Plant Talk | Science Talk

New Children’s Books Inspire in the Library

Posted in From the Library on January 17th, 2017 by Samantha D’Acunto – Be the first to comment

Samantha D’Acunto is the Reference Librarian at The New York Botanical Garden‘s LuEsther T. Mertz Library.


The member’s juvenile circulating collection at the LuEsther T. Mertz Library aims to provide our youngest visitors with a well-rounded understanding of the natural world. We attempt to offer a variety of subjects, genres, languages and reading levels. To offer a glimpse of what we hold in the member’s juvenile collection here are two reviews of our newest additions!

Amazing Plant Powers: How plants fly, fight, hide, hunt and change the world by Loreen Leedy and Andrew Schuerger

Amazing Plant PowersSpike E. Prickles, a charismatic cactus who hosts the narrative to Amazing Plant Powers: How Plants Fly, Fight, Hide, Hunt and Change the World by Loreen Leedy and Andrew Schuerger, makes learning about plants fun! He is joined by a live and interactive audience; three small plants who provide perfectly placed commentary throughout the book. Readers are guided by Spike E. Prickles and his friends as they learn about plant structures, different environments, soil conditions, harmful pests and everyday plant usage by humans.
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The Gardens of Luciano Giubbilei

Posted in From the Library, Shop/Book Reviews on January 9th, 2017 by Esther Jackson – Be the first to comment

The Gardens of Luciano Giubbilei by Andrew WilsonLuciano Giubbilei visited NYBG last year as one of the speakers in the 16th Annual Winter Lecture Series. Born in Siena, Italy, Giubbilei emigrated to London, England in 1994 to study at the Inchbald School of Design. In 1997 he established his own garden design practice, and over the past twenty years Giubbilei has been involved in a myriad of garden design projects and collaborations.

Giubbilei’s biography is a laundry list of laudable experiences, including three gold medals won at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2009, 2011, and 2014. In 2015 Andrew Wilson authored The Gardens of Luciano Giubbilei, a “testament to a life’s work in progress.” In 2016, Giubbilei followed up with his own book, The Art of Making Gardens.

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Winter Wreaths: Inspiration from NYBG Experts

Posted in Adult Education on January 6th, 2017 by Joyce Newman – Be the first to comment

Joyce H. Newman is an environmental journalist and teacher. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden.


Thompson Crescent Wreath Sapphire JuniperIf you’ve ever tried to create floral designs on your own, you’ll appreciate the work of Emily Thompson and Madeline Yanni—two amazing floral designers who have taught classes at NYBG and have their own floral design businesses in the New York metro area. Each designer has some great advice for making your own winter wreaths.

Emily Thompson’s Wild Style

Having studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and earned an MFA in sculpture at UCLA, Emily Thompson eventually moved to New York and first set up shop in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn, later moving to her current studio in the South Street Seaport district.

In the past, Thompson shared some of her inspired creative talents at NYBG’s midtown location, encouraging students to delve into the design elements that embody the forest, bog, and jungle. Thompson’s work is best known for its sculptural and naturalistic elements and is inspired by her native Vermont.
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The Edible World, Graphically Demonstrated

Posted in From the Library on December 22nd, 2016 by Esther Jackson – Be the first to comment

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.


Food AnatomyFood Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Our Edible World is a delight for those who love food, history, or illustrated dictionaries. If you love all three, you will be in for a treat indeed!

Over the past couple of months, I have developed an interest in graphic novels related to food. When I saw that Julia Rothman, author of Farm Anatomy and Nature Anatomy had written a book about food (with help from food writer Rachel Wharton), I was extremely excited.

Food Anatomy is charming and eclectic. Readers can move through the book from cover to cover, or open at random to a section. Chapter titles include “Food for Thought,” “Eat Your Fruits and Veggies,” “A Grain of Truth,” “The Meat of the Matter,” “Dairy Queens,” “Street Food,” “Season to Taste,” “Drink Up,” and “Sweet Tooth.” The book contains historical facts about different food, simple instructions about how different well-known staples are prepared, and explains food-related terminology. There is information about food preparation and utensils in various cultures, and the “staples” that are explained range from pasta to sushi to pancakes. While this isn’t really a cookbook, there are some recipes included.
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Practical Magic with Plants

Posted in From the Library on December 19th, 2016 by Esther Jackson – Be the first to comment

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.


Plant CraftPlant Craft: 30 Projects That Add Natural Style to Your Home is perfect for the indoor gardener looking for new and creative interior decorating projects using plants. While many of the projects are rather ambitious, author Caitlin Atkinson presents each of the 30 tasks very clearly and carefully. Each project includes a materials list, a tools list, and detailed instructions accompanied by photographs for each important step.

