Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Archive: October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Posted in Kiku, Programs and Events on October 31 2008, by Plant Talk

Happy Haloween!!!Happy Haloween!!!
Last Sunday’s Halloween Hoorah at the Garden was a hit, as shown in these photos taken by Gayle Schmidt, Coordinator of Public Education. As children entered the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, they turned a cotton ball and tissue into a ghost to hang in the Ghoulish Garden. And, of course, no Halloween celebration would be complete without a fancy jack-o-lantern, carved on the spot in the Benenson Ornamental Conifers.

Kiku and CocktailsLooking for something fun to do this evening? Enjoy Kiku and Cocktails, viewing the exhibition Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Chrysanthemum beautifully lit and listening to a dramatic performance by Taiko Masala drummers.

And if you’re searching for weekend ideas, click on the links below.

Check out Saturday’s programming.

Check out Sunday’s programming.

Moore Exhibition Extended!

Posted in Exhibitions, Exhibitions, Moore in America, NYBG in the News, Video on October 30 2008, by Plant Talk

Nick Leshi is Associate Director of Public Relations and Electronic Media.

Art fans, rejoice! Moore in America: Monumental Sculpture at The New York Botanical Garden , the largest outdoor exhibition of Henry Moore’s artwork ever presented in a single venue in the United States, is being extended through January 11, 2009.

The show, a collection of 20 major pieces, opened at the Botanical Garden on May 24, during the height of the spring flowering season. It garnered critical acclaim from the media and the public alike during the summer months. Now nearly all of these magnificent works by one of modern art’s greatest icons can be seen during fall and early winter, providing audiences with the chance to experience the sculpture for the first time or return again to witness them in contrasting seasons. The monumental pieces are positioned throughout the Garden’s 250 acres and among its 50 gardens and plant collections, complementing the historic landscape during nature’s changing cycles.

The extension of Moore in America through the holiday season guarantees that visitors to The New York Botanical Garden will be able to enjoy the outdoor sculpture while simultaneously experiencing the Garden’s other major exhibitions—Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Chrysanthemum through November 16, the Library gallery art exhibition The Chrysanthemum in Japanese Art through January 11, and the Holiday Train Show from November 23 through January 11. The Henry Moore Foundation, which is dedicated to furthering the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of Moore’s work, is co-curating Moore in America with the  Garden.

If you still haven’t had the chance to see Moore in America, now is the perfect time. And if you’ve seen it already, now you have even more time to see it again with friends and loved ones, discovering anew the combination of Henry Moore’s fine sculpture and the spectacular Garden settings in changing seasons.

Here’s a video in which Educator Anabel Holland tells us a little more about a few of the sculpture.

NYBG Henry Moore 2008 from The New York Botanical Garden on Vimeo.

Make a Botanical Wreath for Your Holiday Table

Posted in How-to, Learning Experiences, Video on October 29 2008, by Plant Talk

Botanical Crafts with Madeline Yanni — A Centerpiece for All Seasons from The New York Botanical Garden on Vimeo.

Madeline Yanni is an instructor of Botanical Crafts in NYBG’s Continuing Education program.

With autumn and the holidays at hand, it’s an inspiring time to bring the outdoors inside by creating botanical centerpieces, topiaries, wreaths, gifts, and more. Handmade items can save you money and even time—I like to make crafts that, with some interchangeable elements such as candles or ribbons, can be used in more than one season.

The Continuing Education program offers a number of hands-on crafts courses to help you decorate your home with your own creations throughout the year, including this Saturday’s Holiday Crafts all-day program. Even if you’ve never done this before, don’t be inhibited. No experience is necessary. Come take a class or two.

I want to draw out your creativity and whet your appetite for this fun way to decorate with a step-by-step guide to creating a simple, inexpensive, wreath for your table. It can be changed from season to season and can also be used on your wall. It is made from a grapevine wreath adorned with parchment roses, seeded Eucalyptus, other botanicals, and pillar candles—materials available at a crafts store. Feel free to improvise and use other types of botanicals.

As with any crafts project, first read the instructions and collect the necessary materials.

Are you ready? Let’s begin!

See the materials checklist and detailed, step-by-step instructions for creating this seasonal holiday table wreath after the jump.

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A Fresh Eye on Landscape Design

Posted in Learning Experiences, Programs and Events on October 28 2008, by Plant Talk

Lynn Torgerson is an instructor in the Garden’s Continuing Education program and a graduate of the Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture. Her firm, Lynn Torgerson Gardens, Ltd., specializes in green roofs, rooftop gardens, and terraces.

