Plant Talk | Science Talk

Wildlife at the Garden: You Rang?

Posted in Wildlife on April 26th, 2017 by Patricia Gonzalez – Be the first to comment

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


Photo of a chipmunk

A chipmunk (Tamias striatus) by Twin Lakes – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez

What’s Beautiful Now: From Tulips to Lilacs

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on April 24th, 2017 by Matt Newman – Be the first to comment

Magnolia stellata _Waterlily_ 10-smallClassic fragrance and color define the Garden this week with the addition of the Azalea Garden, Magnolia Collection, and Burn Family Lilacs to our growing list of spring beauty. With the daffodils at peak bloom, now is the time to see them, and this weekend’s Daffodil Celebration & Wine Weekend should give you even more reason to be here!

Head below to see just a few of the many flowers coming into vogue this week across NYC’s most stunning 250 acres. With spring marching on, we’re seeing new and exciting growth each and every week!

Perennial of the Week: Arisaema ringens, cobra-lily

Perennial of the Week: <em>Arisaema ringens</em>, cobra-lily
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Arisaema ringens is a spectacular, Japan-native perennial commonly known as cobra-lily. Emerging from the spring soil as a seemingly sinister spear, this beauty opens to reveal two trifoliate leaves and a single cobra-like flower. Despite having a hooded, green and purple spathe, flies (the primary pollinator) still manage to find the inner yellowish white spadix. A. ringens goes dormant in the summer after flowering.

Spotlights from the Shelf: Arbor Day

Posted in From the Library on April 24th, 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.


Photo of Arbor Day SquareThis Arbor Day the LuEsther T. Mertz Library is hoping you find friends, family, and neighbors to plant with! Today we are featuring some titles from our Children’s Collection that will help the youngest of readers understand the importance of trees and the celebration of Arbor Day. To learn more about Arbor Day celebrations near you, check out Arborday.org.

Arbor Day Square by Kathryn O. Galbraith (2010)

The townsfolk of this newly erected prairie town try to establish community, friendship, and home. Their plan for the town square is only missing one thing: trees! This story follows Katie and her father as they work together with friends and neighbors to plant trees throughout the town. After a successful Arbor Day, the townsfolk pledge to return each year to plant more trees. As the trees grow, so do the families. Katie celebrates Arbor Day each year with her father, her daughter, her husband, and the town. As more trees are planted and the others grow, the town has plenty of branches to climb, fruit to eat, and shade to find. Cyd Moore’s illustrations allow readers to experience the town coming to life as they turn each page. Arbor Day Square is a wonderful way to connect with family and friends before planting your own special tree.
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Handbooks for the Practical Urban Gardener

Posted in From the Library on April 21st, 2017 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.


Cover of the Urban Farm HandbookThe Urban Farm Handbook: City-Slicker Resources for Growing, Raising, Sourcing, Trading, and Preparing What You Eat is a 2011 book by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols for Skipstone. The word “handbook” is frequently applied to a variety of books, some useful and some less useful. “Handbook,” in the case of Urban Farm Handbook, is appropriately used, as Cottrell and McNicols provide readers with hundreds of tips and resources for every aspiring and current urban homesteader.

Handbook is divided into four seasons. Each season includes suggested seasonal chores related to food, both plant and animal. Do you want to keep chickens for eggs? Plant a vegetable garden? Learn home food preservation? Raise and slaughter rabbits for meat? All this and more is discussed in the Handbook. Readers can jump into a chapter to learn about a single topic, or read the book from cover to cover and get the tools for undergoing a radical lifestyle change.
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Project WASTE: Middle School Students Clean Up the Bronx River

Posted in Around the Garden on April 19th, 2017 by Tai Montanarella – Be the first to comment

Tai Montanarella is the Marian S. Heiskell Associate Director of School and Out-of-School Programs at The New York Botanical Garden.


Photo of students taking part in Project WasteAlongside a naturalistic waterfall in the Thain Family Forest tourists were snapping family photographs, capturing scenes of the rushing Bronx River, its rocky gorge, and the leafing and flowering spring trees behind them. Yet only 20 feet away lay a tarp with hundreds of pieces of litter, from styrofoam bearing popular fast food logos to glass beer bottles. It was this scene which captivated the students of St. Brendan School in the Bronx.

