The summer season is at its height here at NYBG, with plenty of seasonal beauty appearing each week. In this latest video, our own Brian Sullivan, Vice President for Gardens, Landscape and Outdoor Collections, highlights some of the gorgeous flowers of summer that visitors can admire in the Native Plant Garden and the Perennial Garden.
Escape the heat with a pleasant walk beneath the shaded canopy of the Thain Family Forest, admire the dramatic waterlilies and lotus blossoms adorning the Conservatory Pools, and be sure to plan your visit on a day with activities and tours for the whole family!
Visitors to the Garden will notice a number of small installations throughout the grounds as part of our new Curator’s Spotlight series. Behind the many gardens and collections that make up NYBG’s 250 acres is a legion of dedicated horticulturists and passionate curators, and for this new series we invited them to choose their own subject to focus on from the plant kingdom.
There is so much to see in the vast diversity of the Garden. Who better to guide our visitors and direct their attention to some of the individual beauty on display than the people who cultivate it? See the Garden through the eyes of its experts in this new video for Curator’s Spotlight, in which Kevin Character overviews some of the fun new installations our curators have dreamed up. Hear from our own Christian Primeau, Manager of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, on why he chose to highlight the whimsical colocasia, also known as elephant’s ear.
More videos are coming soon! In the meantime, keep an eye out for Curator’s Spotlight installations on your next visit. See the full lineup here.
This month has so far been pleasantly mild, but there is no denying that it can be difficult to step away from the air-conditioning at this time of year. Fear not, for the Garden is the perfect place to enjoy summer without enduring the oppressive heat! Don’t spend the summer cooped up indoors when long, sunny days and brilliant nature are waiting for you just outside.
Without the warming effects of asphalt and concrete, and with plenty of tall, shady trees across the grounds, you will find that much of the Garden is as pleasant as can be, even in the eight of summer. Join Kristin Schleiter, Associate Vice President for Outdoor gardens and Senior Curator at The New York Botanical Garden, on a tour of NYBG’s shaded areas that are perfect for a midday stroll.
The Thain Family Forest is especially temperate during the hotter months, thanks to the natural protection of its dense canopy. Trees want that sunlight more than you do, and they will gladly provide some cover. Of course, visitors to the Garden should still take care to wear comfortable footwear, dress appropriately for the weather, and—most importantly—stay hydrated.
“Medicinal plants are a source for a lot of today’s pharmaceutical medicines,” said Vandebroek. “In a lot of places around the world people use plants as their only and first form of health care, so basically what ethnobotanists do is we go out to these remote places and we study how people use plants.”
Despite the fact humans have been using plants since the dawn of time, when thinking of ethnobotany many find it hard to get past the ideas of beat-influence Richard Schultes and Sean Connory’s rugged grey ponytail in the film Medicine Man. “It’s so much more than hallucinogenics and finding the next cure for cancer,” Ina said, laughing. “Its about helping communities that are really in need. We try to promote it as a science that can help local communities in conservation of their bio-cultural diversity.”
Ina’s current focus is on the flora of the Dominican Republic. She works not only in the Caribbean, but here in New York City with Dominican immigrants, frequenting many Botanicas.”We try to give those results back to them in the form of guides books as well as workshops within the community. We can also have programs together with universities to isolate bioactive compounds and those could lead to new medicines for humankind.”
Here’s a quick video about Ina’s thoughts on ethnobotany and a few of her favorite Caribbean plants on display now in the Conservatory.
You can find out a little more about her work here.
Nick Leshi is Associate Director of Public Relations and Electronic Media.
Imagine my surprise this summer when I received a handwritten postcard from Academy Award-winning actress Joan Fontaine.
The story began in June when I received a phone call from a visitor to The New York Botanical Garden who was delighted to discover in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden a white modern rose named after a friend. That friend happened to be Joan Fontaine, best known for her roles in the Alfred Hitchcock thrillers Rebecca (1940) and Suspicion (1941), for which she won an Oscar. Ms. Fontaine also appeared in many other film classics from Hollywood’s golden age, including Gunga Din (1939), The Women (1939), Jane Eyre (1944), and Ivanhoe (1952).
I sent an image of the Joan Fontaine rose to the caller and was delighted to learn that she forwarded the photo to the legendary actress. Needless to say, Ms. Fontaine’s resulting note of appreciation made my day.
The episode inspired me to think of other roses named after celebrities. To paraphrase Peter Kukielski, Curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, walking through the Beatrix Farrand-designed beds is like stumbling upon a tea party of the famous. The soft apricot flowers of the ‘Marilyn Monroe‘ rose are near the deep pink blooms of another hybrid tea named after Elizabeth Taylor. Also nearby is the ‘Julia Child’ floribunda, the 2006 All-America Rose Selections winner, with its buttergold petals and licorice candy fragrance. Watching over them all with its double pink flowers is the hardy grandiflora ‘Queen Elizabeth.’
Other roses are named after artists such as ‘Rembrandt‘ Portland or the floribunda ‘Henri Matisse‘ or the standard rose ‘Auguste Renoir‘ or the ‘Audubon‘ shrub. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has at least two roses with his moniker, the Hybrid Musk ‘Mozart‘ and the climber ‘Amadeus.’ Famed scientists also have their rose doppelgangers, including Charles Darwin and Madame Marie Curie. And still other roses honor Amelia Earhart, George Burns, and Johann Strauss. Famous names pop out from the world of fiction as well, such as ‘Othello,’ ‘Falstaff,’ and ‘Betty Boop.’
The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is a delightful destination full of surprises, with wonderful color and fragrance right up until the first frost of the season.