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.
Nestled in the Norwegian Arctic, secure in an underground vault, rests one resource mankind cannot live without: seeds. The vault is a piece of a larger project of agricultural pioneer Cary Fowler in a passionate race against time to protect the future of our food supply, as captured in a documentary film Seeds of Time.
We sat down with Fowler in advance of our Earth Day screening of Seeds of Time to learn more about preserving biodiversity in agricultural crops and what filmgoers can do to help.
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.
Chelsea’s powerhouse Gagosian Gallery is not the most likely place you’d find pressed herbarium specimens.
But that’s exactly what you’ll see there as part of the gallery’s current show by multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon.
In “Paperwork and the Will of Capital,” Simon recreates and photographs the elaborate centerpieces that sat between powerful men as they signed agreements designed to change the world. Preparing the exhibition, Simon worked with Daniel Atha, NYBG botanist and Conservation Program Manager, and Sheranza Alli, NYBG Senior Museum Preparator and Herbarium Aid, who teach a Plant Collection and Preservation Workshop at the Garden.
Almost immediately, responses poured in, like “Sounds like fun! I’m in!” and “I’ll do it, too!”
By the next day, the plan was fully formed. Each of the nine participants would buy her own sketchbook and complete a nature-related drawing or painting in it before mailing it on to the next person in the exchange. Everyone would have one month to complete a new piece before mailing the sketchbooks on to the next artist. When you get your sketchbook back, the exchange is complete.
They called it “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Sketchbook.”
Bronx community activist Karen Washington remembers when there were so many vacant lots in the Bronx that the borough looked like “a war zone.”
Over the years, some were turned into community gardens, primarily in an effort to beautify and reclaim neighborhoods devastated by New York’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s. Over time, the dedicated volunteers who created these urban oases realized they could provide so much more than simple beauty. Community gardens became centers for community organization, expressions of cultural identity, and sources of fresh fruit and vegetables for a population in dire need of healthy food.
Washington recently sat down with us to tell us about her experiences working to keep urban gardening alive and well in the Bronx, a mission she’s been on since 1985.
A NYBG Board member and founding member of NYBG’s Bronx Green-Up program, Washington has helped dozens of neighborhoods build their own community gardens. She joins a panel of other urban agriculture experts in our Growing the Urban Farm Symposium on November 18.
Perhaps best known for her brilliant street photography, photographer Valérie Jardin has a remarkable talent for capturing light and using it to tell a story.
Worldwide, her speaking engagements sell out quickly, but there are still seats available in her October 26 lecture here at the Garden, where we offer a number of photography classes. We sat down with Ms. Jardin to learn more about her techniques, her passions, and her plans for her upcoming presentation.
On July 22, more than 165 horticulture enthusiasts from the Tri-State area and beyond descended upon The New York Botanical Garden for the third-annual Hortie Hoopla, a field day for green-industry interns that offers them time to network, learn about career opportunities, explore the Garden grounds including visiting the FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life exhibition, and to have fun and meet others like themselves.
Hosted by NYBG’s School of Professional Horticulture, the event is designed to inspire young people who are interested in plants to pursue an education in the continually expanding green industries.
Back by popular demand, ecological landscape designer Darrel Morrison, FASLA, will lead a five-day workshop in the beauty of New York’s Black Rock Forest Consortium this October, focusing on the botanic composition, aesthetic character, and ecological dynamics of native plant communities in the New York City region.
Aspiring horticulturist Marc Wolf attended the field study in its inaugural year and sat down with us to share his take on this total immersion workshop.