Plant Talk

Presently at NYBG: Branching Out

Posted in What's On at NYBG on June 22, 2023, by Marlon Co

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

This week on Presently, staff appreciation week at NYBG—or as we call it, Branch Out Week—had us as busy as the bees. Staff were invited to lead or participate in professional and personal development opportunities that had us buzzing around between Pfizer Lab and Herbarium tours, lectures and classes, workout and meditation sessions, and more. Busy as we were, the plants and landscape didn’t go untended—or unnoticed. Between events, I took any opportunity, as I always do, to appreciate the fruits of labor made possible only through the collective effort of NYBG staff.

Some highlights this week include the popping of poppies and the multifaceted forms of various hydrangeas in the Home Gardening Center. Did you know the “flowers” they produce are actually modified structures called bracts which surround the actual smaller flowers in the center? Speaking of flowers, the Rock Garden is awash with color currently, with blooms like pincushion flower everywhere you look. While there you may find other creatures enjoying the view, like the common chipmunk, but common shouldn’t always be synonymous with boring.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say, and with that in mind, have you ever considered how beautiful unmowed grass can be? In the Liasson Narcissus Collection and Daffodil Hill, one can see the seedheads of our lawns glistening in summer light and swaying with the breeze. Beautiful as they are, these moments also offer ecological benefit. Longer grass generally retains more moisture by keeping the ground cooler, therefore reducing water use, and letting it grow reduces energy consumption by minimizing use of gas or electric mowers. Best of all, allowing the grass to grow allows natural processes to unfold, promoting the attraction of wildlife—like birds, insects, and pollinators—by providing food and shelter.

I often look at NYBG as a sort of scale model for our larger world. Using our knowledge of nature, humans can take action (or in some cases inaction) to promote a more beautiful and healthy ecosystem for all inhabitants of the planet to enjoy.

Stay tuned next week as we continue our journey of discovery around the Garden grounds in Presently at NYBG.

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