“In order to find out how garbage gets into the Bronx River, we have to think about the ways water gets into the river,” said forest gardener Erica Deluca. Students had some ideas to share. Thanks to the generosity of Con Edisom STEM Days Out, they have been stewards of the Bronx River for the past two years, observing seasonal changes and thinking about how water quality changes over time by collecting and analyzing macroinvertebrate leaf pack data, and by keeping abreast of current events about human activities and the river.
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Wildlife at the Garden: A Slew of Sliders

Posted in Wildlife on April 19th, 2017 by Patricia Gonzalez – 1 Comment

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


Red-eared Sliders

Red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) on Twin Lakes – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez

What’s Beautiful Now: Daffodils & Cherries Galore

Posted in Around the Garden on April 18th, 2017 by Matt Newman – Be the first to comment

Photo of Prunus KanzanSpring’s beauty is settling into its groove this week, with strong showings from both our cherry trees and our daffodils. They should reach peak color soon, meaning this week and into the weekend will offer a great opportunity to see these collections in rare form!

Elsewhere in the garden, such as the Rock Garden and Home Gardening Center, early tulips are beginning to make an appearance, while the magnolia collection is now blooming and fragrant.

See what’s happening below!

Daffodil Hill & Liasson Valley

Daffodil Hill & Liasson Valley
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The show is on with hundreds of thousands of daffodils blooming across these two collections and throughout the Garden. Expect peak color this week!

What’s in a Plant Name? Narcissus, Daffodils, and Jonquils

Posted in Around the Garden on April 18th, 2017 by Katherine Wagner-Reiss – 2 Comments

Katherine Wagner-Reiss has her certificate in botany from NYBG and has been a tour guide at the Garden for two years.


Flowering daffodils (narcissus) at NYBGDaffodils, narcissus, and jonquils can get jumbled in the mind, but they are easily sorted out.

Daffodil is the common name for spring-flowering bulbs in the genus Narcissus, of which there are over 50 species. One species, Narcissus jonquilla has its own common name, jonquil. When in doubt, you can never go wrong by calling any of these flowers “narcissus,” since they are all in that genus.

The name daffodil is an alteration of the name for another striking flower, the asphodel. No one knows how the initial “D” came to be added to daffodil. So lovely is the asphodel that it was said to grow in the Elysian Fields: blessed fields of the afterlife in ancient Greek literature. Asphodelus alba is planted in the NYBG Perennial Garden; I will certainly be looking for its bloom this summer!

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Spotlights from the Shelf: Earth Day

Posted in From the Library on April 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.


Photo of the book 'Anywhere Farm'This year Earth Day falls on Friday, which means there is a whole weekend of Earth Day festivities around New York City and here at NYBG! The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is inviting you to check out some of our favorite books that will be perfect reads to tie into your Earth Day plans. Young and advanced readers alike will get into the spirit of the holiday with these titles from our Children’s Collection. We hope you visit us and enjoy your Earth Day celebrations!

Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root/Illustrated by G. Brian Karas (2017)

Farms are everywhere! You just have to look! A box, a shoe, a lot… anywhere can be a farm because all you need is sunshine, soil, water, and a seed. The rhythmic narrative of Anywhere Farm drives home the idea that gardening, farming, and planting can take many forms. Examples of this are easy to find in the colorful illustrations that grace each page. This is the perfect book to offer to new and experienced readers as it simply inspires all to get creative and just plant!
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On Gardening for the Kitchen

Posted in From the Library on April 14th, 2017 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.


Photo of the Foodscape RevolutionThe Foodscape Revolution: Finding a Better Way to Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden is a new book by Brie Arthur for St. Lynn’s Press. This charming and accessible book offers guidance for new gardeners and inspiration for the more experienced.

From the first page, Arthur draws the readers in with a friendly, assuring, and easy tone. She writes for people who want to grow edible plants and also for those who have a love for ornamentals. As such, she advocates for “foodscaping,” or growing food alongside flowers in a landscape that already exists. By mixing annual vegetables with perennial ornamentals (or other combinations), home gardeners can have access to delicious and organic produce without sacrificing the ornamentals they love.
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