It’s all about roses this week as we head toward our long-awaited Rose Garden Weekend at NYBG, June 9 & 10. The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is wearing all of its spring finery! Look for floribundas, hybrid teas, and more—all of them blooming in a confetti of pinks, reds, whites, and yellows. Elsewhere in the Garden, you’ll find the Forest greening out ahead of summer, an abundance of ferns and foliage in the Native Plant Garden, and of course the Hawaiian beauty of Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i—currently our Nolen Greenhouses are full to the brim with new plants ready to make their way into the exhibition in the Conservatory; look for them soon!
“You can turn your life around very quickly, which is exactly what I wanted to do.” Amy Roberts laughed as she described how NYBG’s Floral Design Summer Intensive reshaped her career in 2017. “I used to work in the art world, and I wasn’t happy. I had an epiphany that I wanted to be a floral designer, and I wanted to do that as quickly as possible. In April, I had never taken a floral course. By the end of the year, I was working as a full-fledged designer and wedding consultant for Starbright Floral Designs! Where else can you do that?”
Roberts is one of many students who changed their life’s course by taking one of NYBG’s Summer Intensives—in Floral Design, Landscape Design, Gardening, Horticultural Therapy, or Botanical Art & Illustration. Each Program gives students the opportunity to accelerate their progress toward an NYBG Certificate, a well-known and respected credential that helps students stand out as they embark on new careers.
The diverse rooms of the Perennial Garden are coming into fashion this week as salvias and nepetas open up to the warm weather, and more is on deck as we near the summer season. In the Native Plant Garden, keep an eye out for Sarracenia species, their flute-like pitchers turned up to the sky all around the water feature. Native rhododendrons and azaleas in this garden are also making themselves known, as are perennials like Zizia aurea. Late spring is a beautiful time to explore NYBG!
Perennial of the Week: Catmint (Nepeta)
These showy and aromatic plants steal the spotlight this week! You can find various species and cultivars throughout the Garden, but you won’t want to miss them in action on the Seasonal Walk. In addition to being easy-to-grow and versatile plants, Nepeta blooms heavily and attracts many bees and butterflies.
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is happy to introduce new nonfiction titles from Firefly Books that have been added to our children’s circulating collection. Firefly Books has been an expert in nonfiction books for adults and children since 1977. The titles below are fun, colorful, and engaging reads for all reading levels. New readers will feel comfortable easing into these nonfiction narratives and confident readers will enjoy learning about insects, birds, and jungles!
In A Wasp Builds a Nest by Kate Scarborough & Martin Camm, readers are invited to experience the construction of a wasp’s nest. Each shingled page reveals an inside look at the step-by-step progress of building the nest from start to finish—both the nest and the pages grow together. Readers will learn about wasp anatomy, reproduction, life cycle, and nest structure. From early spring to late summer, wasps keep busy building and foraging for food until it’s time to find a winter home; then the cycle repeats. This book is a great option for readers who are comfortable learning new vocabulary, as it provides so much information about wasps and their behavior.
Great Egret (Ardea alba) at Twin Lakes – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez
The Matelich Peonies are the collection to spot this week, with dozens of pink, red, purple, and white flowers unfurling their large petals just outside the front doors of the Conservatory. Before it becomes the Rose Garden’s time to shine, these are some of the most colorful blooms you’ll see at the Garden! Elsewhere, the Lilac Collection is still showing color and fragrance, while the Garden’s abundant greenery fills out in preparation for summer.
Glorious showy blooms are held above rich green foliage on these peonies. Amidst the Matelich Anniversary Peony Collection, you will find a wide range in form from single to fully double, with satiny petals in white, pink, coral, and red. They offer up scents of rose, lemon, honey, or musk that sing of Spring and even warmer days to come! You will find this collection along Perennial Garden Way, with more than 150 herbaceous peonies reaching their peak in mid-May.
Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.
This week’s book review is a #ThrowBackThursday to the popular classic The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden. Written in 2014 by Roy Diblik for Timber Press, the text is a favorite of gardeners who love perennials. Diblik, who worked closely with designer Piet Oudolf on the Lurie Garden in Chicago, has brought his wisdom and knowledge to the public with Know Maintenance. Each of the 62 plans in this work are based on a 10’x14′ grid that is modular in design, offering home gardeners many combinations and plants to suit their landscape and needs, regardless of whether their space is larger or smaller than the example grid. The plans are inspired by works of art as well as existing gardens (for example, Monet, Great Dixter, and Swarthmore College), and are divided into two sections for areas with sun and shade. In addition, plant profiles for 74 plants offer readers suggestions for different plants to use in existing gardens or as a part of new plantings.
Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) at Twin Lakes – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez
Bright whites and fiery fuchsias define the Garden’s spring blooms this week, with flowering dogwoods and azaleas decked out in their seasonal finest. Look for pastel blues, pinks, and purples, too, thanks to the fragrant lilacs and gentle bluestars to be found in our collections.
With the new Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i exhibition opening May 19, the LuEsther T. Mertz Library thought it would be fun to break out some of our existing titles and introduce some new titles that explore art, artists, and plants.
New to our collection is Meet Georgia. Author Marina Muun explores the life and works of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe in an activity book. The book invites readers to travel from New York to New Mexico with Georgia, all the while learning about the art that was inspired by the landscapes she visited. Readers are prompted to get creative with various activities. Fill out skyscrapers in the New York City skyline, illustrate the sound of music, and paint the colors of a New Mexico sunset.