Projects range in complexity from creating clay plants for a cactus garden to constructing a planter inside of a wooden bench. There is also a brief section at the start of the book related to houseplant care as well as a plant list of the species and genera of plants used in the book. Experienced home crafters will draw inspiration from the creative projects Atkinson shares, while novice home-decorators can find success with smaller, less ambitious exercises.
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Getting Close to Nature at Greenwood Gardens

Posted in History, Shop/Book Reviews on December 15th, 2016 by Joyce Newman – Be the first to comment

Joyce H. Newman is an environmental journalist and teacher. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden.


WoodmanBronzeBenchcreditGreenwoodWebsiteGreenwood Gardens in Short Hills, New Jersey, offers a refreshing escape from city life to a wonderful country estate. Located less than an hour from New York City, the gardens sit on 28 acres and have been open to the public only in the last four years. They continue to be restored and developed by a small but dedicated staff and many volunteers, all led by generations of the Blanchard family who purchased the property as their country home in 1949.

Upon arrival, a striking allée of tall Norway spruce and London plane trees flank either side of the entrance road up the hill to the main house and gardens. These artistically planted trees were selected by Peter P. Blanchard Jr. and his wife Adelaide Frick Blanchard in the early 1950s, and they were very carefully nurtured by their young son Peter P. Blanchard III.

WE.WERE.Island-Book-CoverToday he is the founder of Greenwood as a public garden, and serves as the President of the Board of Trustees. Blanchard is an ardent naturalist and author of  We Were an Island: The Maine Life of Art and Nan Kellam (UPNE, $29.95), available in the NYBG Shop. He recently wrote a book that offers his personal insights from growing up at Greenwood, called Greenwood: A Garden Path to Nature and the Past ($20, available online). On an early November visit to the garden, I was lucky to meet him and to get a guided tour.

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Weekly Wildlife in the Garden: Late for Thanksgiving

Posted in Wildlife on December 14th, 2016 by Patricia Gonzalez – Be the first to comment

Patricia Gonzalez is an NYBG Visitor Services Attendant and avid wildlife photographer.


Some of my best wildlife sightings at the Garden this year have been right before I check in for work. Earlier this week, I saw a wild turkey just outside our offices at the Visitor Center. She was standing on one of the planters, looking right at me!

Wild turkeys are a common sight at the Garden and other green spots during the winter. The framing could not have been better! She soon jumped down and walked on the lawn—one more for the books.

Wild turkey

A wild turkey at the Visitor Center – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez

A Wild Feast: Books for the Beginning Forager

Posted in From the Library on December 12th, 2016 by Esther Jackson – Be the first to comment

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.


Northeast ForagingForaging wild edibles is a lifestyle trend that can’t be ignored. If you’re looking for some guidance about foraging plants, the books below may be just the introduction you are looking for.

When learning a new plant in the field, one of the first questions I usually ask is, “Is this edible?” When my botanist companion happens to be there, his answer is typically, “You can eat it,” sometimes followed by a statement about the plant in question not being very tasty, and perhaps that it contains known carcinogens. As a result, I don’t tend to do a lot of foraging. While the practice intrigues me, it also brings to mind a slew of questions. What part of a plant can I eat? What about look-alike plants that are poisonous? How much can I (or should I) gather from a native plant population? Should I forage native plants at all?
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Take a Dry Run at Drought Gardening

Posted in From the Library, Shop/Book Reviews on December 6th, 2016 by Esther Jackson – Be the first to comment

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.


The Water-Saving Garden by Pam Penick (with Ten Speed Press)

Gardening with less water and drought-resistant plants is currently a relatively hot (but not dry) topic in the world of horticulture. Two new books, The Bold Dry Garden by Johanna Silver (with Timber Press) and The Water-Saving Garden by Pam Penick (with Ten Speed Press) address this topic in very different ways.

The Water-Saving Garden is an all-around excellent book for those who already have existing gardens or who are in the process of designing and/or installing new gardens and are looking for water-saving landscape design ideas. Not so much a how-to guide as it is inspirational, this book offers practical advice and projects for garden designers and home-owners alike. The projects suggested are very modular, and even those who don’t have a lot of space to work with or redesign may find inspiration.  The truly inspired will find enough projects to redesign an entire yard or property.

In many cases, especially when hardscaping is concerned, supplemental reading would be needed to complete the suggested projects. Ultimately, Water-Saving is a very nice introduction to some possible water-saving projects for the gardener.

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Puerto Rican Heritage Month Celebration at The New York Botanical Garden

Posted in Around the Garden, Learning Experiences on December 5th, 2016 by Elizabeth Figueroa – 3 Comments

On Tuesday, November 22, NYBG held its annual Puerto Rican Heritage Month event celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of Puerto Ricans. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 400 pre-registered school groups and visitors attended workshops and presentations throughout the Watson Education Building, Ross Hall, and Ross Gallery.An array of facilitators led workshops commemorating Puerto Rican Heritage Month:

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