The late winter snows of the past few weeks have given us one last glimpse of the snowy white vistas of the Garden ahead of the burst of color to come.
Women’s History Month is underway, and here at NYBG we’re celebrating countless contributions to the Garden’s missions in science, art, horticulture, and so much more with several events in March. The Garden’s own co-founder, Elizabeth Knight Britton, was a world-renowned botanist and advocate for the natural world, and so many other venerable women in their fields have contributed to the field of plants through their research, illustrations, landscape design, and activism. This year, we’re highlighting a few who have worked with NYBG, and helping to expound on the work of others who deserve the spotlight.
As part of #plantlove at NYBG, we’re talking with people from all over the Garden about what inspires their passion for plants. Today, meet Rocky Douangchanh, Public Education Coordinator.
“My passion for the Garden began in fall of 2005, when I joined as a Volunteer Explainer in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. I came to understand that learning wasn’t a practice bound to a physical classroom, but one that flourished in many forms. I was grateful for the work that I did educating children and developing plant science-based programming. In the 14 years since, my responsibilities here have grown, and I’ve grown with them, finding a voice, vision, and an understanding of NYBG’s role as a living museum. I’ve also come to feel accountable to the community of educators, volunteers, staff, and visitors who think of this place as a second home.”
We may not see the budding leaves of spring just yet when wandering the Forest at NYBG, but a careful eye will make out many signs of life nonetheless. Look closely at the trunks of trees, both standing and fallen, and you may catch sight of shelf fungi, lichen, mosses, and any number of unique lifeforms weathering winter with aplomb. It’s a joy for those who like to hunt for treasure.
As part of #plantlove at NYBG, we’re talking with people from all over the Garden about what inspires their passion for plants. Today, meet Kristine Paulus, Plant Records Manager.
“As a kid, my love of plants started with wanting to grow food for my pet rabbit, Ginger. Growing up in an apartment that opened onto an old Pennsylvanian Christmas tree farm, few things seemed more magical than watching cut carrot tops sprout into new plants near the woods, or seeing seeds collected from tomatoes germinate. As I got older, I was distracted away from plants, and by the time I moved to NYC I thought I’d never grow anything again, at least until I stumbled upon a Bronx Green-Up community garden. I soon applied for my own plot, rediscovered my obsession, and completed a Horticulture Certificate here at NYBG. And now I’m the Plant Records Manager. Funny how that worked out.”
While we’re still waiting for the snowdrops to nod up out of the frosty winter grounds, another signal of the impending spring is already here: witch-hazels! Keep your eyes open as you make your way around NYBG, and you might catch the streamer-like red, orange, and yellow flowers of Hamamelis opening here and there. They’re certainly hard to miss.
While the genius of Applied Imagination is on display in the Holiday Train Show, there is an equally captivating exhibition of plant architecture just steps away in the Deserts of the Americas Gallery in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. This is just a sampling of the hundreds of cacti and other arid-land plants on display. Don’t touch!
Swaying grasses, seed heads, and the persistent husks of past flowers lend a sunset golden light to certain outdoor collections at the Garden this time of year. The slightest breeze sets them to wavering like a botanical sea, and at the right time of day, the scene is the definition of peace.
While winter plays out in our outdoor collections, the Haupt Conservatory is always dressed for summer. Explore just a few of the vibrant fruits, nodding flowers, and unique leaf structures of the plants within.
A recent light dusting of snow made the scenery pop with the colors of winter, from Japanese stewartia bark like forest camouflage to the golden seedheads of our plants along Seasonal Walk.