Archive for August, 2011

Long Weekend at the Garden

Posted in Around the Garden, What's Beautiful Now on August 31st, 2011 by Ann Rafalko – Be the first to comment

The New York Botanical Garden is stunningly beautiful right now. With verdant green vistas, intimate gardens, and primordial forests, there’s no better place to enjoy nature in the city over this three-day weekend than at the Garden. Take a hike in the Forest, stop to smell the roses in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, experience the sublime beauty of the waterlilies and lotuses in the Conservatory Courtyard pools, search for migrating birds, and get a few tips to take home and put into practice in your own garden. Soothe your storm-frazzled nerves by relaxing along the babbling Bronx River, bask in the sun on one of the Garden’s many benches around the grounds or in the beautiful Perennial Garden, join harvest activities in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, and take a tour of the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. The three-day weekend is full of beauty and fun for the whole family.

The Waterlily and Lotus Pools in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyard

The Waterlily and Lotus Pools in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyard
Picture 1 of 12

Head below the jump for detailed information on this weekend’s activities at the Garden.

Irene at the Garden

Posted in Around the Garden on August 31st, 2011 by Ann Rafalko – Be the first to comment
Garden Arborists Cut Down a Tree Acutely Damaged by Irene

Garden arborists cut down a tree acutely damaged by Irene.

Hurricane Irene came to New York City over the weekend. She blew through the Garden, and thankfully left very little trace of her visit behind; just a handful of the Garden’s thousands of trees were damaged, and of those, only two were judged to be a danger to Garden visitors and beyond salvaging.

This morning we were able to do a survey of the farmers who bring their produce and baked goods to the Garden’s weekly Greenmarket, and were relieved to hear from them that they also weathered the storm.

Given what could have happened, we’re very happy to be able to issue this report, and our thoughts are with those suffering from the catastrophic flooding upstate and throughout New England.

Mario Batali’s Edible Garden Recipe of the Day: Spicy Cucumber and Fennel Salad

Posted in Mario Batali's Edible Garden on August 31st, 2011 by Ann Rafalko – Be the first to comment

From August 27 – September 25, families can explore Mario Batali’s Edible Garden in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden and enjoy daily gardening activities and cooking demonstrations showcasing kid-friendly recipes with the chance to sample and search for ingredients in the garden. We are posting the recipes from Mario Batali’s Edible Garden here on the NYBG blog, Plant Talk, so check back often.

Spicy Cucumber and Fennel Salad

Dan Drohan, Executive Chef, OTTO Enoteca Pizzaria, New York

Cucumbers in the Family GardenLemon Vinaigrette

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon marmellata (marmalade) or a generous pinch of grated lemon zest
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably Tuscan

1 fennel bulb, sliced paper thin
2 breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
2 hot house cucumbers, skins on
2 peperoncini, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons Lemon Vinaigrette
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 sprigs fennel fronds

Whisk the lemon juice, marmellata, and olive oil together in a small bowl and set aside. The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Using a Japanese mandolin, thinly slice fennel and radishes and set aside in a serving bowl. Split cucumbers lengthwise and cut into 1/2-centimeter-thick half moons, skins on, and transfer to serving bowl. Thinly slice peperoncini on a bias and incorporate. Add all Lemon Vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper and toss lightly. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve.

Tantalizing Tickseeds

Posted in Gardening Tips on August 30th, 2011 by Sonia Uyterhoeven – Be the first to comment
Sonia Uyterhoeven is Gardener for Public Education.
Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam'  Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam'

After several spates of sizzling summer weather, many gardeners were left looking for drought tolerant alternatives to lush perennial garden plantings. One perennial that has been a stalwart of my garden has been tickseeds or coreopsis.

The odd common name of tickseed comes from the fact that people used to think the seed head looked like a tick. There are a number of species of tickseed but one of the most popular and drought tolerant species is the thread-leaf tickseed, Coreopsis verticillata.

Tickseeds are in the Asteraceae family. They tend to form 1-2 foot mounds that are covered with daisy-like flowers. They are tough customers that don’t shy away from the summer heat and have the added bonus of being deer resistant. Many cultivars flower from June through September–and sometimes into October–and are known for their flower power.

The Home Gardening Center features a number of cultivars which include a few winners in the world of coreopsis. One of my favorites is ‘Route 66’. It is an interesting alternative to your predominately yellow tickseeds. This cultivar has a red eye that bleeds into the yellow petals to produce a brilliant contrast.

Learn more about these tough, but pretty, flowers below.

Mario Batali’s Edible Garden Recipe of the Day: Caprese Salad with Genovese Pesto

Posted in Mario Batali's Edible Garden on August 29th, 2011 by Ann Rafalko – Be the first to comment

From August 27 – September 25, families can explore Mario Batali’s Edible Garden in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden and enjoy daily gardening activities and cooking demonstrations showcasing kid-friendly recipes with the chance to sample and search for ingredients in the garden. We are posting the recipes from Mario Batali’s Edible Garden here on the NYBG blog, Plant Talk, so check back often.

Caprese Salad with Genovese Pesto

Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali

Herbs from Mario Batali's Edible Garden at The New York Botanical GardenThere are about 150 varieties of basil, but basilico genovese makes for the best pesto. It’s also essential to making authentic pesto genovese. In Italy, basil is a symbol of love and I love this recipe for a summer caprese salad with ingredients fresh from the seasonal garden.

Basil Pesto

3 garlic cloves
2 cups lightly packed fresh Genovese basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Generous pinch of Maldon or other flaky sea salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons grated pecorino romano

10 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 1/2 pounds assorted ripe tomatoes (choose a combination of colors, types and sizes) including Italian Heirloom and bicolor Pineapple

With the motor running, drop the garlic into your best food processor to chop it. Add the Genovese basil, pine nuts, and salt and pulse until the basil and nuts are coarsely chopped, then process until finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the Parmigiano and pecorino. Set aside. (The pesto can be stored in a tightly sealed jar, topped with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil, for several weeks in the refrigerator.)

With a sharp knife, cut the mozzarella into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer to a serving platter.

If using cherry or grape tomatoes, cut them in half. Core the remaining tomatoes and slice them. Arrange the tomatoes with the cheese.

Pour the pesto over the salad, sprinkle with salt, and serve.

How to Protect a Garden from Hurricane Damage

Posted in Gardening Tips on August 26th, 2011 by Dorrie Rosen – Be the first to comment

Ed. note: Hurricane Irene looks set to blow through the greater New York-metro area this weekend. It may be hard to focus on your garden and plants at this point in time, but an ounce of prevention could save you from a lot of work in the future. Also, clearing your garden of anything that could become a projectile is a very important safety measure. Read more from Plant Information Specialist Dorrie Rosen below.

Hurricane Irene as Seen from Space - Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project

Hurricane Irene as seen from space - Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project

Hurricanes, the most powerful storms on Earth, are vast engines of wind and rain. As a storm reaches shore, the surge of huge waves causes flooding in every direction. Salt spray whipped up by the wind can be felt as far as 50 miles inland. Wind gusts also sand blast homes and plants.

Most importantly be prepared, especially if you have large trees with broken or dead branches. Trees close to homes, buildings, and power lines can cause serious damage. Seek out a certified arborist in your area to handle trees that pose the most immediate danger. These certified professionals can be located through the International Society of Arboriculture.

Prior to storms, remove all free-standing outdoor furniture and lightweight plantings in containers as the winds can turn them into dangerous weapons.

After storm damage it may be possible to save some trees with living branches so wait before you prune. Cover exposed roots and keep them damp. You may be able to save partially uprooted plants even after some days or weeks. If formerly shaded plants are now burning in sun, provide temporary shelter.

Wind-borne salt spray damages foliage, producing symptoms of scorching and burning. As soils become inundated with salt water, salt-sensitive plant root hairs absorb water and the accumulated salts destroy plant cells. Too much salt will remove moisture from the leaves in a process called exmosis. It will be helpful to rinse off foliage with water to remove salt water residue and lessen the probability of scorching.

Perhaps the best defense is offense–establish windbreaks with wall, fences, and hedge plantings. Choose more plants that are salt-tolerant especially those with tough, waxy leaves and grey, woolly foliage.

Morning Eye Candy: Of A Different Kingdom

Posted in Photography, Science on August 26th, 2011 by Roy Halling – 1 Comment

Smith & Thiers described this mushroom, Boletus hortonii, honorifically for Charles Horton Peck, former New York State Botanist, who recognized the mushroom under a different name. It is a porcini in a very, very broad sense. I took the picture last week when it was fruiting at the Garden. It is widespread in the Northeast, though uncommon.

Boletus hortonii

Boletus hortonii (photo by Roy Halling)

Roy E. Halling, PhD is Curator of Mycology at the Institute of Systematic Botany at The New York Botanical Garden.

Morning Eye Candy: Ruffled and Smooth

Posted in Photography on August 25th, 2011 by Ann Rafalko – 1 Comment

It seems logical for raindrops to be caught in the frilly edges of a crape-myrtle blossom, but the variegated textures of ornamental grasses can capture them, too.

Lagerstroemia 'Choctaw'

Lagerstroemia ‘Choctaw’

Drops on Grass

Photos by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Morning Eye Candy: Dome and Sky

Posted in Photography on August 24th, 2011 by Ann Rafalko – Be the first to comment

Sometimes the sky is so bright that the dome of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory seems to all but disappear into the whiteness of summer’s clouds.

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory

Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

In the Family Garden

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on August 23rd, 2011 by Ann Rafalko – Be the first to comment

The summer session of the Children’s Gardening program–where kids aged 5-12 work in pairs to cultivate and tend their own garden plot–is in full swing, and the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden is a hive of activity, bursting at the seams with produce and happy kids.

If the kids in your family want to get in on the gardening action, you can join in during Dig! Plant! Grow! which takes place daily (except on Mondays when the Garden is usually closed), beginning at 1:30 p.m. Digging, weeding, and harvesting aren’t the only activities going on in the Family Garden (read one visitor’s appreciation); there’s also cooking, Mario Batali’s Edible Garden, and tons of exploring to be done as well! And there are bees and bunnies. Oh, and it’s also really pretty!

Be sure to stop by on your next trip to the Garden, and while you’re here, snap a few photos to enter into the August NYBG-IGPOTY photo contest, “Kids in the Garden” featuring special Mario Batali prizes!

Teamwork in the Family Garden

See more scenes from the Family Garden after the jump