Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Archive: June 2010

What Are You Going to Plant in New York?

Posted in Learning Experiences on June 30 2010, by Plant Talk

SOPH Student Finds Plenty to Garden Here, Even a Farm in Brooklyn

Luis Marmol is a first-year student in the Botanical Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture.

Many of us have heard of secret gardens, but how about a secret farm? Especially one that’s hiding in plain sight?

Recently, I visited a rooftop farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Yes, the farm was in Brooklyn. And yes, because of the lack of space, it was on a roof.

I was there on a field trip with other students from the Botanical Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture. From the street you could see nothing other than the industrial buildings and the Gowanus Canal (one of the most polluted waterways in the United States).

To get to the farm, we took a gray concrete staircase up three flights. On the roof there was—honest-to-goodness—a farm. It was sort of like looking at a field in Iowa or Indiana, but with views of the Manhattan skyline. Your eye first settles on the buildings across the East River, but you quickly look away from that spectacular photo-op to see crops—tomatoes, lettuces and other greens, herbs, carrots, radishes, and more—growing in just a few inches of soil across 6,000 square feet. There’s a chicken coop (those layers enjoy the best views of any chickens this side of Switzerland). And there are three beehives, whose inhabitants pollinate the plants. (The farm is so secret that even many insects and birds have yet to discover it.)

The Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is the brainchild of co-founder Annie Novak in partnership with Goode Green and Broadway Stages. Annie has become a real celebrity in the urban gardening scene. She travels the world to learn from farmers everywhere, including a recent trip to my native Peru to learn about potatoes. She’s also coordinator of the Children’s Gardening Program in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden at the Botanical Garden.

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Garden’s Greenmarket Returns, with Health Programs

Posted in Programs and Events, The Edible Garden on June 28 2010, by Plant Talk

Fresh, Local Foods From Farms Converts This City-bred Aficionado

Luis G. Perreaux Jr. is the Botanical Garden’s Public Education Greenmarket Intern this summer and fall.

GreenmarketAs a native of the Bronx, I grew up thinking that food was only available at supermarkets and bodegas, and I had no idea how it got there. Not until I visited a farm in the Dominican Republic, where my parents were born, did I realize that the growing of food is a collaborative process that connects people, plants, and animals in ways I could never have imagined on my own.

I loved how the farmer would constantly rotate crops and livestock so the soil would stay fertile and moist. After that memorable trip, I began to care more about where my foods came from and whether they were sustainable or not. Then I found the Greenmarket at 161st and Grand Concourse, where the old Yankee Stadium used to be, with its fresh, locally grown, and nutritious produce. I have been a devoted fan of Greenmarkets ever since.

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Tip of the Week: More on Vegetable Garden Design

Posted in Exhibitions, Gardening Tips, The Edible Garden on June 28 2010, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Sonia Uyterhoeven is Gardener for Public Education. Join her each weekend for home gardening demonstrations on a variety of topics in the Home Gardening Center.

Last week I blogged about the historic and design aspects of ornamental vegetable gardens. This week I take a look at some of their basic features.

Many traditional kitchen gardens have some kind of boundary or enclosure that not only separates the garden from its surroundings but often provides a practical barrier to keep out unwanted pests. Classic boundaries include brick walls, stonewalls, wooden fences, wattle or woven fences, and hedges.

A simple split-rail wooden fence lined with chicken wire to keep out rabbits surrounds the vegetable garden in the Botanical Garden’s Home Gardening Center (see photo). “A flat-top picket fence would give it a Colonial feel, while a more open and rustic setting could be created by a zigzag wooden fence,” says Chris from a fence company in Louisville, KY. The hardscape of the garden will help set the mood and contribute to the overall design. Enclosure creates a sense of intimacy and gives a framework to your garden.

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Caterer Offers Garden-Inspired Entertaining Ideas

Posted in Exhibitions, The Edible Garden on June 25 2010, by Plant Talk

Abigail Kirsch Booksigning and Chef Cooking Demos This Weekend

Alison Awerbuch is Chief Culinary Officer and Partner of Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships.

Editor’s note: Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships, which manages the Botanical Garden’s two cafes and the on-site catered events, will be featured this Saturday, June 26, during The Edible Garden. Corporate Executive Chef Mark Gagnon will present two cooking demonstrations, and Abigail Kirsch will sign her cookbooks, which will be available for purchase.

