Plant Talk

Presently at NYBG: Always Learning Something New

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on July 28, 2023, by Marlon Co

Marlon Co is the Photographer & Digital Media Manager of The New York Botanical Garden.

As a place of education and learning, we at NYBG pride ourselves on helping children develop a love of nature—but adults often need a little help reconnecting to our natural world, too. Thankfully, the Garden offers abundant learning opportunities to to inspire a love of our planet and its biodiversity.

Peak summertime is busy here, and I spent the better part of the week roaming between various classes. One day I observed students learning about soil science, analyzing the different soil compositions of their respective locales. That same morning, a group of teachers learned about plant parts by dissecting and categorizing grocery store fruits and vegetables, a lesson they could impart in their own classrooms. Another day, students in this year’s summer Landscape Design Intensive took a tour of the Native Plant Garden, gaining understanding of its design and planting principles. Along the way to another class, I stumbled upon Dave, a School of Professional Horticulture student, as he fertilized groups of water lily and lotus, part of his two-year commitment to becoming a professional plant person—and absolutely necessary for the flowers’ bloom since they do not get the nutrients they normally would from decaying organic matter.

Learning at NYBG is an immersive experience. Lessons gleaned in class can be directly observed in our landscape and beyond. It all starts with the desire to learn, but also a sense of curiosity and wonder. That’s perhaps one reason I love attending a Therapeutic Horticulture class. This field addresses this first natural step by teaching us to be closer to our experiences with plants and nature, and observing how those moments may heal or change us. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from observing NYBG over the years, it’s that we can all make space in our lives for more nature.

Check back next week for more glimpses into our world on Presently, a weekly highlight of our favorite moments here at NYBG.

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