It’s been a whirlwind of cherry blossoms at the Garden this week, with our Japanese cherries, plums, and apricots going from the quiet of winter to the full bloom of spring in just a handful of days. They’re currently at 90% of the way to peak bloom, which means this weekend is likely your last chance to see them in all their seasonal splendor.
Higan cherry (Prunus pendula var. ascendens) near the Rock Garden – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen
Since 2010, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some of our citizen scientist volunteers. From time to time, I get to join them during their phenology walks in the Thain Family Forest. While they conduct their tree studies, I keep an eye out for owls, hawks, raccoons, and other wildlife that call the forest their home. On a recent phenology adventure, I got to photograph one of the Garden’s more elusive inhabitants: the Eastern red-backed salamander. Thanks to our intrepid Forest Manager, Jessica Schuler, I enjoyed a wonderful close-up encounter.
Robert Llewellyn’s photography is high-tech, but nature-focused. He shows us what we can’t see with the naked eye, but is all around us.
Normally, when a photographer takes a photo with a macro lens, only a small portion of the image is in focus.
Llewellyn’s process solves that problem using a motorized, computer-controlled camera to change focus points and reveal every part of the plant he’s photographing, down to tiny hairs, bits of pollen, and the texture of fine, opaque petals.
Fifty exposures later, the images are stitched together in computer software.
NYBG will be open for regular hours on Monday, March 28, with three days of programs and tours for visitors—so plan your first spring outing of the year!
Inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, The Orchid Show: Orchidelirium continues to dazzle visitors with its color and fragrance, but the outdoor collections are catching up fast! The magnolias reach their peak bloom this weekend, while rhododendron, daffodils, and more spring blooms appear each day. The Rock Garden also reopens this weekend for the season, so come admire the cascade and alpine flowers of this secluded garden.
One of my favorite things about working at The New York Botanical Garden is all the opportunities to see wild Red-tailed Hawks in action. Since my first close-up encounter with a hawk by the white pines back in February of 2009, I’ve been documenting them, both with my camera and in my notebook.
I’ve had the pleasure of photographing and filming these winged hunters as they soar overhead, hide quietly in the trees, and swoop down on unsuspecting prey. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve encountered one of them as soon as I enter the Garden grounds, or at the end of my day right before I exit. During my early treks, I learned that the adults nested nearby at Fordham University. The Botanical Garden, Fordham Campus, and the Bronx Zoo are all parts of their overall hunting ground.
But for sheer variety, the Garden is the equivalent of a raptor smorgasbord. Squirrels, chipmunks, white-footed mice, short-tailed shrews, garter snakes, and cotton-tailed rabbits are but a few of the inhabitants that call the Garden their home. They provide the hawks with sustenance all year round.
The daffodils are waking! And with the first bloom of our massive expansion of the historic Narcissus collection on Daffodil Hill just beginning, it’s likely to be a huge year for these sunny flowers. Stay tuned.
Narcissus ‘February Gold’ in the Liasson Narcissus Collection – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen