Archive for September, 2012
We’re in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden this weekend with Sonia Uyterhoeven, Gardener for Public Education, chatting about all things roses–basic grower tips, late-season care, and award-winning varieties included. Stop by at 2 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday for the enlightening demonstration.
Rosa ‘Julia Child’ — Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen
If you’re moping around your desk on this gray Friday with daydreams of dry shoes in your head, rest assured you’ve got a kindred spirit here at the NYBG. But if there’s any kind of karmic balance in the universe, this weekend should be the payoff, because forecasts are promising a mostly sunny Saturday and Sunday in the city with temperatures to make you think spring is throwing an encore.
In the Perennial and Rose Gardens, that spring sentiment has never been stronger. These spots are home to some of the Garden’s most vibrant fall blooms, as well as many of the last outdoor flowers you’ll see before winter sets in. You’ll want to shuffle your schedule book around to make room for our tours and demonstrations, where expert Tour Guides and Garden horticulturists–Sonia Uyterhoeven included–dish out tips and info on rose gardening, autumn chrysanthemums, and everything in between.
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Nothing drives home the sheer enormity of our latest exhibition, Manolo Valdés: Monumental Sculpture, like seeing it built from the ground up. Over the course of two weeks, dozens of people and at least a few multi-ton machines were on the scene to put the final strokes on a work many, many months in the making. Naturally, we couldn’t pass up capturing some video.
From the first sketch put to paper in Valdés’ Manhattan studio, to the foundry in Madrid, and back across the 4,000 miles separating Spain and New York City, this production has proven nothing short of a massive undertaking. Carrying the collection of sculptures from the docks required a fleet of seven flatbed trucks. Once at the Garden, towering cranes were called in, gingerly rolling onto our lawns to settle each piece into its chosen site. And at 50 feet across and weighing nearly 20 tons, shipping any one of these sculptures as a single piece was out of the question; assembly called for even more precision cranework, with muscle on the ground to ensure everything was arranged to specification.
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You’ll find them clinging to rock faces like flecks of gray paint, or carpeting a tree trunk with skeins of red whisps. Lichens come in myriad shapes, sizes, colors, and consistencies. But while they’re often overlooked during your average hike, they’re worth giving a spare glance the next time you’re outdoors–lichens play an important part in the ecosystem. Few know this so well as the NYBG‘s Dr. James Lendemer. Like many of the Garden’s globetrotting scientists–Michael Balick, Bill Buck, and Roy Halling, to name a few–Lendemer’s field odysseys carry him well beyond the laboratory door in his hunt for specimens. In recent years, that chalks up to long days spent trekking through the Great Smoky Mountains of the eastern United States.
For the uninitiated, lichens are cryptogams–fungi that reproduce by spores, as with other fungi and some groups of plants. But unlike either, lichens are unique in that they’re composite organisms, often a symbiotic combination of fungi and algae. Think of them as codependent roommates; the former acts as a sort of bodyguard for the latter in exchange for nourishing sugars from the algae’s photosynthesis. At large, lichens make the perfect bird nests by some avian standards, and the growths also have a penchant for breaking down dead trees and rocks while providing nitrogen for soil. Unassuming as they are, they’re integral to maintaining healthy biomes.
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This week in the Ruth Rea Howell Garden, Assistant Manager Annie Novak and her team of gardeners fire up the kitchen for some hearty recipes that celebrate the last of the summer harvest. “Grillin’ Summer Fruits,” as we like to call it, is set to take over our one-acre vegetable garden on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday of this week, at both 2 and 4 p.m. each afternoon. But while the name may suggest otherwise, we’re not talking about peaches and watermelons here!
Each demonstration focuses not on the sweeter fruits, but on the savory ones–those like tomatoes, which are so often mistaken for vegetables. And also making an appearance among the veggie-leaning fruits, a couple that you might not be aware of: zucchini and eggplant. Despite public opinion, these aren’t actually vegetables because their seeds are on the inside! So don’t let your warm-season produce languish in the crisper drawer when you could be throwing a cook-out instead. If there’s one way to celebrate what remains of this picturesque weather, it’s with food.
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Already hunting in vain for the tastes of summer–that last, sweet reminder of tan lines and getting the mail without boots on? While your friends tell you it’s masochism, you may have a few crumbs of luck left: last week’s Greenmarket bounty included a teasing stack of peach pies from The Little Bake Shop. And while there are no guarantees that we’ll see more stone fruit desserts on the tables tomorrow, it can’t hurt to take a look, right? In the meantime, what little remains of summer’s harvest now makes way for the rush of autumn edibles.
If waiting until Thanksgiving for your first dose of melons, gourds, and root vegetables sounds foolish to you (c’mon, it does), then you’ll want to make tomorrow your day out. We’re expecting to see piles of mellow Asian melons, decorative pumpkins, gourds in Seussian shapes and beans by the armful. On the starchy front, parsnips and potatoes are practically begging for a stew, and the beets and radishes aren’t far behind. You’ll even have a chance to bag up some apples and pears while you’re here.
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