Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Archive: December 2014

Cheerful Paperwhites and Statuesque Amaryllis

Posted in Horticulture on December 30 2014, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Sonia Uyterhoeven is NYBG‘s Gardener for Public Education.

Amaryllis Hippeastrum sp.
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum sp.)

I am not sure how we managed to get to the end of this year so quickly—perhaps I never am—but like all the others, this year seemed to gallop as it approached the finish line. I generally like to finish off my year of blogging with environmental topics, so that we can reflect on our role and renew our commitment to preserving the natural world in small yet significant ways.

This year, these larger-than-life contemplations will have to wait until after the New Year. My topic today is light, airy, and fragrant. Everyone seems to be growing paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) and amaryllis (Hippeastrum sp.) this year. I will describe how easy it is to grow these two winter wonders and inspire you to try—if you haven’t already.

Based on the classification given by the American Daffodil Society, paperwhites come from Division 8—Tazetta Daffodils. The members of this division are incredibly floriferous with some producing up to 20 blossoms per stem (range 5–20). They prefer warmer conditions than many of their bulbous brethren. While some members of this division are hardy to zone 5, the paperwhites that you force in the winter months are only hardy from zones 8–10.

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What’s Beautiful Now: A Winter Walk

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on December 29 2014, by Lansing Moore

1214-conifer-250x280The weather outside is certainly not frightful, and the Garden is simply delightful! On this crystal clear winter day, the bright sun highlights the intricate architecture of the tree branches. Snow may have its charms, but nothing beats a brisk walk under a blue sky. Even as the Holiday Train Show reaches its busiest season, there remains plenty to see in the fresh air beyond the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Take advantage of this clear weather to plan a festive outing. Explore our calendar of tours and other ways to enjoy the outdoors at NYBG.

Follow this slideshow on a tour through the Garden grounds—including the Native Plant Garden and the Thain Family Forest—to see all there is to admire on a winter’s day. The way the light illuminates the grass, sparkles on the water, and brightens up the forest is sure to give you a sunny outlook for the coming New Year!


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Christmas Ferns: Easy Native Evergreens

Posted in Horticulture on December 24 2014, by Joyce Newman

Joyce H. Newman holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden and has been a Tour Guide for over seven years. She is a blogger for Garden Variety News and the former editor of Consumer Reports

Christmas fern at NYBG
Christmas fern
(Polystichum acrostichoides)

When walking in the woodland area of the Native Plant Garden this time of year, you will meet up with the native fern Polystichum acrostichoides, commonly known as the Christmas fern. These ferns can form large, one- to two-foot clumps; are easy to grow; and are standouts in winter due to their evergreen leaves.

The individual leaves on each frond are stocking-shaped, reminiscent of Christmas stockings, which some people claim is the origin of the plant’s common name. But, in fact, the name “Christmas” fern comes from its having deep green fronds at Christmas time, says NYBG fern expert Robbin C. Moran.

Dr. Moran’s entertaining and enlightening book, A Natural History of Ferns, (available in the NYBG shop or by print-on-demand from Timber Press), explains how these amazing plants reproduce by actually “shooting” their very tiny spores. “The spores leap more than an inch into the air and arch downward,” Moran observes. “It is like watching popcorn popping.”

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Thomas & Friends Arrive at NYBG

Posted in Programs and Events on December 23 2014, by Lansing Moore

thomasWith the holidays upon us and the New Year just around the corner, the Holiday Train Show begins the next season of winter fun on January 3 when All Aboard with Thomas & Friends™ pulls into the station! Everyone’s favorite train comes to life as Thomas and Driver Sam star in these fun-filled, sing-along, mini-performances each day at various times through January 25. Be sure to bring your camera for a photo-op with Thomas, or purchase a souvenir photo from our professional photographers.

Check the full schedule of upcoming performances, including special 9 a.m. Members-only performances on select dates. MasterCard cardholders can also enjoy priority VIP seating on January 4 & 11!

When purchasing your ticket, please be sure to select the All-Garden Pass ticket option that specifies All Aboard with Thomas & Friends Mini-Performance & All-Garden PassAll Aboard with Thomas & Friends™ includes access to the Holiday Train Show through January 19. Thomas tickets purchased for January 23 through 29 include access to Wild Medicine in the Tropics. While there is no additional cost for the mini-performance, this is the only ticket type that allows access to All Aboard with Thomas & Friends™.

(Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends™ ©2014 Gullane (Thomas) Limited.)

Emerald Planet: Honoring the Work of Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy

Posted in People on December 23 2014, by Matt Newman

Left to Right: Gregory Long, Lewis Cullman, Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D., E.O. Wilson, Ph.D., Sir Ghillean Prance FRS VMH, Patricia Holmgren, Ph.D., Noel Holmgren, Ph.D., and Ed Bass at the 123rd Annual Meeting.
Left to Right: Gregory Long, Lewis Cullman, Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D., E.O. Wilson, Ph.D., Sir Ghillean Prance FRS VMH, Patricia Holmgren, Ph.D., Noel Holmgren, Ph.D., and Ed Bass at the 123rd Annual Meeting.

This past November, some of the most influential botanists and conservationists in modern science gathered together for The New York Botanical Garden’s 123rd Annual Meeting, joining CEO and The William C. Steere Sr. President Gregory Long and the NYBG’s Board Members for a recap of the past year’s successes—as well as the Garden’s plans to come. But top billing during this event went to a person who has not only served as an integral member of the NYBG Board since 1986, but proven an enormously significant figure in global ecology initiatives and conservation efforts.

For many, the highlight of the evening was Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D., who received the NYBG’s Gold Medal—our highest honor—for his accomplishments within and dedication to biodiversity and plant science.

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Holiday Tips for Getting Out of Sticky Situations

Posted in Horticulture on December 23 2014, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Sonia Uyterhoeven is NYBG‘s Gardener for Public Education.

holiday conifers

With the holidays upon us, I figured I should share some tips for getting out of sticky situations. No, I don’t mean finding the words you need to mask your disappointment when you unwrap yet another holiday-themed tie, or filling those pregnant silences that come after receiving a gift that’s just a little too practical.

The sticky mess I refer to is sap. Just looking at a conifer is enough to make my hands feel sticky. The holidays are a perfect time for buying or making your own holiday wreaths or evergreen table decorations, and I usually journey down to the floral district on 28th street—between 6th and 7th—to pick up my supplies. But the tree vendors that set up on street corners seem to have an ever-expanding selection of greens.

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