Plant Talk

Inside The New York Botanical Garden

What’s Beautiful Now: A Wealth of Wildlife

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on July 12 2019, by Matt Newman

Plants and wildlife go hand in hand, and as the Garden grounds grow ever more green for the summer, birds, insects, and amphibians are out and about in abundance, including goldfinches, orchard spiders, dragonflies, green frogs, and more.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch
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Roberto Burle Marx—A Total Work of Art

Posted in Humanities Institute on July 11 2019, by Vanessa Sellers

Photo of the exhibition speakers
Speakers Raymond Jungles, Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, Edward Sullivan, and Isabela Ono gather outside Ross Hall shortly before the start of the symposium

On Friday, June 7, 2019, the symposium Roberto Burle Marx—A Total Work of Art opened the Garden-wide exhibit Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx. Marking the Seventh Annual Humanities Symposium, the event celebrated Burle Marx’s life and work as an innovative artist, landscape architect, and conservationist, all in one.

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What’s Beautiful Now: Earthly Fireworks

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on July 5 2019, by Matt Newman

This week’s fireworks high above are met with a similar show down below, with summer’s Crocosima, water lilies (Nymphaea), torch-ginger (Etlingera), and more now bursting in abundance in the Perennial Garden, the Conservatory Courtyard Pools, and beyond. See these and other colorful characters from NYBG’s collections in this glimpse into what’s beautiful now.

Crocosima ‘Lucifer’

<em>Crocosima</em> ‘Lucifer’
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#plantlove: Nsombi Woodson, Floral Designer and NYBG Adult Education Instructor

Posted in Around the Garden on July 1 2019, by Matt Newman

As part of #plantlove at NYBG, we’re talking with people from all over the Garden about what inspires their passion for plants. Today, meet Nsombi Woodson, Floral Designer and Instructor for Adult Education at NYBG.


Photo of Nsombi Woodson

My #plantlove started in my grandmother’s garden. Back then, my absolute favorite flower was the rose. Nana, as we called her, planted a rose bush for each of her grandchildren. For me, she planted a variety of tiny pink sprays. Born and raised in the Bronx, I treated The New York Botanical Garden as my backyard—class trips, birthdays, and summer vacations were spent on its lawns. During these visits to NYBG, I’d head straight to the rose garden and claim every pink spray rose as my very own.

I’ve been blessed to turn my love of flowers into a career in floral design, and now my favorites are too numerous to name. However, I must say that spring inspires me the most. Just like me, the flowers have survived the dark, cold winter and are ecstatic to be out in the sunshine again. Blooming branches burst with color; scents of hyacinths fill the air; and the happy faces of daffodils pop up waving hello.

In the end, what feeds my #plantlove the most is its ability to evoke sweet memories of the past, excitement for the future, and gratefulness for the present.

What’s Beautiful Now: Seasonal Walk

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on June 28 2019, by Matt Newman

The Marjorie G. Rosen Seasonal Walk is the place to be as we boldly move into summer. You’ll see an abundance of beauty among the white lace flowers (Orlaya grandiflora), moor grass (Molinia caerulea ‘Moorhexe’), rusty foxglove (Digitalis ferruginea), queen of the prairie (Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’), Chinese astilbe (Astilbe ‘Vision in Pink’), and Culver’s root (Veronicastrum ‘Adoration’). And that’s only the beginning of this season of verdant color.

Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties

Posted in From the Library on June 27 2019, 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.


Photo of the cover of TeaTea: History, Terroirs, Varieties (ed. 3, 2018) by authors Kevin Gascoyne, François Marchand, Jasmin Desharnais, and Hugo Américi, takes readers into the present-day world of the culture and economy of tea.

The authors, co-owners of the Camellia Sinensis Tea House in Montreal, Quebec, give a general look at the topic of tea in four sections: “From Garden to Cup,” which includes information about the cultivation and harvesting of tea; “From One Terroir to Another,” which tours the world’s major tea-growing regions—China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Kenya, and Malawi; “From Cup to Plate,” which details the preparation of tea; and “Tea and Health,” which includes information about the chemical components of tea, including caffeine levels and antioxidant properties.

There is a brief section related to the history of tea, which is interesting but lacking in citations, and therefore not research-grade. A directory of 42 select teas and 15 recipes using tea, as well as recommendations about infusion accessories and teapots, offer practical guidance to readers who want to explore different aspects of tea consumption. Marketed as a reference work, the book is most useful as a contemporary snapshot of the current landscape of tea distribution, production, and culture around the world.

Readers looking for a more detailed historic treatment of tea may wish to read George van Driem’s impressive (and large) The Tale of Tea: A Comprehensive History of Tea from Prehistoric Times to the Present Day (2019). This work is available for use in the Mertz Library.

QueenSpotting in the Beehive

Posted in From the Library on June 20 2019, 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.


Cover of QueenspottingQueenSpotting: Meet the Remarkable Queen Bee and Discover the Drama at the Heart of the Hive (2019) is a new book by Hilary Kearney, creator of Girl Next Door Honey, an educational beekeeping business based in San Diego, California. QueenSpotting is written in a very accessible manner, mostly in first and second person, and is extremely engaging.

In the “How to Use This Book” introduction, Kearney notes that readers do not have to be beekeepers to read or enjoy the book. The text is broken into three main sections, each comprised of technical beekeeping information, the author’s personal stories about beekeeping adventures, and “spot the queen” photographs, of which there are 48. Although I am not a beekeeper, I can appreciate that the book’s detailed exploration of one particular aspect of beekeeping—the queen—would be informative and useful for those who do keep bees. That said, my feeling is that the book best works as an educational resource for those who are not already beekeepers, and that more advanced readers might wish to supplement with additional resources for beekeeping tasks. One such task would be “requeening,” referring to when a beekeeper removes an older queen, replacing her with a new queen, preventing the colony from doing so naturally for the purpose of increased honey production.

For readers who would like to learn more about beekeeping, readers who would like to read some entertaining and charming stories about beekeeping adventures, and for those who love visual “eye-spy” games, QueenSpotting is sure to please. Both adults and more advanced younger readers will find Kearney’s enthusiastic and clear manner of writing to be entertaining, infectious, and well worth reading.

What’s Beautiful Now: June Moments

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on June 14 2019, by Matt Newman

June is a colorful month among the flowers where the lushness of summer finally takes its place on grounds. Beyond the brilliant tropical greens of the newly opened Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx exhibition, there’s plenty to discover across our 50 collections as we near the warmest season of the year.

Orlaya grandiflora

<em>Orlaya grandiflora</em>
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Herbalism in the Garden

Posted in From the Library on June 14 2019, 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.


Cover of Grow Your Own Herbal RemediesFour titles from Workman Publishing bring herbalism to the home and help readers develop and save botanical recipes and techniques.

Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies: How to Create a Customized Herb Garden to Support Your Health & Well-Being (2019) is the second book from Maria Noël Grove, author of Body into Balance. Grove is a Registered Herbalist and a Professional Member of the American Herbalists Guild.

Those who have read my past reviews will not be surprised to hear that I suggest readers do heavy independent research before ingesting any of the plants that Grove features. Thankfully, Grove also encourages readers to take this step. The book is broken into three sections: Skills for Making Medicine, Remedy Gardens, and Healing Garden Herbs. I found the first section to be extremely interesting, as Grove details many ways in which plants can be prepared and preserved for the home. Beyond having an application for herbalism, these methods would be interesting to home cooks and food preservers. The second section details which plants should be used to treat which ailments, according to Grove, and the final section includes herb profiles.

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