Kristin Schleiter is the NYBG’s Associate Vice President of Outdoor Gardens and Senior Curator. She oversees the wonderful gardening team that keeps our flowering gardens looking topnotch, curates the herbaceous gardens and collections, and manages the curator of woody plants. She lives and gardens in Fairfield, CT.
Every February, I can be found on my knees in the Garden poking and prodding and looking for signs that my beloved snowdrops are coming up to signal the beginning of spring. Pushing aside the snow, I see small green noses forcing their way up for a whiff of warm air. Even a single sunny day can bring forth elegant white blossoms which have a lovely honey scent. The spring’s earliest snowdrops, Galanthus elwesii, are blooming now in the Perennial and Azalea Gardens. Their glaucous blue foliage and large flowers create a much nicer drift of white.
Another day, another blizzard. All this snowfall has been inconvenient for a lot of people, and it’s easy to forget winter’s beautiful side. The Garden is certainly dazzling today, so why not enjoy a brief tour by Kristin Schleiter, Associate Vice President for Outdoor Spaces and Senior Curator, of what makes winter at the Garden so special?
Even while the flowers are slumbering, waiting for spring, Kristin reminds us that there is much to admire, especially in the Native Plant Garden. After all, native plants are used to this climate, and winter reveals just another aspect of their beauty. Kristin points out the intricate structures of mountain mint as just one of the lovely details visitors can observe this time of year.
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!
Beauty pageants sweep the spectrum from bad reality TV to the Westminster Dog Show. But here, as you might have guessed, swimsuit competitions and obstacle courses aren’t all that high on our totem of concerns. Instead, our brand of popularity contest skips the stage glitz and gets right down to the core themes of plant competition: hardiness, longevity, and the aesthetic of the perfect flower. Over the course of next year’s American Garden Award selections, we’ll be pinning down the plants that best display those traits. Better yet, we’ll be doing it with everyone’s help!
Each year, the AGA organizers reveal an exclusive selection of top-rate flower cultivars, all in the running to become the next “Best in Show.” But as judgment by jury goes, we’re not talking about ivory tower botanists and professional rosarians behind a gavel. Nope, this is strictly a public affair–you, me, and anyone willing to chip in their two cents can vote. And with trial beds spread throughout nearly 30 botanical institutions across the United States, including the NYBG, that gives almost everyone a chance to pitch in and choose the next Miss America of the plant world.
Meteorology is something of an inexact science. Some days, forecasting the weather seems a little closer in discipline to fortune telling. And after all of the comforting reassurance (we were so set on it!) that the cold was behind us and nothing but picturesque spring days lay ahead, the hard freeze set to plow through New York tonight has shoulders slumping in gardens across the region. But, while it’s tempting, skip leading a pitchfork mob to your weatherman’s house. Shooting the messenger never solved any problems, especially when nature is such a fickle character.
The inbound chill may be grim news for many of the early blooms that sprung out of dormancy at the first sign of warm weather. But which petals will pull through, and which are facing the axe? We asked Kristin Schleiter, our acting Director of Outdoor Gardens, to chime in with her take on the situation. Depending on what you’re keeping in your home garden, you may be in the clear.
Welcome to our new video series: Plant Talk with Kristin. Who’s Kristin? Kristin Schleiter is the Garden’s Curator of Outdoor Gardens and Herbaceous Collections. What does that mean? It means that Kristin knows plants: The best plants for shade, the best plants for color, the best plants for four-season interest. In this new series, Kristin will be sharing all that knowledge with you, so that you can make your garden a more beautiful, sustainable, and easy-to-care for place!
Kristin’s first show is all about shade plants. So take a look, and let us know what you think! We’d love to know which topics you would like to see Kristin tackle in the future. Leave a comment with your thoughts below.