Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Archive: April 2011

Snaps from the Antique Garden Furniture Show

Posted in Around the Garden on April 29 2011, by Ann Rafalko

Ann Rafalko is Director of Online Content.

I just got back from a walk around the Antique Garden Furniture Show and Sale, and boy are my arms tired! No, no. I didn’t fly over to the Conservatory and back, but I did impulse purchase a rather heavy cast concrete statue for my very own garden that I had to carry back to my cubicle. The Show is chock full of all sorts of gorgeous things, so I thought I would throw together this highly subjective slide show of some of the fascinating pieces that caught my eye.

I noticed one big trend: Bunnies are hot. Maybe it’s because it’s the Year of the Rabbit? Maybe it’s in the hope that placing one in your garden will scare the real ones away? I just can’t say. One thing I can say though, is don’t forget your checkbook. Many of the vendors cannot accept credit cards. Oh, and don’t worry. You won’t have to carry your own purchases as far as I did. The vendors are happy to hold onto your garden goodies until you can bring your car around.

The Antique Garden Furniture Show and Sale runs Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 1; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The show is held in the tent behind the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. To get to the show, enter the Conservatory through the Palm Dome, then exit at the opposite side. Entrance to the Show is included in your All-Garden Pass. Happy shopping!



Birding Bite: The Warblers Are Here!

Posted in Birding Bite on April 29 2011, by Ann Rafalko

Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center. Photos by Debbie Becker.

Every April, birders’ fingers start to twitch. They step a bit more lightly and are strangely polite. They are gracious to their loved ones, work harder than ever at their jobs, and make sure everyone is satisfied and happy. They whistle while they work, and perhaps when no one is looking, they will take a cloth and carefully wipe down the lens of their Nikon Monarch binoculars. At night, while everyone is sleeping, they secretly open Peterson’s Guide to Birds East of the Rockies, slip a CD into the player, and sit quietly listening, careful not to wake anyone, to the bird calls emanating from the speakers. It is April, which is followed, naturally, by May, and that means only one thing to the obsessed birdwatcher: The warblers are coming! The warblers are coming!

Suddenly, birdwatchers’ wives are widows, children wonder what happened to their parents, teachers are marking students absent, and employers anxiously eye the empty desks of their employees.

I know birders who plan entire vacations around the last two weeks in April and the first two weeks in May. They don’t get into a plane or drive across the country. They don’t even visit a beach. The birders park themselves in The New York Botanical Garden, Central Park, Pelham Bay Park, Riverside Park, Van Cortlandt Park, Rye Nature Center, or anywhere else that is green, and then they wait. They spend all year anticipating the spring migration of the warblers.

Warblers are tiny colorful birds that migrate from South America up to the Canadian border during our spring. Their brilliant plumage is for breeding purposes, but not only do they attract a mate, they also attract the eyes of millions of birdwatchers as they work their way up the eastern seaboard. The Garden is a flyway for these little critters, and birders turn out in the hundreds to see the orange glow of the Blackburnian warbler or the brilliant yellow of the Prothonotary warbler. The Black-throated blue warbler is majestically blue and a woodland warbler. The male’s call is hypnotic and can be heard from quite a distance away. The chatty Common Yellow throat and Yellow warbler often nest at the Botanical Garden and can be heard chanting their mating song while working the new maple leaves for insects.

The Pine, Palm, and Prairie are early warblers and can easily be seen before all the trees leaf out. This year, NYBG was lucky to have an early Prothonotary warbler show up at Twin Lakes on April 14th. The sunny yellow bird hung around for about a week and then continued his migration north. Many birders crowded the banks of Twin Lakes scouting out the precious little bird, and all were rewarded for their efforts as the Prothontary put on a spectacular show.

So far we have seen Northern Waterthrush, Black and White, Yellow Rumped, Palm, Pine, and Prairie warblers. Other spring migrants include: cat birds, orioles, kingbirds, indigo buntings, gnatcatcher, kinglets, vireos, tanangers and thrush.

Spring is alive at the Garden with song and color, so come join us as we rejoice and bathe in the warmer temperatures and put the snowy, cold winter of 2010/2011 behind us.

Morning Eye Candy: Tulips

Posted in Photography on April 29 2011, by Ann Rafalko

Something about the way they twist
As if to catch the last applause,
And drink the moment through long straws,
And how, tomorrow, they’ll be missed.

Tulips ~ A.E. Stallings

Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

For Mom!

Posted in Around the Garden on April 28 2011, by Ann Rafalko

Mothers. Where would we be without them? They bring us into this world, they raise us, teach us, feed us, clothe us, and then hopefully, they send us off to be a good person, and perhaps (at least for 51% of the population) to replay the same role as a mother, too. It’s a wonder that mothers only get one day dedicated solely to them! So, to thank mom for all she has done for you, why not do something nice for her?

