Wander through the Garden in December and you’ll see color, but not so much from flowers or changing leaves. Instead, it’s the winter fruits that are truly shining right now. From traditional holly berries to crabapple fruits and more, look for these bright additions to the landscape as you explore.
Around the Garden
Fall color segues into pre-winter beauty this week as we work our way toward December. Make a point to find your way to the Ross Conifer Arboretum and Benenson Ornamental Conifers, quiet collections in the Garden where the green of the cool-weather months is best appreciated. And if you keep your eyes out, you can find the purples, reds, and oranges of winter berries like confetti among the bushes, often drawing a variety of overwintering birds.
The Steinhardt Maple Collection is in prime form this week as fall’s peak of reds, oranges, and yellows winds down toward its wintry wardrobe. The many Japanese varieties in the collection stand on a hill near the Rose Garden, and their elegant leaves and winding branches can’t be missed. Catch the autumnal beauty in the Garden while you can!
Step into the Garden and look up, and you’ll see some of the most stunning fall foliage in the northeast—right here in the Bronx.
Fall change is sweeping across the Garden just as we move on past Halloween and into November, a month traditionally filled with color across our 250 acres. Get a glimpse into this burst of wild beauty below, and see what you’ve been missing in NYC’s northernmost borough, including katsuras, fern-leaf maples, and more.
Here comes the color. Look to the trees for what’s beautiful now at NYBG—the leaves of the Forest and elsewhere in the Garden are making their move for fall at long last. In the Native Plant Garden, the Home Gardening Center, and Seasonal Walk, you’ll see the tried and true colors of the season coming through in flowers and foliage this week.
Dahlias continue to shine in the Home Gardening Center, Perennial Garden, and elsewhere in our collections, showing off their sunny faces as the weather cools. The autumn color palette is vivid and dynamic, shifting week to week as we move deeper into the season!
The changing leaves may only just be starting, but the fall encore of color in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is already well on its way. We expect to see a bit of a fireworks show from the collection this weekend in particular, and with the Spooky Pumpkin Garden, our Honey & Harvest Weekend, and Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i taking place at the same time, it’ll be the perfect time to stop into NYBG.
Katherine Wagner-Reiss has her certificate in botany from NYBG and has been a tour guide there for three years.
Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i features a painting titled Papaya Tree, ‘IAO Valley, Maui. Historically, this is a particularly interesting painting because O’Keeffe submitted it to The Hawaiian Pineapple Company (later Dole) for use in their advertisements, but it was rejected because a major competitor of theirs sold papayas! It is the only painting of a tree form in the exhibition, but botanically speaking, papayas are not trees because they lack a woody trunk; they are large herbaceous perennials. Nearly all of the plant species in O’Keeffe’s Hawaiian paintings can be found growing in the Haupt Conservatory. You will find the live papaya by the hale, a typical Hawaiian structure used for social gatherings.
Another interesting aspect of the Conservatory display is that the plants are divided into those native to Hawai‘i, those brought to Hawai‘i by the Polynesians about 1500 years ago (known as canoe plants), and those introduced after Captain Cook’s landing in 1778 (post-contact plants). Carica papaya is a post-contact plant, native to Central and South America, and introduced to Hawai‘i soon after Captain Cook’s landing, as a dioecious plant with male and female specimens. In 1911 a gynodioecious solo papaya, better for commercial use, was introduced from the Caribbean. Papayas are now naturalized in Hawai‘i.
O’Keeffe initially labeled this painting as a papaw. Of course, common names can be confusing because, while some people call papaya “pawpaw,” most people are thinking of the fruit of Asimina triloba—a large shrub also known as the pawpaw.
Carica is derived from the Greek for a kind of fig, because of the fig-like leaves. The specific epithet “papaya” was possibly derived from the Caribbean word for this fruit. The family is Caricaceae.
If you want to see a papaya after the Georgia O’Keeffe show departs on October 28, Carica papaya ‘Thai Red’ can be found growing in the lowland rain forest house of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds in the Perennial Garden, dahlias in the Home Gardening Center, and Sarracenia in the Native Plant Garden. Fall is here and beaming.