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!
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.
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.
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 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.
Hot weather calls for shady escapes! The Forest is the place to be this week as our miles of trails and the easy flow of the Bronx River make for a pleasant respite from the climbing temps. Elsewhere in the Garden, you’ll still find the beauty of summer resplendent in the Rose Garden, where blooms a-plenty still cover hundreds of plants. The Perennial and Rock Gardens are also holding up their end with weekly-changing bounties of flowers in all hues.
Jane Lloyd is a volunteer in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of The New York Botanical Garden.
William Craik (1703–1798), a former owner of a book in the Rare Book Room of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, was not a famous person, but he had an important influence on the founding of the United States. Craik signed his name and the year “1764” on the fly leaf of Statical Essays; Containing Vegetable Staticks; or an Account of some Statical Experiments on the Sap in Vegetables…, the third edition of which was published in 1738 by Stephen Hales (1677–1761).
Craik was the eldest son of a landowner in Arbigland, Scotland. When he inherited his father’s run-down estate in 1736, he set out to improve it by using new agricultural techniques and machinery, and Hales’s book would have been essential reading for him.
Craik had at least one illegitimate child—a son—before he married. That boy, James Craik (1730–1814), studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, then joined the British Army and served in the West Indies. In 1754 he joined the Virginia Provincial Regiment as a surgeon and saw action in the French and Indian War, serving with and becoming a close friend of George Washington, who eventually commanded the regiment.
The corpse flower may be enjoying the spotlight this week, but don’t forget about the beauty to be found outdoors at NYBG! The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden continues to be the gem of our collections in June, while the Native Plant Garden, Perennial Garden, and Rock Garden are early summer stalwarts boasting color and greenery in spades. Come check it out!
It’s the first official week of summer and the Garden’s beauty is at its most verdant. Dappled sunlight filters down through a filled out canopy in the Forest, while the Rose Garden continues to carry the torch for outdoor color. But elsewhere, like in the Native Plant Garden, Perennial Garden, and Rock Garden, you can find gems showing off their petals.
This year’s Humanities Institute Symposium again brought together a large body of students, scholars, horticulturists, foresters, environmental specialists, tree-lovers, and other researchers and professionals to explore a topic vital to this day and age. While last year’s symposium looked at the challenge of climate change, this year’s symposium, Plant Intelligence, was focused on an equally challenging question: Do plants have intelligence? Using the latest biological evidence, several renowned scientists explored this key question by sharing new discoveries in forest and lab, offering new insights into the inner life of plants. Their findings—including astonishing examples of plant signaling and information processing—challenged the audience’s common perception of plants and presented new paradigms for the understanding of nature.
Summer doesn’t officially kick off until June 21, but the Garden grounds are already well-prepared for the season of green. And among that green, from the Native Plant Garden to the Forest, you’ll find the bright peppering of color offered up by spring’s later blooms. Come for the roses at peak bloom this week, and stay for all of the little treasures you’ll discover during a walk through our 250 acres.