When creating menu items and presentations, we at Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships pull from our surroundings and are often inspired by the garden. Whenever possible, we incorporate local, sustainable vegetables, fruits, and herbs into our offerings, and there is no better time for this in New York than in the spring, summer, and fall! We tap on local farmers for the freshest and most flavorful items to enhance our menus.

Below are inspired ways you can incorporate the garden when you entertain this summer.

Green Market Buffet
Whether close to home or far away, we are always inspired by what is happening in that locale’s food scene. For instance, a recent weekend in the Catskills offered a lush landscape of a thousand shades of green; an abundance of local, sustainable foods; and aisles upon aisles of retro chic at flea markets (although you have to dig hard to find just the right pieces).

This inspired me to create a “green market buffet” where our organic food presentations were displayed on rustic farm tables and our entire menu was served on a wonderful assortment of green pressed glass, rustic wood, and galvanized metal trays. Mix-and-match plates, flatware, and glassware along with retro linen created an uncomplicated, retro look.

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Why You Should Visit The New York Botanical Garden

Posted in People on June 24 2010, by Plant Talk

11-Year-Old Student Persuades Classmates to Come See the Trees, Flowers

Huston S. Watson Jr., age 11, just completed fifth grade at Traphagen School in Mount Vernon, N.Y.

My fifth-grade teacher at Traphagen School in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Arlene Rosenblum, gave us an assignment to write a persuasive essay. I visited The New York Botanical Garden with my parents and then wrote about why my classmates should also make a trip there.

The first reason why you should go is because of the beautiful trees. Some of them are magnolia, cherry, conifer, and crabapple. Most of these bloom in springtime. In the fall, the trees remain beautiful because of the foliage. There are many other kinds of trees. Maybe you’ll learn about a new tree.

The second reason why you should go is because of all the beautiful flowers. There are so many flowers in the Botanical Garden. You can see lilacs, tulips, roses, peonies, orchids, daylilies, and chrysanthemum. These are just some of the flowers you may see on your visit. You might even see butterflies flying around the flowers.

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Martha Stewart Radio Live from the Garden Thursday

Posted in Exhibitions, Programs and Events, The Edible Garden on June 23 2010, by Plant Talk

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

Last year, Martha Stewart Living Radio visited The New York Botanical Garden for a full day of live broadcasting. We are happy to report that they are returning for another daylong broadcast from the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden, near Martha Stewart’s Culinary Herb Garden.

From 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on June 24, subscribers of Sirius XM satellite radio (Sirius 112 and XM 157) not only can listen to all their favorites—Morning Living, Whole Living, Everyday Food, Homegrown, Living Today, and Eat Drink—but see them airing live. (Even if you are not a subscriber to Sirius XM you can see Martha Stewart’s team of lifestyle experts broadcasting live at the Garden!) For a full schedule, visit Martha Stewart Living Radio.

A number of interesting guests are scheduled to chat about a broad range of topics, including gardening, food, holistic therapy, and more. New York Botanical Garden experts who will be interviewed include Jodie Colon, Compost Educator, NYC Compost Project in the Bronx; Annie Novak, Coordinator of the Children’s Gardening Program; Kristin Schleiter, Curator of Outdoor Gardens; Sonia Uyterhoeven, Gardener for Public Education; and Peter Kukielski, Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden Curator.

Among the topics of discussion will be The Edible Garden, the four-month long festival of growing and preparing good food, which runs through October 17 at the Botanical Garden.

Get your tickets now for The Edible Garden.

Welcome Summer with an Edible Garden Course

Posted in Exhibitions, Learning Experiences, The Edible Garden on June 22 2010, by Plant Talk

Adult Ed Classes Teach You How to Grow, Prepare Good Food

Leda Meredith is the Gardening Program Coordinator for Adult Education at The New York Botanical Garden and author of The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget.

When I took on a year-long challenge to eat, almost exclusively, foods produced within 250-miles of New York City, many people thought I was crazy. That was in 2007–2008, and it’s amazing how much has changed in just these past few years. Now “local,” “organic,” and “seasonal” have become buzzwords—and for good reason.

Just bite into a perfectly ripe, locally grown strawberry and your taste buds will never again be satisfied with its out-of-season, chemically grown cousin that spent weeks in transit before you ate it.

Superb taste is just one of the reasons to celebrate local, organic food. While you’re relishing that strawberry, you’re also helping the environment and supporting small farms and the local economy. It’s a lovely win-win partnership between consumers, producers, and the planet.

