Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Archive: April 5, 2012

Wild Style: Emily Thompson at the NYBG

Posted in Adult Education on April 5 2012, by Joyce Newman

It was only a few short months ago that Emily Thompson stood in the White House’s East Room and envisioned the task of “bringing outside in” to create her exciting holiday decor project for the First Family. Now Thompson is sharing some of her inspired creative talents at The New York Botanical Garden. Later this month, she will bring her floral shears to the NYBG’s midtown location, encouraging students to delve into the design elements that embody the forest, bog, and jungle.

Thompson’s work is best known for its sculptural and naturalistic elements as inspired by her native Vermont. Her clients are not only among the internationally famous, such as the Obamas, but include her local Brooklyn friends and restaurants as well. Having studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and earned an MFA in sculpture at UCLA, Thompson eventually moved to New York, where she set up her shop–Emily Thompson Flowers–on Jay Street in Brooklyn’s DUMBO district, one of the city’s premier art havens.

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Vegetable Ivory: The Dog’s Tooth Violet

Posted in Around the Garden, Learning Experiences on April 5 2012, by Daniel Atha

Daniel Atha is an Associate Editor of NYBG’s systemic botany journal, Brittonia, and a researcher specializing in floristics, taxonomy, and economic botany. He has taught classes in anatomy and systemics at the Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture and is currently working on a project to develop identifying DNA barcodes for plants of the Northeastern United States.

Despite their reputation for having less-than-perfect breath, dogs do tend to have shiny white teeth, no matter what they eat. But dogs aren’t able to brush their own teeth to keep them shiny, so the next time you’re helping Rover with his dental hygiene, give them a good look, and then dig up a dog’s tooth violet–a beautiful native wildflower now in bloom–remove the bulb coat and note the perfect semblance to Rover’s canines in vegetal form!

Erythronium americanum Ker. Gawl. (Liliaceae) dog’s-tooth violet

These plants are so beautiful it seems a shame to eat them. But we gleefully eat strawberries, squash blossoms … and lamb for heaven’s sake, so why avoid these delicate, delicious plants? Dog’s tooth violets grow naturally in huge colonies, so rooting around and pulling out a few slender bulbs is actually just thinning–what every bulb fancier does lovingly. Go ahead, dig a few out of your woods and try them. You’ll be glad you did.

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