The come-and-go summer heat may be a bummer for some of us here in the city, but not so in the Native Plant Garden‘s flourishing meadow, where spikes of purple blazing stars and sunflowers of all sorts bask day in, day out with the bees, dragonflies, and birds that come to visit. The effect is one of a brightly-colored painting with a lot of air traffic. But foot traffic is welcome, too! Now is the ideal time to see the Native Plant Garden’s swaying grasses and flowers in peak summer form.
Kevin Character recently stopped in to chat with Kristin Schleiter, our Assistant Vice President for Landscape Gardens and Living Collections, where she got us caught up on the two-year process behind the meadow’s planting—from its start as a meandering collection of scrappy sprouts to the elegant sea of green that it displays today.
While there’s certainly a wild quality to the Native Plant Garden, trust me when I say that everything planted there was carefully chosen to demonstrate local flora, native planting techniques, and a year-round beauty that shines through whether you’re here in July or November. Still, missing the meadow in such rare form would be a shame!
Can you guess what’s starting up in the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections? It’s a time-consuming but rewarding process, best undertaken with a deliberate hand and a keen eye (not to mention years of training). And it lands this fall.
I might drum up a debate with this declaration, but the dream summer dining experience isn’t about a.m. iced coffees or candlelit cafe dinners under patio umbrellas. It is about noon brunch served on the balcony, tailed by an outdoor stint with the grill. It’s about eggs benedict, fresh fruit salad, and a tall Bloody Mary in a highball glass. And while I can’t say we’ll have the vodka or the Worcestershire sauce on hand at our Greenmarket, we’re all set with the tomato juice.
Ditto for the eggs, and plenty of baked foundations for that hollandaise-drenched staple. Though if the prepwork is too much for you, you could always leap on one of the savory quiches that have been showing up with Meredith’s Bread over the last few weeks. And for a late lunch, our other vendors are pulling their weight on the grill lately with potatoes, onions, corn, tomatoes, and so much more. All of which you can preface with the salsa verde you make from the plump tomatillos on sale, cozied up in their leaves like little presents.
While we can’t be sure just what will show up on the tables at this week’s Greenmarket, summer is a gift for gourmets, so don’t waste these mild temperatures ordering in with the blinds drawn. Instead, load up on fresh produce, put your kitchen to work, and get outside! How often do you have an excuse to wear sunglasses at a meal, anyway?
This week, we’re joining ConEdison as a supporting partner in their Plug Into Summer Fun contest, an opportunity for you and your friends to win daily prizes at locations around New York City. Better yet, we’re the Grand Prize Partner this week! If you missed out on any of our recent evening activities, such as Sunday’s Family Dinner with Mario Batali’s Chefs or our last Wild Medicine Cocktail Evening, this is your chance to laugh all the way to the bank with free trips to our upcoming events. Pair that with tickets to one of our Halloween adventures in October, and you’re staring down a prize worth $600! Considering you could easily enter this contest while lying on your couch, the cost/benefit tally is definitely leaning in your favor.
Being the weekly grand prize partner has its perks, too—you don’t have to wait until the end of the week to enter, for one. You can enter up to three times a day from now through Friday, August 2, to give yourself the best possible chance of taking home the reward. And because each entry also puts you in the running for the daily prizes offered by ConEd’s other partners, there are plenty of chances to land some winnings. All told, the contest is offering 36 prizes in total and runs until August 23!
Consider this a fete for hummingbirds. The cardinal flowers are a delicacy to our frazzle-winged friends, and if you’re in the Native Plant Garden while they’re in bloom (i.e. now), you might see a few blurry busybodies zipping to and fro.
As I write this, it’s barely lunchtime on Friday and already our stomachs are grumbling for Sunday night’s Family Dinner with Mario Batali’s Chefs. But if you saw the menu, you’d have no cause to blame us for jumping so far ahead of schedule. Chef Cruz Goler of Lupa and Chef Frank Langello of Babbo will be here and in rare form, slinging gourmet dishes in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden and talking shop with cooking demonstrations both before and after the meal. It’s a pretty well-rounded approach to highlighting everyone’s favorite pastime—eating well! And with plenty of crafts and activities to keep the kids happy (and perfectly paired wines to give your own mood that much more of a boost), it’s the quintessential al fresco dining experience.
We’ll be prefacing our gourmand experience with an entire weekend of music, poetry, and hands-on activities centered around our ongoing exploration of Wild Medicine. Join us in the Ross Hall on Saturday, July 27, for the heights of lyricism hosted by visiting poets. The likes of Terese Svoboda and Rafael Campo will be joining us for dramatic readings of 16th-century classics, proving that the art of botany moves well beyond the beauty of the flower itself.
For the DIY dynamos among you, the Home Gardening Center should be high on your list of destinations, too. We’ll have an NYBG expert on hand to answer your questions on the pride of so many summer gardens: the hydrangea. Whether blue, pink, or somewhere in between, we’ll teach you how to grow and maintain these flower puffs to your liking.
There’s a whole lot more going on this weekend than I can jabber on about here, so head below for the schedule and we’ll see you on the grounds!