Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Archive: January 2010

A World of Plants Spotlight: Tropical Lowland Rain Forest

Posted in Exhibitions on January 29 2010, by Plant Talk

Laura Collier is Marketing Associate at The New York Botanical Garden

Inside the glasshouseChocolate, papaya, guava, cashews—the list of plants in the Tropical Lowland Rain Forest of A World of Plants in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory seems strangely like the list of my favorite foods.

Beyond food, the rain forest provides us with an incredible diversity of plants and animal life. Though they cover less than 7 percent of Earth’s surface, rain forests contain almost one-third of the planet’s known plant species. Medicines like aspirin and codeine are derived from rain forest plants, and scientists are hopeful for more plant-based drugs that may be integral in therapies for cancer and HIV/AIDS.

In the gallery the warmth and humidity immediately make me feel like I’m back in the Amazon rain forest, especially because my glasses fog up after being out in the cold. By far the best view in the gallery is from atop the skyway platform. From there you can enjoy the canopy and survey the rich greenery all around. Before you move on to the next gallery, be sure to check out the healer’s hut, with samples and information about traditional uses of plants in the forest.

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The Orchid Show Is Coming!

Posted in Exhibitions, The Orchid Show on January 28 2010, by Plant Talk

Massive Palms Arrive from Florida for Cuba-Themed Installation

Twenty-one Sabal palmetto palms, each over 1,200 pounds and about 15 feet tall, were loaded in Deland, Florida (top photos by John Lubischer), for a two-day trip to New York to be included in The Orchid Show: Cuba in Flower, which opens February 27. On arrival at the Garden last week (three bottom photos), they were unloaded to be planted in the seasonal galleries of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, where they will create a dramatic canopy effect, surrounded by a stunning display of orchids designed by Cuban-reared landscape architect Jorge Sánchez.

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The Garden Provides a Window to the Future

Posted in Learning Experiences on January 27 2010, by Plant Talk

Career-Changer Redirected Through Continuing Education Classes

Valerie D’Antonio holds a Certificate in Landscape Design from The New York Botanical Garden’s Continuing Education program and is principal and owner of D’Antonio Landscape Design, Inc. She will tell her career-changing story during the free Career Night on February 3.

In the early 1980s I bought a small row house in Hoboken, N.J., on a street named Garden (who knew?!). After the closing I popped open a bottle of Moet, looked out the kitchen window at my new backyard, and thought, “What do I do with that space?”

At the time I worked for AT&T, and co-workers pointed me in the direction of The New York Botanical Garden, where I began to seek gardening advice. I decided to start small and attended NYBG’s one-day classes on window-box gardening. The classes gave me the confidence to plant and install boxes on the five front windows of my three-story house. The bright red geraniums, purple lobelia, and white alyssum were striking against the house’s white-painted brick. Soon after, my neighbors began asking me to plant their window boxes.

Twenty years later, after I left my corporate job, NYBG again came to my rescue. I was still lamenting my lackluster backyard when I received the Garden’s Continuing Education catalog where I found that the Garden offers certificate programs, lectures, and seminars aimed at developing a career in the world of horticulture. 

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Rose Garden Named to Hall of Fame

Posted in Gardens and Collections on January 26 2010, by Plant Talk

Rose GardenThe Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden has been named as the 2010 Rose Garden Hall of Fame inductee by the Great Rosarians of the World™ (GROW). In announcing the award, GROW said the selection was based on the recent renovation of the Rose Garden, which has created “a sustainable public garden representing an outstanding collection of historic roses.”

“In the world of roses, this is like winning the Best Picture Oscar,” says Peter Kukielski, Curator of the Rose Garden.

To be considered for the award a rose garden must be open to the public, be recognized as having an outstanding design or historical significance, display an outstanding collection or broad display of roses, and/or promote rose growing with educational outreach programs.

The award will be presented at the 5th Annual New York Metropolitan Rose Council Dinner—in June, of course.

Tip of the Week: Use Caution with Catalogs

Posted in Gardening Tips on January 25 2010, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Don’t Forget Foliage as well as Flowers in Garden Design

Sonia Uyterhoeven is Gardener for Public Education.

Annual BorderIn last week’s tip I reviewed the basics of good garden design to remember while facing the onslaught of catalogs that tempt us to do more in our gardens. So what are some of the hazards in designing your garden from the glossy images you find in your winter catalogs?

For one thing, sometimes the colors in the catalog can be misleading. Years ago I cut and pasted photos from a catalog to create a collage of perennials for a border based on a specific color scheme. It looked glorious on paper. When I arrived at the nursery, I realized that many of my combinations didn’t work, because I had based my design just on the flowers shown in the photos, without consideration of the foliage. My pairing of perennials changed drastically, and I was forced to rethink my plan in terms of the entire plant.

