Plant Talk | Science Talk

An Urban Garden’s Mysticism

Posted in Learning Experiences on August 20th, 2014 by Diana Soler – Be the first to comment

Diana Soler is a NYC Summer Youth Employee with Bronx Green-Up, the community gardening outreach program of The New York Botanical Garden.

Bronx Green Up Community WorkdayGrowing up in the city, I wasn’t one to appreciate wildlife. I ran away from it. Tall buildings and concrete provided me with comfort. Seeing empty lots of land confirmed this attitude for me. They looked like restricted mini-forests, having fences around the perimeter with weeds and trash caged inside. It was almost as if these spaces don’t exist, as the urban life surrounding them doesn’t acknowledge the presence of nature and all of the mystical treasures it has inside.

Luckily, I was given the chance to see the light of these enchanted forests. While working for Bronx Green-Up (the community gardening outreach program of The New York Botanical Garden) as part of NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program, I was exposed to community gardens that are being cared for and acknowledged by urban green thumbs. These once abandoned lots were turned into spaces where local community members can garden and establish meaningful relationships with both plants and people. The first task I am usually given when entering a new garden is to pull out weeds. I didn’t really know what I was doing at first. My common sense just told me to pull out the ones that look ugly, or that don’t quite fit in with the rest of the plants. Also, if there are decent-sized flowers on them, then those can stay.
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This Week At the Greenmarket: Plum Perfect

Posted in Programs and Events on August 20th, 2014 by Lansing Moore – Be the first to comment

NYBG GreenmarketWednesday is Greenmarket day at NYBG! Our local purveyors are back with an abundance of fresh goods until 3 p.m. Today’s market features tomatoes, eggplants, cantaloupe, fresh garlic, potatoes, green bell pepper, and plums—plus baked goods including gluten-free options!

Today includes another visit from Montefiore Community and Population Health, who are providing free body mass index (BMI) screenings as well as nutritional counseling on how to stay healthy. It’s a beautiful day to enjoy the grounds and make healthy choices at the Greenmarket!

Summer is salad season, so we found a recipe that uses a delicious seasonal fruit—plums—to make a fresh and light summer snack. Click through to see a quick and easy recipe for buffalo mozzarella with balsamic glazed plums, pine nuts, and mint.

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Morning Eye Candy: Under the Trellis

Posted in Photography on August 20th, 2014 by Matt Newman – Be the first to comment

A walk to remember…in the sense that it takes you directly to a pleasant, shady sittin’ place.

Home Gardening Center

In the Home Gardening Center – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

“M” is for Mint

Posted in Gardening Tips on August 19th, 2014 by Sonia Uyterhoeven – Be the first to comment
Mentha spicata

Mentha spicata

In Greek mythology, the goddess Persephone suspected her husband Hades, god of the underworld, of having a tryst with a nymph named Minthe. In a jealous rage, she transformed the lovely nymph into a perennial herb. Hades, unable to counteract his wife’s spell, bestowed Minthe with a sweet smell so that she would continue to delight those who came in contact with her.

Clearly, the aromatic qualities of mint are legendary. Through the centuries, mint has played an important role in many cultures, from the Greeks who rubbed mint leaves on their tables to welcome guests, to India, where it was strewn around temples and homes to clean the air. In the middle east, mint tea is often brought out to greet friends in the home.

Unlike many herbs that prefer sunny, dry spots, mints prefer moist soil in part shade/sun. As many of us know too well from experience, however, they are highly adaptable plants—and that’s putting it mildly. They grow in a wide range of conditions and are only too happy to expand their territory once they are planted in the ground. When I was a kid, my mother planted peppermint behind the vegetable garden; years later, the vegetable garden is gone, but the mint still thrives.
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Morning Eye Candy: It Takes a Village

Posted in Photography on August 19th, 2014 by Matt Newman – Be the first to comment

While our yearly display of kiku—or Japanese chrysanthemums—presents some of the most elegant and delicate floral forms you’ll ever see, the process of raising them occasionally calls for some real muscle. Here, several of our Nolen Greenhouse staffers haul a protective tarp over a batch of young kiku in preparation for this fall’s exhibition.

