Plant Talk | Science Talk

Fiesta de Flores at The New York Botanical Garden

Posted in Around the Garden on September 27th, 2016 by Elizabeth Figueroa – Be the first to comment
NYBG Fiesta de Flores

Don Eliseo Trinidad receives the community service award

Last Wednesday, September 21, NYBG celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month at our annual Fiesta de Flores event.

Guests enjoyed tours of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the height of its fall bloom, while the historic Stone Mill offered food and wine tastings, live fine art painting, floral arranging workshops, artisan vendors, musical entertainment, and a Bomba dance ensemble.

The highlight of the day came when Don Eliseo Trinidad was presented with this year’s community service award. As an NYBG community partner and the owner of La 21 Division, a botanica on the Grand Concourse, Don Eliseo was honored for his dedication and caring for the well-being of the Bronx community with medicinal plants. Ina Vandebroek, Ph.D., Assistant Curator of Economic Botany and Caribbean Program Director at NYBG, presented the award.
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The Writer’s Garden

Posted in From the Library on September 26th, 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 Writer's GardenThe Writer’s Garden: How gardens inspired our best-loved authors drew my eye even before I realized that this new book is from Jackie Bennett, the author of 2016’s Shakespeare’s Gardens (which I reviewed here). Once I realized the authors were one and the same, I knew I was in for a treat.

With photographs by Richard Hanson, Writer’s Garden is a very thoughtful and lovely book. Bennett explores the gardens and estates of 19 authors in the United Kingdom. The authors themselves—English, Irish, Scottish, or American by birth—left their marks in the form of their gardens on the British landscape. Bennett is an engaging tour-guide through the landscapes that shaped their works, inspired their art, and became their homes. Using an individual’s garden as a way of telling his or her story is indeed a popular device. At The New York Botanical Garden, there have been several garden-wide exhibitions around this theme. Most recently, FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life in 2015, which followed Monet’s Garden of 2012, Emily Dickinson’s Garden: The Poetry of Flowers of 2010, and Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure of 2009.
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Weekly Wildlife at the Garden: Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Posted in Photography, Wildlife on September 21st, 2016 by Patricia Gonzalez – 1 Comment

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


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Native Plant Garden

An Eastern tiger swallowtail in the Native Plant Garden – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez

Cultivating Chaos: How to Enrich Landscapes with Self-Seeding Plants

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

cultivating chaosOrganized chaos has its charms, as the authors of Cultivating Chaos: How to Enrich Landscapes with Self-Seeding Plants are eager to extol. There is both an anxiety and a freedom that comes with allowing garden plants to live out their life cycles unmolested—setting seeds and dropping them from cradle to grave and back again. In Chaos’s introduction, Noel Kingsbury writes of using self-seeding plants to establish and encourage a more full and vibrant ecological system in the garden. In the pages that follow, the authors take up this idea and expand upon the theme.

Part of embracing “chaos” in the garden requires letting go. When planting communities that are intended to be self-seeding, the gardener should, in theory, release some control. There might be a plan in mind, but there should also be a willingness to see what the plants do when left to their own devices. The gardener might only work to remove undesirable plants and to fill in gaps when different species die off.

Chaos has a great deal of practical advice for the home gardener. The book is divided into four sections, plus a resources section. “How do you garden with self-seeding plants?,” “Let the planting begin,” “Strategies for design and maintenance,” and “Plants for self-seeding gardens” take the home gardener through the process of using self-seeding plants from start to finish. Gorgeous photographs of different gardens adorn the book’s pages throughout the narrative.

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What’s Beautiful Now: Seasonal Bounty

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on September 16th, 2016 by Lansing Moore – Be the first to comment

Perennial GardenAhead of the fall foliage, the flowers of late summer dominate NYBG’s landscape this week. Dahlias bring color and complexity to the Perennial Garden, Seasonal Walk, and Home Gardening Center; The Conservatory Pools still boast some water lilies; and the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is in the midst of its second bloom.

Admire the blossoms yourself this weekend as you sample craft beers and ciders to the sounds of live bluegrass and blues! Blues, Brews & Botany will explore the botanical side of beer, with expert-led demonstrations of the plant science behind your favorite beers. Visitors get a souvenir tasting Tumbler—but supplies are limited so be sure buy your ticket online in advance.

This weekend also marks the debut of Scarecrows & Pumpkins! The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden comes alive with a festive display of friendly scarecrows set among rare and unusual pumpkins and gourds. Sculptor Ray Villafane brings a spooky installation of scarecrows along the Mitsubishi Wild Wetland Trail, an entirely new display from our favorite Halloween artist.

