June is a colorful month among the flowers where the lushness of summer finally takes its place on grounds. Beyond the brilliant tropical greens of the newly opened Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx exhibition, there’s plenty to discover across our 50 collections as we near the warmest season of the year.
What’s Beautiful Now
It’s peony paradise at the Garden right now! We’re racing through peony season this year with the tree peonies done, the intersectional peonies halfway through their flowering, and the herbaceous peonies now at peak bloom. Here’s a little primer to help you understand the differences between these bombastic spring beauties.
Herbaceous peonies have stems that die back to the ground in the winter, and are the most common peonies found in home gardens. Intersectional peonies (also known as Itoh peonies) are a delightful hybrid cross between tree and herbaceous peonies that exhibit a wonderful blend of traits. These peonies produce tree peony flowers and leaves on plants that behave like herbaceous peonies, dying down to the ground in winter and reemerging each spring. You will also find more yellow hues in Itoh peonies than herbaceous. Finally, tree peonies have woody stems that remain year round, with deciduous leaves and a distinctive flower form.
Rose alert! These late spring beauties are the absolute stars of the show as we head into Rose Garden Weekend at NYBG. Join us as we jump into two days of floral beauty, live music, poetry, and more in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. And while you’re here, don’t miss the herbaceous peonies, now at peak color and flaunting their colorful flowers. This is what’s beautiful now.
Late spring brings a richness to the Garden grounds in anticipation of the arrival of summer, with a cascade of flowers among the herbaceous peonies opposite the Conservatory, and the marching blooms of the ornamental onions popping up all along the Daylily Walk. The Native Plant Garden, too, is a spectacle you shouldn’t miss—reds, yellows, and greens fill this verdant landscape and create a utopia for local wildlife.
The Azalea Garden is filled with spring color for our Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party! Here, see some of Senior Curator of Woody Plants and Landscape Project Manager Deanna Curtis’s favorite semi-evergreen varieties in bloom, along with other surprises you can find in this unmissable spring collection.
Whether it’s the eagerly anticipated waves of azalea blooms, the beauty and perfume of the lilacs, or the crowds of colorful warblers that migrate through the Garden, May is a particularly picturesque month at NYBG. And there’s plenty to do beyond admire the scenery. Lilac Weekend kicks off tomorrow with activities, live music, and the return of our Plein-Air Invitational, followed by the games, music, and food of our Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party. Soon after, Spring Uncorked brings the region’s best wineries back to the Garden for drinks and fun in our 250 acres. If you’ve been waiting to visit, consider this your signal!
Right now, cherries and crabapples paint the skies with pinks and purples while the daffodils of our One Million Daffodils initiative paint the ground in glorious swaths of yellows, creams, pinks, and oranges. Here you can see the unique color progression of Narcissus ‘Chromacolor’ as it matures from macaroni orange, to soft peach, to electric coral. Explore the slides to see more of our daffodil collection and the diverse expressions of beauty it offers, and don’t miss this outdoor spectacle as it reaches its peak this weekend on Daffodil Hill and in the Liasson Narcissus Collection!
Be here now! The beauty of spring is swinging for the fences throughout our 250 acres, and we’ve got five highlights in particular that you won’t want to miss in this season of rapid color and change.
Daffodil Hill is a must-see, as are the flowering trees—like cherries and magnolias. Our first spring in the new Edible Academy is a great opportunity for families to get their hands dirty in the vegetable gardens, and as you explore, don’t forget to keep an eye out for migratory birds in this time of renewal.
Todd Forrest is the Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at The New York Botanical Garden.
Seasoned tree lovers often experience a bit of anxiety during unseasonably warm winter weather. Extended thaws in January and February can cause the fuzzy gray buds of the magnolias to swell in anticipation of the bloom, elevating the risk of frost damage should cold spells show up later on. Nothing is so disheartening as magnolia flowers turned to ugly brown mush by a surprise spring freeze.
Sometimes things do work out, however. There were brief warm spells this winter, but there were also long periods of deep cold and the magnolia buds didn’t really get moving until March. The weather warmed gradually from March into April, and we are now entering the beginning of one of the most dazzling horticultural spectacles of the year.
After a sleepy winter season where the Rock Garden remains closed, we’ve finally reopened it for spring, and just in time for the tiny alpine treasures that call this collection home to wake for the warmth. Pick a sunny day to visit this treasured, secluded space at NYBG to discover brightly colored irises, crocuses, and cyclamen growing in and among the rocks that form its borders.