shady forested paths of the Native Plant Garden, either, where nodding ferns might convince you you’re anywhere but New York City.

Perennial Garden

Perennial Garden
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This garden is full of color and texture as the perennials fully stretch out for the season. An assortment of lilies, bright fuschia Hibiscus, and floriferous hydrangeas bring the Perennial Garden to life this week!

 

What’s Beautiful Now: Color Pop

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on August 1 2018, by Matt Newman

The occasional rain shower doesn’t hinder the beauty of the Garden—in summer, it actually makes the colors pop even more. Deep, enveloping greens contrast with daylilies, lotus blossoms, and bright hibiscus as you wander the many outdoor collections that thrive in the warmth of the season.

Native Plant Garden

Native Plant Garden
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This is the time to see meadow perennials like Euphorbia corollata, Solidago juncea, and Rudbeckia hirta in bloom, as well as a variety of lovely ferns through the woodland.

The 6th Annual NYC-Area Green Industry Intern Field Day

Posted in Adult Education on August 1 2018, by Charles Yurgalevitch

Intern field day

Just a half-day before this year’s Hortie Hoopla, the weather was oppressively hot and humid with afternoon thunderstorms and heavy rain showers dumping over an inch of rain on the Garden grounds. By morning, the sun was clear in the sky, the humidity reduced by almost half. The new day brought a new start for this year’s Hortie Hoopla, now in its sixth year.

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Bathing in the Forest

Posted in From the Library on July 26 2018, by Esther Jackson

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.


Forest BathingForest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, by Dr. Qing Li, is an aesthetically pleasing book about “the Japanese art and science of shinrin-yoku.” Shinrin means “forest” in Japanese, and yoku means “bath.” Shinrin-yoku, then, is the action of “bathing” in the forest atmosphere—of “taking the forest in through our senses.”

Li, the Chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine, writes in a meditative, thoughtful manner, and offers simple advice for those who would like to experience the benefits of forest bathing, either through a more extreme lifestyle change or by incorporating more nature experiences into their everyday lives. With 100 color photographs and large fonts, the book itself is a calming meditation on forest spaces, and a pleasant respite from a day in the office.

The book is beautiful and well-designed, and readers can jump into the text at any point, or read it as a narrative work. Acolytes of forest bathing will want to depart for the woods immediately after reading, but even those without easy access to more natural spaces may be inspired to include more natural outings and experiences as parts of their routines. At NYBG, the Thain Family Forest is calling…

What’s Beautiful Now: Explore Outdoors

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on July 25 2018, by Matt Newman

The waterlilies and lotuses are flaunting everything they’ve got at the moment, making the Conservatory Courtyard Pools the place to be after you explore the tropical collections of Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i. Afterward, head out into the Perennial Garden for a picturesque stroll among the different “rooms,” each a painterly demonstration of summer color. Hop over to the vibrant plantings of the Seasonal Walk before you make your way to the Native Plant Garden for a shady rest alongside the water feature.

Conservatory Courtyard Pools

Conservatory Courtyard Pools
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The waterlilies and lotuses are flowering in brilliant yellow, purple, pink, and even blue. Don’t miss these serene and magical aquatic plants!

What’s Beautiful Now: A Date with Daylilies

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on July 19 2018, by Matt Newman

Our Hemerocallis are the stars of the Garden right now, lining their eponymous walk with punchy reds, yellows, and oranges that truly pop in the summer sun. The waterlilies and lotuses continue their beautiful reign in the Conservatory Courtyards, the Native Plant and Azalea Gardens are havens of foliage and shade, and the variety of floral color in the Perennial Garden and Seasonal Walk is not to be missed. Come explore!

Daylily Walk

Daylily Walk
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Stroll through the warm glow of blooming daylilies!

Wildlife Wednesday: A New Family Takes to the Skies

Posted in Wildlife on July 11 2018, by Patricia Gonzalez

Patricia Gonzalez is an NYBG Visitor Services Attendant and avid wildlife photographer.


Red-tailed hawk
One of three red-tailed hawk hatchlings at NYBG

I’m happy to report that for the second year in a row, a pair of red-tailed hawks have nested here at The New York Botanical Garden. This year there are three hatchlings! Here are some entries from my journal about this amazing family of raptors.

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What’s Beautiful Now: Amazing Aquatics

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on July 11 2018, by Matt Newman

It’s time to shine for the waterlilies and lotuses in the Conservatory’s outdoor courtyard pools. Look for a wide variety of these big and boisterous flowers when you stop in to check out the Georgia O’Keeffe installation inside the Conservatory houses. Nearby, the Perennial Garden is lush and colorful, with plenty of shady spots to sit and soak up the summer.

The Daylily Walk—just a short stroll away—is a winding column of color, too.

Waterlilies & Lotuses

Waterlilies & Lotuses
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The waterlilies and lotuses are beginning to flower in brilliant yellow, purple, pink, and even blue. Don’t miss these serene and magical aquatic plants!

The Secret Life of Flies

Posted in From the Library on July 5 2018, by Esther Jackson

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.


The Secret Life of FliesThe Secret Life of Flies by Dr. Erica McAlister for Firefly books is fun. It’s a little gross, very entertaining, and all about that insect that so many of us love to hate—the fly! McAlister, a Senior Curator at the Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, uses her book’s 248 pages to champion these “amazing, exotic and important” creatures. It’s no small feat for an experienced researcher to write in a way that is accessible to a non-scientific audience, and McAlister accomplishes this. When reading her words, one almost feels as if she’s engaging the reader in a conversation, beckoning them closer to look at a maggot that showed up in a most unusual place or at a parasitic fly that prefers the company of frogs.

The Secret Life of Flies is appropriate for anyone who wants to learn a bit more about these creatures, including younger and older readers who enjoy the sometimes gross and amusing ins and outs of biological study. It’s easy to picture a biology student, an outdoorsy ten-year-old, and an enthusiastic field biologist exclaiming with glee when finding out exactly where that mystery maggot came from. The Secret Life of Flies offers a wonderful window into a world that many of us take for granted and educates readers about an important group of creatures in our natural world.