Nolen Greenhouses

Morning Eye Candy: Colors of Summer

Posted in Photography on August 17th, 2014 by Lansing Moore – Be the first to comment

Perennial Garden
In the Perennial Garden – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Morning Eye Candy: Looking Good Enough to Eat

Posted in Photography on August 16th, 2014 by Lansing Moore – Be the first to comment

If Hansel and Gretel didn’t have such a sweet tooth, I bet they’d enjoy the new Edible Archway. This appetizing structure is part of the new Curator’s Spotlight.

Edible Archway

The Edible Archway at the Conservatory Courtyard – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

This Weekend: Global Gardens and Aquatic Plants

Posted in Programs and Events on August 15th, 2014 by Lansing Moore – Be the first to comment

0814-red-flower-thumbnail-250x280We are all very excited for a bright weekend after such a rainy week. Of course, the plants loved all that water—and it seems fitting that this weekend features two special tours of the Aquatic House! While the city is drying out, visit the wettest habitats in the Conservatory and admire the gorgeous plants within.

Don’t forget, next week is the last of our Jazz Age Evenings. On August 21 we bid farewell to these vintage-style soirées that brought such glamour and joy to Groundbreakers. Join us for the big bash as Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra transports guests back to the 40s with a swinging songbook inspired by the “Greatest Generation.” Our friends at Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer will be serving up their own spicy twist on that classic summer cocktail—the Margarita.

Be sure to bring the kids this weekend for the Global Gardens Summer Harvest Celebration in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden! This weekend only, children will explore five Global Gardens and fill up their passports while enjoying activities. Click through for more details and the full program schedule.

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Morning Eye Candy: Fractals

Posted in Photography on August 15th, 2014 by Lansing Moore – Be the first to comment

The magnolia blossoms may have faded away with spring, but these trees remain beautiful fixtures on the Garden grounds all year long.

Magnolia stellata tree

Magnolia stellata in the Ross Conifer Arboretum – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Boxwood Comes Under Blows: Protect Your Landscape Against Blight

Posted in Horticulture on August 14th, 2014 by Don Gabel – Be the first to comment

Don Gabel is NYBG’s Director of Plant Health. He monitors, diagnoses, and prescribes treatments for all the plants growing on the grounds, as well as in NYBG’s beautiful gardens and glass houses. Don educates and provides horticultural advice to the staff as well as teaching the public about different aspects of horticulture. He lives in Rockland county New York.

boxwoodHere we go again! Just as we find a versatile, deer resistant, drought tolerant, easy-to-maintain landscape plant, a new pest problem emerges. Boxwood has been extensively planted over the last 20 years and I always say, “If you plant it they will come.” In late 2011, the pathogen causing boxwood blight (Cylindrocladium buxicola) was documented in the U.S. Since then it has been found in at least 5 states. This pathogen attacks the leaves and stems of boxwood, and a few related plants, eventually causing defoliation and death. The Northeast is full of mature specimen boxwood, and it is a popular landscape plant for new plantings, so there is a high potential for significant impact on landscape boxwood.

This disease began primarily as a nursery problem. Since then, it has spread to the landscape through new plantings of boxwood, and into the suburban landscape. When a single genus or species is over-planted in the landscape, eventually what were minor pests, or new invasive insects and diseases, can become major problems. The disease is now found in the landscape in western Connecticut,  as well as in Long Island and Westchester in New York. boxwood blight first appears as chocolate black spots on the foliage. In a few days the spots develop yellow to brown rings, eventually infecting the whole leaf. In a couple of weeks, the leaves die and fall off. The stem close to the infection can have black dead lesions or cankers.
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