Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Archive: October 2012

Storm Damage Assessment from The New York Botanical Garden

Posted in Around the Garden on October 31 2012, by Todd Forrest

In the aftermath of this week’s storm, people have been asking about the status of The New York Botanical Garden‘s living collections. We wanted to update you on the damage inflicted by the storm at the Botanical Garden.

A very large tree in the Azalea Garden

A very large tree in the Azalea Garden
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Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage to trees, fences, small structures, signs, and one building across the 250 acres of The New York Botanical Garden.  While we are still assessing the damage, initial surveys reveal that over 100 native trees in the Forest and throughout the landscape, including some of our ancient and most magnificent oaks, were destroyed.  Hundreds of mature pines, spruces, and firs in the Ross Conifer Arboretum and Benenson Ornamental Conifers and other irreplaceable collections of trees across the Garden were damaged.  Over the next few days, curators and arborists will carefully inspect trees across the landscape for broken and damaged limbs and other substantial damage not immediately apparent after the storm.

Staff members of the Garden’s Operations and Horticulture Divisions began clean-up efforts even before the storm had moved inland.  Their initial efforts focused on the clearing of roads and the removal of downed trees from buildings and structures.  Certain areas of the Garden, including the Forest, the Azalea Garden, the Ross Arboretum, and the Benenson Ornamental Conifers will remain closed until the damage in these areas can be fully assessed and paths and roadways cleared.

While Sandy’s fierce winds have altered the tree canopy that lends singular grace and beauty to our historic landscape, we are working hard to re-establish the calm beauty that makes the Garden an oasis for all New Yorkers, particularly during trying times.  Many sections of the Garden, including the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, will re-open to the public on Thursday, November 1.

Donate Now to the Fund For Trees

Morning Eye Candy: Bliss Central

Posted in Around the Garden, Photography on October 28 2012, by Matt Newman

Breaking up the Halloween…ness? …with some refreshing fall finds from the Native Plant Garden. We’re still photographing these behind a closed gate for now, but you can trust in my promise that this complex collection of displays and environments will be bliss central when it opens in 2013.

Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

This Weekend: An Early Halloween

Posted in Around the Garden on October 26 2012, by Matt Newman

Thanksgiving has it so easy. It’s on the same day every year, and close enough to the weekend that you can plan to party around the table until the wee hours (barring a completely bonkers Black Friday schedule). But Halloween? Not so much. We’re usually left to the mercy of the calendar, and this October’s schedule lands the night of spooks and specters square in the middle of the work week. Hump day isn’t exactly party central for most New Yorkers, and it’s a school night for your mini monsters. But that shouldn’t dampen your spirits! This weekend, October 26 through 28, the NYBG holds its own ghoulish galas to mark the occasion a little early.

Our Spooky Nighttime Adventures ramp up as of this Friday night, marking the start of trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, and exploring the creepiest aspects of the Garden after dark–all in a safe environment for your kids to romp around. The Haunted Pumpkin Garden will be in its element, and that’s not to mention the horde of skulking harvester zombies carved into life by Ray Villafane this past weekend. Don’t forget to register for tickets–we’re extremely close to selling out for every single evening, and our limited nightly offering of walk-up tickets is far from guaranteed with such high demand!

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Mum Madness: Vote for Your Favorite New NYBG Mum!

Posted in Gardening Tips, Gardens and Collections on October 26 2012, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Sonia Uyterhoeven is the NYBG’s Gardener for Public Education.

Korean mums were first hybridized (bred) in Connecticut in the 1930s by a nurseryman named Alex Cummings. He was working on hybridizing cold-hardy varieties that would flourish in New England temperatures. A tall plant–a wild species he mistakenly identified as Chrysanthemum coreanum–fell into his hands and the results were the lavish Korean mums you see planted today in both our Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden and the Home Gardening Center.

The chrysanthemum that Cummings was working with turned out to be Chrysanthemum sibiricum, a wild mum with white-pink daisies, vigorous growth, and good branching. This species is also native to Korea, so the popular name of “Korean mum” is correct. Korean hybrids tend to be four feet tall with spectacular, daisy-like flowers that come in a wide range of colors, from pale yellow and dusty pink to burnt-orange and fiery red.

At The New York Botanical Garden, we have a selection program for the Korean mums. Each year we grow a wide variety of Korean mums in a kaleidoscope of colors. In the Perennial Garden, we group them as separate colors–a selection of red mums in the hot room, pink in the cool room–paired beautifully with fall shrubs and perennials to create vibrant autumnal displays.

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Morning Eye Candy: Buttoning Up the Family Garden

Posted in Around the Garden, Photography on October 26 2012, by Matt Newman

They really do laugh uncontrollably and without cause while working in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden. Well, all right, Ivo was probably telling a patently terrible joke at the time this photo was taken. Here’s a big thanks and hello to Annie Novak and Toby Adams, whose tireless efforts have kept us knee-deep in vegetables all through the summer and into fall. They’re buttoning up the Family Garden’s edible options until spring, but we’ll be waiting patiently for the next harvest!

Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

What’s Beautiful Now: Orange Crush

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on October 25 2012, by Matt Newman

We gush over green for so much of the year that a quick break from the norm is more than welcome. So this week, I’m shifting focus for something a little more in line with the exuberance of the Halloween season, a hue that our resident photographer, Ivo Vermeulen, is all too willing to champion–at least if his favorite pair of garish pants has anything to say about it. I’d show you a picture but I’m under the impression we had to put a ban in writing to keep him from blinding visitors (though it certainly doesn’t stifle this Dutchman’s nationalism). In any case, it’s tough to live year-round in the northeast and not have at least the shadow of a soft spot for the fiery orange of autumn.

The changes around the NYBG are not always subtle. The tulip trees have slipped into their lemon yellows, and the boughs fringing the Forest follow suit with a citrus spectrum of their own. In the Home Gardening Center, neon orange chrysanthemums carry the torch for the flowers. It won’t be long now before we’re walking the Garden trails beneath an entirely different canopy, one splashed with all the painted warmth that winter tends to be so stingy with. But for now, we’ll take in all this early orange wonder while the weather’s still playing nice enough to leave our galoshes and down coats stuffed in the closet.

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Posted in Around the Garden on October 25 2012, by Matt Newman

Elbow deep in a mound of pumpkin guts, wrenching out the last of that stringy pulp you’ll spend the next day fishing out of your hair? Probably not the best time to ponder the history of the jack o’ lantern. But once your squashy horror is grinning from your porch, peering out the kitchen window, or waiting for some hooligan or other to smash it on the driveway, take a moment and think: who actually came up with this bizarre Halloween tradition? While the NYBG is rolling out its own orange horrors courtesy of Ray Villafane, carving out this story means hopping a boat across the Atlantic to greener pastures, a place older and somewhat more partial to ghost stories (and dark, delicious stouts) than the United States.

If you guessed Ireland, you’ve got the pumpkin pegged. Or should I say turnip? As historical records tell it (there are still plenty of arguments on who inspired what), the holiday tradition of carving up starchy vegetables dates back generations in Ireland. But there was no train of cargo ships itching to haul the North American pumpkin to the shores of the Emerald Isle, as I’m sure you can gather. Instead, the Irish hollowed out their local root vegetables, adorned them with frightful faces, and lit them with embers or candles, a fall tradition brought out during Samhain–or “Sawin,” a fanciful celebration to mark the end of the fall harvest and the beginning of winter in the British Isles.

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