Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Archive: April 2014

Love in Bloom: Tom Sebenius Talks Weddings and Floral Design

Posted in Adult Education on April 29 2014, by Plant Talk

Left to right: Tom Sebenius and his business partners, Nicole Spector and Brian McNamara.
Left to right: Tom Sebenius and his business partners, Nicole Spector and Brian McNamara

Love is in the air, and we’re anticipating hundreds of couples hosting weddings and wedding-related events at the Garden this year.

And while brides and grooms enjoy their day of pampering, pledging, and partying, the run-up to the big day is often accompanied by pressure and panic. That’s where the wedding professional steps in with creative solutions, a willingness to compromise, and the ability to keep calm.

We sat down with New York City wedding floral design expert and NYBG instructor Tom Sebenius to learn more about designing for this most memorable day built around romance, personal preferences, and utmost attention to detail.

“Couples have so many options that being chosen to provide the flowers for their special day is a real honor,” Sebenius said.

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The Native Pantry: Wild Wine and Delectable Delights

Posted in Gardening Tips on April 29 2014, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

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

Aronia melanocarpa 'Autumn Magic'
Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa ‘Autumn Magic’)

When I feel like going on a culinary adventure, I’ll often travel to the Polish markets in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint. It’s one of the few places that I can find one of my favorite items, a drink or syrup made from chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa). You simply dilute the syrup with mineral water to create a refreshing beverage with a robust berry flavor reminiscent of black currants—minus the bitter edge.

European markets tend to offer a wealth of products like this, many of them made from herbs and berries that you won’t often find in the mainstream North American marketplace. They herald back to a time when people lived off the land and were more intimately connected with their natural environment.

We often assess native plants in terms of their ornamental value, but rarely view them in terms of their culinary value, even though there is a long and colorful history of foraging and using native species in our kitchens. For the most part, these traditions have since been isolated to local communities and small groups of enthusiasts.

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Spring Brings a Wine-Lover’s Oasis

Posted in Programs and Events on April 28 2014, by Lansing Moore

NYBG Native Plant GardenOur Spring Festival Series launches a full season of celebrations this weekend! May 3 & 4 is Wine in the Native Plant Garden, where visitors can enjoy the flora of the Northeast and sip on wines from New York State and beyond. Explore our extensive list of participating wineries and read on for more information about our festive programs!

Visitors will be greeted by Milton, performing bluegrass and folk tunes near the Reflecting Pool. Across from the entrance to the Native Plant Garden, Festival ticket-holders can enjoy samples of wine and food. Roaming tour guides will lead visitors through the most contemporary garden design ever created at The New York Botanical Garden, and a shining example of environmentally-friendly landscape architecture.

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Morning Eye Candy: How Do I Look?

Posted in Photography on April 28 2014, by Lansing Moore

Everyone is coming to admire the blossoming cherry trees at the moment, but this one certainly seems to be admiring itself just as much in the Reflecting Pool! Isn’t it daffodils that are called Narcissus?

cherry blossom tree reflecting pool

At the Leon Levy Visitor Center – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

This Weekend: Antiques for the Garden and the Garden Room

Posted in Programs and Events on April 25 2014, by Lansing Moore

cherry blossoms nybgThe Antique Garden Furniture Fair opens to the public this weekend, with a full roster of exciting talks and booksignings! Come peruse the wares in the Conservatory Tent throughout Saturday and Sunday, including our own Specialty Plant Sale. For home decor inspiration, visit our series of fascinating Q&A sessions with visiting experts. Even better, home delivery is available for all purchases.

It is also quite a weekend for art lovers at the Garden with our Triennial exhibition, Weird, Wild, & Wonderful open to great acclaim. Prepare to be amazed by how the most talented botanical artists interpret the world’s most bizarre-looking plants in the Ross Gallery.

There are still plenty of ways for children to enjoy the Garden this weekend as well. Mario Batali’s Kitchen Gardens will use the growing season to guide kids through an exploration of Italian heirloom vegetables to encourage healthy and delicious eating. Dig! Plant! Grow! returns with a new program, too, investigating Wild Wiggly Worms and how they help gardens flourish.

The grounds are enjoying a truly spectacular blooming season. The magnolia and cherry trees are flowering at the same time, blanketing the Garden in white and pink. Click through for our weekend programs, including the Antique Garden Furniture Fair!

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Daffodil Dreamscape

Posted in Horticulture on April 25 2014, by Kristin Schleiter

Kristin Schleiter is the NYBG’s Associate Vice President of Outdoor Gardens and Senior Curator. She oversees the wonderful gardening team that keeps our flowering gardens looking topnotch, curates the herbaceous gardens and collections, and manages the curator of woody plants. She lives and gardens in Fairfield, CT.

DaffodilsIt’s daffodil time! That dreamy, delicious time of year when even the greyest day is made brilliant by masses of cheerful blooms.

I’m often asked which is my favorite daffodil. It’s like asking me which of my children I love the most! I adore the slightly green, buttery yellow trumpet ‘Pistachio’ who is so handsome next to lavender pansies. But then ‘Surfside’ just blooms so enthusiastically with her swept back white petals and her frilled cup that fades to cream. How could I not pick her? And of course ‘St. Keverne’ is marvelous too. His rich golden yellow blossoms stand tall and strong and he perennializes so fabulously!

If you have a garden, really any kind of a garden except for a very wet site, and you don’t have any daffodils in it, plant some this fall! Simply plant them 3 times as deep as the bulb is tall with the root end down. If you aren’t sure which is the root end, plant them on their side and they will find their way! When choosing a variety, look for those that are described as being good perennializers. Daffodils will perform their best in full sun in well-drained soil, but they are very forgiving. We have swathes of daffodils planted in lawns here which make such marvelous spring scenes, but you have to be sure to leave their foliage up for at least 6 weeks before you mow.

Daffodils at the NYBG

Of course, the very best way to choose what to plant in the fall is to come see them in person this spring. Our grounds are now a living catalog, so come find your favorites!