My fingerprints are all over this town, high and low, in all neighborhoods, including those with fancy addresses with sweeping views, luxury buildings, and hotels as well as low income housing project courtyards. A GreenStreets park I plant in my uptown neighborhood is a labor of love. New York is my city; my career is about enhancing its green beauty quotient and sustainable functioning.

NYBG’s Landscape Design Portfolio Lecture Series has served for me as an access ramp to the world of international design culture. The presentations of the past few seasons have offered a rich feast. Through a previous speaker, Fernando Caruncho, who was new to me, I found that some designs, such as his grids of olive trees and wheat field patterns, are best appreciated by helicopter—how exciting! This led me to view my own work in a fresh way, as strong patterns to view from afar.

Thus my perspective shifted on my work in general; I began to see my gardens as microcosms of the Big Picture of Garden Design and to approach the garden layout with new eyes.

It feels great to be making New York beautiful, garden by garden. I have designed so many, installed so many, and worked on, rejuvenated, or created so many from a wreck of a neglected courtyard, the back of a brownstone, a rooftop, or a terrace. I have reclaimed dreadful spaces and made them into havens, many with inspiration gained from the lecture series.

The Landscape Design Portfolio Lecture Series is a vital educational tool; the format is perfect, and Susan Cohen, coordinator of the Landscape Design Program, continues to choose exceptional speakers. The consistent high quality and world-class talent of the lineup makes the series a winner.

Tip of the Week — 10/27/08

Posted in Gardening Tips on October 27 2008, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Mum Madness
Sonia Uyterhoeven is Gardener for Public Education at The New York Botanical Garden.

Tiny ChrysanthemumOne of my favorite perennials in the garden is Chrysanthemum ‘Sheffield Pink’. It is dependable, requires very little care, and gets along beautifully with every perennial or shrub it encounters—bringing out the best in everyone.

In October, ‘Sheffield Pink’ is covered with pale apricot-pink daisy-like flowers. It combines wonderfully with Sedum ‘Matrona’, Aster tartaricus ‘Jin dai’, mophead hydrangeas such as Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’, and ornamental grasses.

In the Garden we have placed ‘Sheffield Pink’ in front of a Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) and a drift of Aster tartaricus ‘Jin dai’. As the season progresses, the foliage of the Kousa dogwood changes to a fiery red and picks up all the tints of red and pink in the ray petals of the chrysanthemum. The purple-blue of the aster adds a colorful edge to the design.

Migrating monarchs flock to ‘Sheffield Pink’ to be joined by bees for a late-season snack. I cut this mum back by half in mid-June to encourage good branching and to restrain its height so that I don’t have to go out and stake it once the stems are laden with flowers.

Plan Your Weekend: Halloween Hoorah

Posted in Gardens and Collections, Programs and Events on October 24 2008, by Plant Talk

Year of the Rabbit and Fall’s Finale at the Family Garden
Annie Novak is coordinator of the Children’s Gardening Program.
NewtonSun-Tzu tells us “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Two thousand years later, the Family Garden recently took the opportunity to follow the familiar adage with the latest addition to our garden: Newton, the Family Garden rabbit. Unlike the brown, sleek, and rapid rabbits that pillage the cornucopia within our walls, Newton, a domesticated Dutch dwarf, was rescued by Group Tours staff, who found him wandering the Botanical Garden last month.

Despite the reputation of rabbits, the adoption of Newton is a welcome one. Instructors and students on a recent class field trip to the Family Garden discussed the perils of abandoning domesticated animals in the Botanical Garden forest, gracefully making the segue into a discussion of ecosystems. Later, the students were rewarded with the opportunity to feed Newton pea shoots, the last crop of legumes before cold weather finishes the garden’s growing season. Magnetized by the hutch and the adorable rabbit within, it seems the spotlight has turned away from the Family Garden’s waning fall vegetables.

Newton also has the privileged position of living under what may be The New York Botanical Garden’s first “green roof.” A collection of sedums and sempervivums (hens and chicks), the green roof will help to keep the hutch warm in the winter and cool in the summer. As Toby Adams, the Family Garden Manager, explains, Newton’s new home illustrates the potentials of creative and efficient gardening. “The hutch shows how our visitors, too, might tend a garden despite the limited ground-level space in the city.”

