Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Adult Education

Winter Wreaths: Inspiration from NYBG Experts

Posted in Adult Education on January 6 2017, by Joyce Newman

Joyce H. Newman is an environmental journalist and teacher. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden.

Thompson Crescent Wreath Sapphire JuniperIf you’ve ever tried to create floral designs on your own, you’ll appreciate the work of Emily Thompson and Madeline Yanni—two amazing floral designers who have taught classes at NYBG and have their own floral design businesses in the New York metro area. Each designer has some great advice for making your own winter wreaths.

Emily Thompson’s Wild Style

Having studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and earned an MFA in sculpture at UCLA, Emily Thompson eventually moved to New York and first set up shop in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn, later moving to her current studio in the South Street Seaport district.

In the past, Thompson shared some of her inspired creative talents at NYBG’s midtown location, encouraging students to delve into the design elements that embody the forest, bog, and jungle. Thompson’s work is best known for its sculptural and naturalistic elements and is inspired by her native Vermont.

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A Talk with “Good Garden” Guru Edmund Hollander

Posted in Adult Education on October 13 2016, by Samantha Fletcher

Ed HollanderCalled a “landscape guru” by Architectural Digest, and lauded with National and New York Honor Awards by the American Society of Landscape Architecture, Edmund Hollander is one of New York City’s biggest names in residential landscape design. He’s also an alum of NYBG’s School of Professional Horticulture.

Hollander designs gorgeous green spaces of repose from the Hamptons to Hong Kong. His award-winning work is recognized for its attention to detail—both in terms of the design and in the environmental appropriateness of each site. In advance of his October 25 lecture, The Good Garden: Thoughts on Residential Landscape Design at NYBG, we asked him to share a few thoughts on successful garden design.

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Perfect Weather Makes for a Perfect Hortie Hoopla!

Posted in Adult Education on July 28 2016, by Education at NYBG

Interns and green professionals join Michael Hagen in the Native Plant Garden.
Interns and green professionals join Michael Hagen in the Native Plant Garden.

This year’s 4th Annual Tri-State Green Industry Intern Field Day, held on July 20, 2016, attracted over 135 people, of which 110 of them were interns.  Many arrived early to explore and visit the Impressionism exhibition in both the Haupt Conservatory and Library Gallery, and were fortunate to see the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) bud which had just been put on display in the Palm Dome’s pool.

The program began in the Ross Lecture Hall with Todd Forrest, the Arthur Ross VP for Horticulture & Living Collections, welcoming the guests and introducing Charles Yurgalevitch, Ph.D., Director of the School of Professional Horticulture, who opened the program and explained the afternoon’s events. He then introduced the four speakers in the program. The first to speak was Ken Druse, author and photographer. He called on a few interns to ask them what they were doing and what they hoped to do as they launch their horticulture careers, leading an interactive discussion with the room.

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Landscape Design Students Get to Work

Posted in Adult Education on June 29 2016, by Elizabeth Fisher

Landscape Design Certificate recipient Liz Poccia addresses her fellow graduates at the June 5 ceremony.
Landscape Design Certificate recipient Liz Poccia addresses her fellow graduates at the June 5 ceremony.

Landscape designers play a pivotal role as society deals with the fundamental question of how our public and private land is used. Their designs improve the outdoor environments surrounding us in rural areas, urban settings, and suburban yards. At the Garden, aspiring landscape designers receive the instruction—and inspiration—they need to create those gorgeous and sustainable green spaces.

This past month, in a Garden ceremony, 14 graduates received their Landscape Design Certificates. Elizabeth Poccia, the featured student speaker at the ceremony, credits NYBG with helping her find her passion.

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Three Questions with Three Summer Intensives Students

Posted in Adult Education on May 26 2016, by Jenifer Willis

Wendy Ford in the Landscape Design Summer Intensive in 2015

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.

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Seeing Nature

Posted in Adult Education on March 29 2016, by Jenifer Willis

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn

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.

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Ulf Nordfjell’s Garden Designs Shown at NYBG Winter Lecture Series

Posted in Adult Education, People on March 9 2016, by Joyce Newman

Ulf NordfjellIn his captivating slideshow for the Annual NYBG Winter Lecture Series, Chelsea Gold, Ulf Nordfjell’s gardens designed for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show look completely contemporary with impressively modern, clean lines and simple, architectural forms.

Nordfjell, who is a trained botanist, ceramicist, and landscape architect, is known for his use of natural Swedish granite, steel, and timber to build the structures in his gardens. But there’s another key element in his designs: old-fashioned romance.

The son of a forester and a gardening mother, Nordfjell was raised in northern Sweden and is now based in Stockholm. He has a deep commitment to ecology and the environment, often using native Swedish grasses and flowers in his designs.  No matter what country he is working in, one of Nordfjell’s guiding ecological principles is “the right plant for the right place.” His trend-setting gardens live up to this rule. But at the same time, he loves to choose plants that are surprisingly romantic.

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Flowers in the Gallery: A Melding of Art, Botany, and Politics

Posted in Adult Education on February 25 2016, by Jenifer Willis

Bird’s-eye view, Memorandum of Understanding between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of Australia Relating to the Settlement of Refugees in Cambodia. Ministry of Interior, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 26, 2014, Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015 © Taryn Simon. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Stuart Burford Photography
Agreement Establishing the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation. Al-Bayan Palace, Kuwait City, Kuwait, May 30, 2006, Press III, Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015. Pigmented concrete press, dried plant specimens, archival inkjet prints, text on herbarium paper, and steel brace, 114.1 x 55.9 x 76.2 cm © Taryn Simon. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Stuart Burford Photography

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. 

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Sketchbook

Posted in Adult Education on December 2 2015, by Jenifer Willis

Last October, a tempting proposal popped up in the NYBG Botanical Art Program Facebook group.

Trumpet Vine Seed Pod by Monica Ray
Trumpet Vine Seed Pod by Monica Ray

“Would anyone be interested in a ‘Sketchbook Exchange’? And, if so, how would we go about it?,” NYBG Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate alumna Monica Ray wrote.

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.”

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Karen Washington: A Champion of Urban Agriculture

Posted in Adult Education on October 29 2015, by Jenifer Willis

Bronx community activist Karen Washington remembers when there were so many vacant lots in the Bronx that the borough looked like “a war zone.”

Karen Washington
Karen Washington smiles in The Garden of Happiness in the Bronx.

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.

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