The Rock Garden and Native Plant Garden have entered their lush summer growth already, so enjoy a stroll in the shade of our tree canopy this Memorial Day Weekend. We will be open on Monday during regular Garden Hours.
If Marta McDowell’s last book, Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, was a stroll down the memory lane of childhood whimsy, her latest book, All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses—How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America, feels like a journey into the secret, lesser-known world of political plantscapes that shaped foreign policy and inspired American lifestyles.
Although one might think Presidential garden history would be a bit dry, I can assure you it is not—in fact, I read the entire book in one evening. It is Marta’s “voice” that creates a sense of fascination within the reader. Her wit and insight shines through as she describes the White House Gardens, sometimes utilitarian and spare, and other times lush and extravagant. (In fact, Marta, could you go back in time and rewrite all my high-school and college history books?)
The New York Botanical Garden puts the “intense” in “Intensive” this summer with accelerated educational programs that get students on their way to achieving career goals, learning new skills, and earning prestigious Certificates in Landscape Design, Floral Design, or Gardening. Three students who completed last year’s programs and are set to graduate this month sat down to talk to us about their experiences and how the Intensives made an impact on their lives.
Chanticleer Garden, a 35-acre public garden not far from Philadelphia, is considered to be one of the greatest, most magical gardens in America. Open to visitors from April through October, Chanticleer’s six gardeners are responsible for the design, planting, and maintenance of particular areas of the property, including 15 distinct garden “rooms,” each on the scale of a good-sized residential garden, and each with its own look and feel.
Each gardener’s artistic vision is beautifully documented in The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer available at NYBG Shop (Timber Press, $34.95). Lavishly photographed by Rob Cardillo, and co-authored by the Chanticleer Gardeners, the book reveals the gardeners’ personal styles, as well as their varied approaches to color, to the use of sculpture and other media, to experimentation, and to choice of plants.
Beautiful throughout the year, the Perennial Garden is especially colorful this month as the perennials fully stretch out for the season. There is always something eye-catching blooming in this garden, with more on deck when they finish. The Native Plant Garden has many blooming perennials of its own, with Sarracenia species in the wetland, and native rhododendrons and azaleas coming into flower as well, all amid sweeps of a variety of lovely ferns.
The Rock Garden is awash in color, and the display can change daily and even hourly on a sunny day. Take a stroll through this secluded, historic collection, and enjoy the peaceful babble of the restored cascade. Visitors this weekend enjoy a unique glimpse into NYBG’s ongoing plant science and conservation endeavors during our Science Open House.
During the opening weekend celebration for Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas, and in honor of our 125th Anniversary, I had the pleasure of being a judge for our first ever cake contest! We reached out to local bakeries and challenged them to create special anniversary cakes with the theme of nature, gardens, plants, and art—a broad theme that allowed for the creativity of these master bakers to shine through.
Judging was based on aesthetics and interpretation of the theme (not by tasting, unfortunately for me, though each bakery did supply a sheet cake for sampling). Having to rank these works of art was difficult, but between the public voting via text messages and the other two judges—Casey Barber and Jen Chung—we managed to narrow down our choices.