Inside The New York Botanical Garden


Weird, Wild, & Wonderful Exhibition Extended to October 26!

Posted in Exhibitions on October 2 2014, by Joyce Newman

Capparidastrum sola © Ann S. Hoffenberg
“While wandering around the lowland Peruvian Amazon rainforest, I came across this unique and intriguing seedpod dangling from a long stem.”
Capparidastrum sola © Ann S. Hoffenberg

Weird, Wild, and Wonderful, the stunning botanical art exhibit in the Ross Gallery, has been extended through October 26. This exhibition invites artists from around the world to seek out visually unusual plants and create works of art that celebrate the bizarre—yet beautiful—flora of the world. From 240 submissions, members of the American Society of Botanical Artists selected 46 works created by 45 artists from the U.S., Australia, Canada, India, Japan, and the U.K.

According to NYBG instructor and botanical artist Dick Rauh, the show’s emphasis is definitely on the “weird.” He writes, “There are certain botanical categories that provide us with almost limitless examples of strange-looking plants.” He mentions “the parasites,” such as the white stalks of Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) and the “evil-looking” Hydnora africana, also known as Jackal Food.

Other weird plants that Rauh notes include insectivorous plants, fungi, ferns, and those plants whose size would qualify as unusual, such as “the two-foot-wide inflorescence of the onion Allium giganteum, the huge bloom of Stapelia giganea, or living stones (Lithops spp.)—a rare example of floral camouflage. Many of these plants are featured in a gorgeous 76-page catalog of the artwork in the show, available in the Shop in the Garden.

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This Thursday: Kiku Takes Over the Conservatory

Posted in Exhibitions, Exhibitions, Kiku, Video on September 30 2014, by Lansing Moore

KikuThis 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.

First Look at Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden

Posted in Exhibitions, Video on September 18 2014, by Lansing Moore

kiku nybgWhile 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.

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Zoom in on the Garden with Curator’s Spotlight

Posted in Exhibitions, Gardens and Collections, Video on August 13 2014, by Lansing Moore

Colocasia elephant ears curator's spotlightVisitors 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.

Where to Beat the Heat at NYBG

Posted in Gardens and Collections, Video on August 11 2014, by Lansing Moore

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.

In the Family Garden: Palling Around with Pollinators

Posted in Video on August 28 2013, by Matt Newman

Pollinator PalsIt’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.

In the Meadow

Posted in Video on July 31 2013, by Matt Newman

NPG MeadowThe 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!

Christian Primeau Talks Terrariums

Posted in Gardening Tips, How-to, Video on December 17 2012, by Matt Newman

Twig TerrariumsLet’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.

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Big, Bigger, and Biggest take Rhode Island

Posted in Color Report, Video on October 17 2012, by Matt Newman

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.

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Mulch Monster: A Diamond Z at the NYBG

Posted in Around the Garden, Video on October 3 2012, by Matt Newman

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.

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