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Tip of the Week: Ornamental Vegetable Garden Design

Posted in Exhibitions, Gardening Tips, The Edible Garden on June 21 2010, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Sonia Uyterhoeven is Gardener for Public Education. Join her each weekend for home gardening demonstrations on a variety of topics in the Home Gardening Center.

While it is commonplace to invest a considerable amount of thought, energy, and pride in the design of our gardens, herbaceous borders in particular, the vegetable garden often gets overlooked and undervalued as a potential site for artistic excellence.

However, ornamental vegetable gardens have a long-standing tradition. The Persians filled their walled gardens with fruit trees and edible plants, adorning these places of refuge while providing food for the table. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, is a wonderful example of how medieval courtyards were home to the cultivation of culinary and medicinal herbs while providing a place for peaceful retreat.

Inspiration can be found in many historic restorations of ornamental vegetable gardens, ranging from the Grande Potagér at Chateau de Villandry in France to England’s Lost Gardens of Heligan and the walled Victorian kitchen garden at Chilton Foliat. Closer to home, Thomas Jefferson’s historic gardens at Monticello in Virginia celebrate America’s vegetable gardening tradition.

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The Edible Garden Returns—Opens This Weekend

Posted in Exhibitions, The Edible Garden on June 18 2010, by Plant Talk

Get Out and Grill Festival Weekend

This summer and fall, The Edible Garden: Growing and Preparing Good Food brings you locally grown, seasonal food with cooking demonstrations every day, four spectacular kitchen gardens, appearances by celebrity chefs such as Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali, and hands-on activities for kids. You won’t want to miss this year’s celebration, with more chefs and more events than last year.

The Edible Garden kicks off tomorrow with Get Out and Grill, the first of four Festival Weekends.

Don’t miss these highlights June 19–20:

  • Grilling and cooking with celebrity chefs, including Daisy Martinez
  • A Sunday BBQ perfect for Father’s Day, with an appearance by retired Yankee Roy White, booksignings, and more
  • Fun activities for the whole family in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden

Full Weekend Schedule

Get up-to-the-minute information, tips, and pictures throughout The Edible Garden: Text “NYBG CHEF” to 56512 to find out who’s cooking this week, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Read Plant Talk regularly for blogs by presenting chefs and cookbook authors.
Buy your tickets online for Garden-to-Table Weekends and Festival Weekends and WIN!

With every online ticket purchase for The Edible Garden you are automatically entered in a monthly drawing for a chance to win one of 20 Anolon® Ultra Clad 8-inch open skillets.
See contest rules for full details.

Get Your Tickets

Seasonal, Regional Important to Gramercy Tavern’s Exec Chef

Posted in Exhibitions, The Edible Garden on June 17 2010, by Plant Talk

Michael Anthony is Executive Chef of Gramercy Tavern.

Plant Talk (PT) caught up with Michael Anthony (MA) to gain some insight into his creative process. He will give a cooking demonstration on Sunday, June 20 (Father’s Day), during the Get Out and Grill Festival Weekend of The Edible Garden: Growing and Preparing Great Food.

PT: What is most important to you when choosing ingredients for recipes at Gramercy Tavern?
MA: The most important thing when choosing ingredients is that they are grown close to home (in our region), that they are harvested and handled with care, and that they are cooked and served in the shortest timeframe we can possibly manage.

PT: How do you incorporate seasonal food into your favorite recipes?
MA: An ingredient itself is the origin of inspiration and the starting point of every new dish here. We find as many ways as we can to express an idea with that ingredient on each menu, so the same ingredients will appear in more than one dish although treated differently each time.
PT: What motivated you to begin incorporating seasonal, local food into your cooking?
MA: I started cooking professionally in Japan and fell in love with the connection to the changing seasons. I then worked in France for five years and found an immense amount of pride in regional ingredients. These feelings have always been at the heart of the way I look at food.

PT: What are you going to prepare for your Edible Garden cooking demonstration on June 20?
MA: On our menu for the day are Calamari and Carrot Salad, Grilled Kielbasa, and Pulled Pork with Pickles. Since the theme is grilling, we are going to use seasonal ingredients to enhance some basic grilling and BBQ techniques.

PT: What are your favorite tips for healthful eating?
MA: Allowing vegetables to play the starring role in a dish can be interesting, delicious, and healthy. No need to exclude meat or fish, but let them play the supporting role from time to time.