Catalogs often do a beautiful job of showing us photographs of the flowers, but they rarely give us adequate views of the foliage, which is just as important. A good design should still look good even when the flowers are gone. Break up color combinations with areas of neutral shades where your eye can rest. Focus not only on color but texture and form.

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Plan Your Weekend: Bundle Up for Winter Fun!

Posted in Learning Experiences, Programs and Events on January 22 2010, by Plant Talk

Children and Families Explore the Hidden Wonders of the Winter Garden

Noelle V. Dor is Museum Education Intern in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden.

Oh, the weather outside may be frightful… But the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is still delightful!

Though the vibrant colors of autumn have long faded away and freezing temperatures command us to slow down and stay in, there is a wealth of hidden wonders to be discovered in our Winter Garden, from the vivid reds of bare dogwood branches to tenacious crabapples, darting cardinals, and the secret lives of leaf buds. Various little treasures brighten up the muted landscape—and they can brighten your winter blues, too!

The selection of activities available for children and their families includes the creation of a scientific field notebook, which will guide them through a winter scavenger hunt and sensory exploration of the Children’s Adventure Garden; a fascinating round in the world of tree rings and their own life stories; and a winter collage craft using fallen plant parts collected from the garden.

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A World of Plants: Palms of the Americas

Posted in Exhibitions on January 21 2010, by Plant Talk

Laura Collier is Marketing Associate at The New York Botanical Garden

Inside the Palm DomeAn acre of tranquility awaits you in A World of Plants in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the Garden. Lush palm trees, exotic rain forests, and serene deserts provide the perfect getaway right here in New York. Rejuvenate your senses as you journey through the palms of the Americas and tropical rain forests, past pools of waterlilies and striking desert cacti.

This week we take an up-close look at the Palms of the Americas Gallery.

The most extensive collection of palms in the Americas, both North and South, welcome you from the cold, into the Conservatory. With more than 550 different types identified in the Americas alone, palms are one of the most diverse species on Earth. They range greatly in height from the tiny, six-inch lilliput palm to the towering wax palm of the Andes, which would lift the 90-foot dome off the Conservatory if allowed to grow to its full height.

Surrounding the reflecting pool you’ll see a set of five royal palms, native to Cuba. These and several other varieties in the Palms of the Americas Gallery provide the perfect entrance to your retreat, their fronds softly giving shade from the sun shining through the Victorian-style glass roof.

Find out more about A World of Plants, explore the photo gallery, and check out family activities here.

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Nighttime Prowls Turn Up Plenty of Insects

Posted in Science, Wildlife on January 20 2010, by Plant Talk

Project Looks to Catalog Six-Legged Residents and More

Edgardo Rivera is Senior Curatorial Assistant in the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium.

Many people walk through the Forest at NYBG in search of a break from the city and without concern for the names of the trees and flowers they encounter along the path. Others may stop occasionally to watch a passing chipmunk or to photograph the jewelweed. More tenacious individuals, armed with binoculars or perhaps a zoom lens on a camera, will specifically seek out the feathered denizens of the Forest but not many give a second look for the armored creatures that fly past them, the cold-blooded ones that slither under rotting logs, or the nocturnal beings that sit quietly under debris waiting for night to fall.

However, an effort to catalog these creatures is under way as part of the Garden’s Natural History project. Led by Jessica A. Schuler, Manager of the Forest, and Rob Naczi, Ph.D., Curator of North American Botany, the project has assembled specialists from different fields to identify the flora, fauna, and geography of the many habitats within the Forest.

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Tip of the Week: Garden Design Basics

Posted in Gardening Tips on January 19 2010, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Keep These in Mind When Faced with the Season’s Onslaught of Catalogs

Sonia Uyterhoeven is Gardener for Public Education.

Student GardenNow is the time of year that every good gardener gets inundated with new catalogs. For the plantaholic it’s a blessing and a curse. The feeling of a kid in a candy store is rekindled in even the most reticent gardener. The curse is that there is never enough time, space, or money to satiate our herbaceous or woody appetites.

However, the cold winter months are an ideal time to dream of redesigning your garden. I love spreading all of my catalogs on the living room floor and getting to work on lists or colorful collages of plants. To help navigate this challenging terrain, here are lessons learned and a few guidelines.

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Holiday Weekend: A Tranquil Getaway Right Here at the Garden

Posted in Exhibitions on January 15 2010, by Plant Talk

Conservatory DomeStep out of the winter blahs and into your own retreat. A World of Plants in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory lets you enter tropical rain forests, mountain slopes, and deserts full of exotic plants.

Tour an acre of living beauty under glass in the Conservatory, either on your own, through the use of free audiotours, or on a docent-led tour. Make an entire day of your trip, enjoying lunch at one of our Cafes and pampering yourself at Shop in the Garden. The Garden is open on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

And don’t forget the kids! The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is always open for family fun.

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