Did you know that NYBG grows and cares for over 1 million plants across its 250 acres?
A big part of the magic takes place in the Nolen Greenhouses, which encompass an acre under glass, with some outside space. It houses eight growing zones with control of heat, temperature, humidity, and lighting. You can take a peek in a behind-the-scenes video with Summer Rayne Oakes, producer of the “Plant One On Me” Youtube channel, and Kelly Ivanoski, Manager of the Nolen Greenhouses.
Kelly Ivanoski is like a “production manager” in a theater. Everything she does is in preparation for the big show. The plants may be the stars onstage, but the Nolen production crew provides the foundational support that is the most integral. Ivanoski plans, schedules, and oversees all of the Greenhouse plant production for exhibitions, seasonal displays, and collections. She works tirelessly to maintain the plants’ health before they move onto the big stage—in the Conservatory or across the grounds, to be enjoyed by an audience of Garden-goers.
Nolen horticulturists work diligently to regulate everything from the soil’s pH to the temperature and humidity for different collections within the Greenhouse—which are often connected to the biomes in the Conservatory. They also take special care to gather cuttings and seeds to make sure they can propagate the plants they’ll continue to grow.
Our tropical plants within our Conservatory are some of the most visually mesmerizing of all our collections. However, while they’re in the Greenhouse, they’re not just eye candy—they’re used for science research and education. For example, Ivanoski points out the Nesocodon mauritianus, the first plant ever discovered to produce red nectar. Even more fascinating—it’s pollinated by geckos! Other flora they grow across the various zones include members of Ericaceae (such as tropical blueberries), the argon oil plant, ferns and bromeliads, water lilies, succulents, and chrysanthemums for our popular and intensive Kiku exhibition.
Every year, Nolen horticulturists grow a different plant palette in preparation for the exhibitions ahead. This season, as NYBG gets ready for Wonderland: Curious Nature, the Nolen horticulturists are growing a wide range of species—flowers for a traditional Victorian double border, shrubs to create topiaries, plants that make up a naturalistic garden, and even flora as whimsical as Echium simplex and Echium fastuosum. The horticulturists work hand-in-hand with the designer, but because they know the climate and space the best, their insight is crucial to ensure exhibitions run smoothly and stay vibrant for their entire duration.
With exciting upcoming exhibitions, and a whole year ahead of us, you’re going to want to dive into how our collections come to life. Watch the video, then visit NYBG to see the impact of the Nolen Greenhouses across the grounds.
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive updates on new posts.