In the Azalea Garden

At the Garden, we’re throwing a garden party over Mother’s Day weekend in conjunction with the grand opening of our amazing new Azalea Garden. The Opening Weekend Celebration–May 7 – 8; 12-6 p.m–is a day full of picnic lunches, lawn games, Azalea Garden tours, music, kites, the opportunity for kids to make a bouquet, just for mom, and much more. Picnic lunches must be ordered online, in advance. Once at the Garden, pick up your lunch and then enjoy your day amid the sun-dappled, kaleidoscope of colors in this incredible new garden. Other food and beverages will be available for purchase on site.

Dramm Plastic Watering Cans

If your mom prefers to spend the day in her own garden (or maybe you can’t make it to New York), we’ve got you covered, too. The Shop in the Garden features an extensive collection of beautiful (and functional) garden tools, including these rainbow-hued watering tools from Dramm, these beauties featuring a Celia Birtwell print, these cheerful pots made exclusively for NYBG, the wonderful Sustainable Rose Garden–edited by Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden curator, Peter Kukielski–and these super functional and stylish paper braid visors.

NYBG 120th Anniversary Azalea Scarf

Maybe your mom prefers to keep her couture out of the garden? Then she’ll love this exclusive silk scarf created to celebrate the Garden’s 120th anniversary. These sculptural wooden bracelets are a big hit with fashionable moms amongst the Garden staff, as are these classic umbrellas and fashionable, yet functional market tote bags.

If you come to the Garden for Mother’s Day weekend, snap some pictures and share them with us on Twitter (@nybg), Facebook, or in our Flickr Group Pool. If we get enough pictures, we’ll post some of them here on the blog! For Mom!

In the Garden, Old is Cool

Posted in Around the Garden on April 27 2011, by Ann Rafalko

You’ve got heirloom vegetables, decades-old peonies, and compost that dates back at least several years . So what are you doing putting the latest tchotchke from the megamart in your garden? Come get inspired to decorate your garden with a vintage touch at the 19th Annual Antique Garden Furniture Show and Sale–the country’s original, largest, and most important venue for showing and selling authentic garden antiques–at The New York Botanical Garden. The show is held under the Conservatory Tent behind the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

The show and sale kicks off on Thursday, April 28 with a Preview Party and Collector’s Plant Sale from 6-8 p.m. offering exclusive access to the sale before the public opening, as well as cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. (For information and tickets, please call 718.817.8775.)

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the show is open to the public and will feature 35 vendors, a welcome lounge with snacks and tea, afternoon wine tastings, and a host of experts on hand to answer all your questions and to offer tips for designing a beautiful garden.

To get a taste for the amazing garden antiques you’ll find a this fascinating show and sale, check out the video below.



Top Tips for Designing with Azaleas in the Home Garden

Posted in Gardening Tips on April 27 2011, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Sonia Uyterhoeven is Gardener for Public Education.

The Azalea GardenAzaleas, as seen in the Garden‘s spectacular new Azalea Garden, provide home gardeners with wonderful spring color that extends from April into July (depending on the species). Evergreen azaleas provide year-round interest while deciduous azaleas often offer multi-seasonal appeal and lovely fall foliage. Azaleas are slow growing; many of them, save some of the larger deciduous natives, make good candidates for foundation plantings. By following a few simple rules, it is easy to design effectively with azaleas.

Azaleas can be planted as specimens or in groups. The royal azalea (Rhododendron schlippenbachii) not only has luminescent pinkish-white flowers in late April/early May but also exquisite rounded foliage that is arranged like pinwheels on the stems, making it an ideal specimen plant.

The native flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) flowers in late May to early June in a variety of shades from fiery red-orange to yellow-orange (as the name would suggest). Specimens can reach up to 12 feet tall and 5 feet wide and rival any large Viburnum in the garden. When planted en masse, flame azaleas create a nuanced color harmony that will brighten any landscape; they do not look congested or dense due to their graceful structure. Though deciduous, they can provide seasonal screening in your yard.

Pay attention to bloom time when planting azaleas in groups. Azaleas can generally be categorized by three bloom times: early, mid, or late season. I have visited gardens where azaleas are effectively planted so that they flower sequentially; as one azalea fades its neighbor opens, providing color for extended periods. Or, weave a tapestry by planting groups of azaleas that flower at the same time.

The Azalea Garden

See more of Sonia's great tips below the jump.

A Spring Walk in the Garden

Posted in Around the Garden, Photography on April 26 2011, by Ann Rafalko

Ann Rafalko is Director of Online Content.

It is beautiful here today. Just in case you can’t make it out of your office to hop a train and come up to the Bronx, I thought I’d take a walk and snap some pictures for you. It’s more than just beautiful out, too. According to one birder I met today, it’s also prime warbler migrating time. As he put it, the next two weeks will be “warbler heaven.” So whether you’re a birder, photographer, gardener, or walker, now is the time to come and visit the Garden!

So much more below including cherry blossoms, incredible tulips, and the amazing Rock Garden.