This Thursday is the opening of Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden, NYBG‘s stunning tribute to Japan’s most celebrated fall flower, the chrysanthemum—or kiku. For many months, NYBG’s specially trained experts have been painstakingly cultivating hundreds of Japanese chrysanthemum flowers along frames in a variety of traditional and contemporary styles. Masters of the art of kiku can coax hundreds of blossoms from a single stem. The end result will debut in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory on October 2, when these flowers blossom simultaneously to create showstopping displays.
NYBG will offer a variety of programs throughout the run of this special exhibit, from weekends dedicated to bonsai and ikebana to a special Japanese Pop-Up Restaurant in the Garden Café. Below, enjoy a behind-the-scenes, time-lapse video showing the progress of one of our kiku displays: the monumental ozukuri.
While we gear up for the first weekend of Halloween fun at the Haunted Pumpkin Garden, remember that Kiku arrives at NYBG in just two weeks! Our popular celebration of the rich tradition of chrysanthemum cultivation in Japan returns on October 2 with new, breathtaking displays in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
To offer a bit of background about the exhibit, and to provide a sneak peek at our exciting upcoming programs, please enjoy this latest trailer for Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden.
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.
It’s a tiny industry of flitting and buzzing that calls the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden home late in summer, and you know we never miss out on a chance to celebrate something. Plus, pollinators are important! At some point, most of the fruits and vegetables that land on your plate benefit from the busy activities of these nectar-nursing bugs. That goes just as well for the edibles growing in the Family Garden.
Bring the kids along and join us through October 11 to learn about these important insects, such as the honeybees coming and going from our rooftop apiaries, and the monarch butterflies making pitstops in the Garden on their way to Mexico for the winter. Our experts—often the same people who don those odd bee suits to retrieve our homegrown honey—will show you the inner workings of a beehive and offer samples from different nectar sources. In the meadow, you’ll find monarchs fueling up on nectar before taking to the skies for their marathon flight. And even if bugs aren’t your bag, there’s always a hands-on activity to dive into.
In any case, maybe our Family Garden queen bee, Annie Novak, can give you a better idea of what the pollinators are up to these days.
The come-and-go summer heat may be a bummer for some of us here in the city, but not so in the Native Plant Garden‘s flourishing meadow, where spikes of purple blazing stars and sunflowers of all sorts bask day in, day out with the bees, dragonflies, and birds that come to visit. The effect is one of a brightly-colored painting with a lot of air traffic. But foot traffic is welcome, too! Now is the ideal time to see the Native Plant Garden’s swaying grasses and flowers in peak summer form.
Kevin Character recently stopped in to chat with Kristin Schleiter, our Assistant Vice President for Landscape Gardens and Living Collections, where she got us caught up on the two-year process behind the meadow’s planting—from its start as a meandering collection of scrappy sprouts to the elegant sea of green that it displays today.
While there’s certainly a wild quality to the Native Plant Garden, trust me when I say that everything planted there was carefully chosen to demonstrate local flora, native planting techniques, and a year-round beauty that shines through whether you’re here in July or November. Still, missing the meadow in such rare form would be a shame!
Let’s just say it’s not your everyday cubicle. The grids of Victorian glass and arching metal framework make for a view you’ll never find behind drawstring blinds. Come to think of it, desktop computers have a rough time with the falling mist in the rain forest houses, too. But as Manager of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Christian Primeau’s workspace is as much an office as yours or mine. Just bigger, brighter, and more…flush with growing life. For our part, we make do in the Library Building with a potted basil plant, and one or two ferns to hold down the window sill. But that’s not to say a novelty cactus is your last hope for office decor!
Instead, take a hint from the Tumblr crowd’s fascination with these living bubbles and get involved with terrariums; it’s like having a mini conservatory sitting on your desk, and you don’t even have to get a permit to run hose attachments into the building.
Even at nearly a ton, it doesn’t take a town to raise a giant pumpkin. But it might take a town to lift one! Fresh off his record-smashing win in Massachusetts, grower Ron Wallace was back in his home state of Rhode Island recently to have a go at one-upping the benchmark set by his own 2009-pound pumpkin in September. Hundreds turned out for a bucolic romp through Frerichs Farm in the town of Warren, hopping hay rides, bopping to live music, and showing off their mighty produce while pumpkin growers from around the northeast gathered to throw their weight around.
While the mood may have been light, the subject matter was anything but.
Ron’s second contender for the crown had estimates predicting a weigh-in somewhere around 2100 pounds, which explains the forklift needed to hustle this hefty squash around. But while hopes were holding high, the plump pumpkin fell just short of the record with a final weight of 1872 pounds; it may sound like a big difference, but at their peak these pumpkins put on 35 pounds a day. Still not at all shabby, considering it’s the second-heaviest pumpkin ever grown. Ron not only maintains his rank as the Pumpkin King (don’t tell Jack Skellington) with the 2009-pound beast under his belt, but he’ll also be making his way to The New York Botanical Garden this weekend to join us for our Haunted Pumpkin Garden carving event. That’s with his Ocean State heavyweight in tow, naturally.
What’s as big as a school bus, full of hammers, and can chew up a log the size of a Mini Cooper in just a few seconds? That would be The New York Botanical Garden‘s new Diamond Z tub grinder, the latest addition to our collection of groundskeeping machinery and easily the most impressive.
Tub grinders in this class are essentially glorified mulchers, using rapidly swinging “hammers” to break down organic material into an easy-to-manage pulp. Think of the trailer-sized woodchipper the average home landscaping company uses, then scale that up to industrial proportions, and you have the Diamond Z. It’ll handily take down a bundle of twigs and weeds, but its real talent is in gobbling up enormous segments of tree trunk–up to 30 tons of them per hour–and spitting out useable mulch or compost. After the past year’s fluke storms left us facing damaged trees across the Garden, this was exactly what we needed to tidy up our wood piles.
Nothing drives home the sheer enormity of our latest exhibition, Manolo Valdés:Monumental Sculpture, like seeing it built from the ground up. Over the course of two weeks, dozens of people and at least a few multi-ton machines were on the scene to put the final strokes on a work many, many months in the making. Naturally, we couldn’t pass up capturing some video.
From the first sketch put to paper in Valdés’ Manhattan studio, to the foundry in Madrid, and back across the 4,000 miles separating Spain and New York City, this production has proven nothing short of a massive undertaking. Carrying the collection of sculptures from the docks required a fleet of seven flatbed trucks. Once at the Garden, towering cranes were called in, gingerly rolling onto our lawns to settle each piece into its chosen site. And at 50 feet across and weighing nearly 20 tons, shipping any one of these sculptures as a single piece was out of the question; assembly called for even more precision cranework, with muscle on the ground to ensure everything was arranged to specification.