The only thing missing from Newton’s nest is a pumpkin. In anticipation of Halloween, the rest of the Family Garden is festooned with gourds and squash. This Sunday, October 26, during Halloween Hoorah, visitors to the Family Garden can present an apple sticker and a pumpkin sticker, distributed during the Halloween Parade, to earn a cup of freshly pressed cider and a pumpkin to color with markers. In the Family Garden, staff will be on hand to help make marigold jewelry, frame fruit sketches with seeds, and reminisce about the three beautiful growing seasons that preceded the fall farewell to their vegetable plots. Costumes are encouraged. It is rumored that Newton, with his brown bandit-mask fur, will be dressed as Zorro.

The Halloween Parade meets at the Rose Garden entrance at 12, 2, and 4 p.m. and heads to the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, where you can decorate pumpkins to take home and press your own apple cider.

Check out Saturday’s Programming

Check out Sunday’s Programming

It’s Stinking Ginkgo Time!

Posted in Gardens and Collections, Science on October 21 2008, by Plant Talk

Karen Daubmann is Director of Exhibitions and Seasonal Displays.

Gingko FruitIf you’re walking or driving along the perimeter of the Botanical Garden on Kazimiroff Boulevard, you might be detecting a pungent, foul odor in the air. You might also be seeing people collect what seems to be the source of that smell.

It is the time of year that female ginkgo trees drop their fleshy fruit, which when crushed by passing cars or pedestrians release a stench that has been likened to rotten butter, vomit, or dog excrement. It is what gives the ginkgo tree a bad name.

Though they smell terrible, the female cones, once harvested and processed, reveal seeds known as “white nuts” or “ginkgo nuts.” These seeds are a delicacy in Chinese and Japanese cooking, used in stuffing, soups, and even desserts. This treat is also nutritious, containing 13% protein and 3% fats. That is why female ginkgo trees are sought out at this time of year by those who envision making Bird’s Nest Soup and other traditional Asian dishes. Ginkgo seed hunters carry gloves and Ziploc bags while wearing shoes with soles that can be easily washed.

Gingko leaves and flowersAre you familiar with the ginkgo tree? These stately trees—mature trees can reach 100 feet tall—have light-gray bark and fan-shaped leaves. As they age, the crown of the tree gets wider, and in autumn its turn golden yellow. Ginkgo, or maidenhair tree, is known as a “living fossil,” because it was a common tree species when dinosaurs roamed Earth, about 225 million years ago. Ginkgo was thought to be extinct until several plantings were discovered in eastern China.

Learn why the ginkgo tree is unique after the jump.

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Tip of the Week — 10/20/08

Posted in Gardening Tips on October 20 2008, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Bulbous Pleasures
Sonia Uyterhoeven is Gardener for Public Education at The New York Botanical Garden.

DaffodilsSeptember through November is a busy time in the garden for planting bulbs. Daffodils are generally the first to go in the ground while tulips are the last—going in from late October all the way up to Thanksgiving.

Some years the squirrels do their best to sabotage our plans for a beautiful early season display. That’s when the plastic netting comes out and is pinned down over the area. Hot pepper sauce is sprayed as an additional warning for any curious critter to stay away. Generally, however, these defensive tactics are not needed. Once the bulbs are planted,  usually to a depth of three times their diameter, the soil is tamped down with an iron rake and that is usually enough to discourage squirrels, who rather dig in freshly turned soil.

Most bulbs are left to naturalize in the garden. Tulips are the exception; for the most part these short-lived bulbs are used as annuals in the garden. In the past year, the late-flowering double tulips have been causing a stir. ‘Uncle Tom’ is a vibrant red, while ‘Angelique’ is a pale pink that pairs beautifully with ‘Lilac Perfection’.

If you are looking for a longer-lasting display, species tulips and Darwin hybrids tend to be the best for perennial displays. Plant them two inches deeper than you would other tulips to give them the best chance. Try ‘Banja Luka’ with its jumbo-sized yellow and red flower or ‘Gudoshnik’ with its variable dappled patterns.

If you are plagued by deer, don’t bother with tulips—you will just end up frustrated. Your best bet is daffodils (Narcissus) and ornamental onions (Allium); however you are not limited in these two choices. On the ornamental onion front, Allium sphaerocephalon, Allium christophii, and ‘Purple Sensation’ are the best choices for mingling in an early summer perennial border. If you are in the market for daffodils, my best advice is to come to the Garden in the spring and select your favorites from our collections.