View scenes from the Garden below and plan your first outing of the new season to NYBG!

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Larry Lederman’s Lens: Rose & Cedar

Posted in Ledermans-Lens, Photography on September 13th, 2016 by Matt Newman – 1 Comment

Larry Lederman‘s lens takes you to the Garden when you can’t be there and previews what to see when
you can.


Larry Lederman's LensThe approach of fall in the Garden brings with it the revitalization of one of our most classically scenic collections, the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, where hundreds of cultivars revisit the colors of spring with a second bloom in September.

Together, the two collections are the perfect escape in late summer, an opportunity to soak in the best of both flowers and foliage before the transitions of fall arrive. Here, Larry Lederman spotlights his favorite aspects of each from recent trips through the Garden.
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Planting in a Post-Wild World

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

Planting in a Post-Wild WorldSometimes one comes across a landscape design book that simply demands to be read from cover to cover without pause. Planting in a Post-Wild World is one such book. Part ecological manifesto, part how-to planting guide, and part artistic statement, Post-Wild is a wonderful and refreshing addition to the world of landscape and planting design literature.

Thomas Rainer and Claudia West are co-authors of Post-Wild. Rainer is a registered landscape architect, teacher, and writer, and West is a landscape designer, lecturer, and consultant. Both work in the U.S., but in the evocative preface each writes of the very different beginnings of their understanding of the wild.
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Seedless Grapes, With Roots at NYBG

Posted in From the Library, History, NYBG in the News on September 2nd, 2016 by Lansing Moore – 1 Comment
Dr. Arlow B. Stout

Dr. Arlow B. Stout

Recently, The Wall Street Journal examined an obscure and surprising piece of New York’s botanical history that began right here at NYBG nearly 80 years ago—the Bronx Seedless table grape, a species of the common fruit hybridized in the 1930s by one of NYBG’s most prolific scientists, Dr. Arlow B. Stout. Sophia Hollander interviewed Stephen Sinon, the LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Head of Special Collections, Research, and Archives, to learn more about this obscure grape species and the enormous impact it had before fading into obscurity—and near extinction.

In addition to his groundbreaking research into avocado plants and hybridizing many new daylily species that continue to delight visitors to the Garden each summer, Dr. Stout partnered with Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station to make a better grape. Seedless, tasty, and hardy, the end result of “more than 20 years tinkering with grape genetics” was the Bronx grape, named for its home borough. Cultivation of this species faded over time. While not successful as a commercial crop, all seedless grapes that we enjoy today are descended from this Bronx native, the result of NYBG’s commitment to plant science and conservation that continues to be one of our core values.

Now, from the brink of disappearing altogether, this species is being rediscovered as a source of local pride and historic interest. Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) and learn about Dr. Stout’s remarkable life. NYBG has always endeavored to teach people about where their food comes from—sometimes the answer is closer than you think!

The Cabaret of Plants

Posted in From the Library on August 29th, 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 Cabaret of Plants: Forty Thousand Years of Plant Life and the Human Imagination by Richard Mabey

The Cabaret of Plants: Forty Thousand Years of Plant Life and the Human Imagination offers a resounding cheer for the Plant Kingdom. This new title by Richard Mabey brings a smorgasbord of plant history and science to a popular audience.

There are 30 essays in Cabaret, (including the epilogue), contained within approximately 350 pages. This means that on average each essay is just over 11 pages long. The variety of topics and the length of each section works very well—readers are able to jump into the text at any point, and spend a few minutes reading a succinct and melodious treatment on a particular topic relating to plants. These 30 essays are divided in 7 sections, but any essay can be read as an independent piece. Considering the nature of this book, (it is intended to be a mélange), the stand-alone nature of each section does not detract from the reading.

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Larry Lederman’s Lens: Small Wonders

Posted in Photography on August 29th, 2016 by Matt Newman – 2 Comments

Larry Lederman‘s lens takes you to the Garden when you can’t be there and previews what to see when you can.


ConeflowersLederman’s eye often carries him to sweeping landscapes in the Garden, where vistas of great depth and variety offer worlds for him to capture—the Native Plant Garden, the Benenson Ornamental Conifers, other sprawling locations that form the identity of our 250 acres. But he’s fascinated by the minutiae of the Garden as well, limning the beauty of individual flowers, trees, and plantings in between the anchor collections of NYBG.

Here, he documents the wonders that live—quietly elegant or shouting with color—right near our Visitor Center. These are only a handful of the treasures seen upon your first few steps into the Garden, whether you’re passing the Shop or waiting for the next tram.
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