Archive for August, 2016

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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Morning Eye Candy: Open Spaces

Posted in Photography on August 26th, 2016 by Matt Newman – Be the first to comment

Daffodil Hill

Daffodil Hill in Summer – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez

Visiting a Summer Shakespeare Garden

Posted in Horticulture on August 25th, 2016 by Joyce Newman – 1 Comment

Joyce H. Newman is an environmental journalist and teacher. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden.


LiliesRosemallowcreditLarryBoes-headerDedicated 100 years ago in 1916 (on the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death), the Central Park Shakespeare Garden is one of the best Shakespeare gardens in the world. It was fully restored by the Central Park Conservancy in 1987 and is a great local getaway for plant and poetry lovers.

Landscape designers Bruce Kelly and David Varnell, hired by the Conservancy, expanded the area to four acres—repaving paths, adding lovely bronze plaques with Shakespeare quotations, and installing rustic fences and wooden benches (recently replaced by the Conservancy with newer versions).

The basic footprint of the garden has remained the same since the 1987 restoration, says the Conservancy’s Senior Gardener, Larry Boes. When he became the gardener in 2008, he moved several of the Shakespeare plaques to locations where he could actually grow the plants mentioned.
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The Pepper Queen of Bronx Green-Up

Posted in Learning Experiences on August 24th, 2016 by Zakiya Tyehimba – Be the first to comment

Zakiya Tyehimba was an intern with Bronx Green-Up, the community gardening outreach program of The New York Botanical Garden.


ZakiyaThis summer I worked as a SYEP (Summer Youth Employment Program) intern for Bronx Green-Up. I’ve been working closely with both Bronx Green-Up and NYC Compost Project hosted by The New York Botanical Garden for the last six weeks. I’m sad to know my time with them is over.

I have had so many exciting, eye-opening experiences while working with Bronx Green-Up. One of my most memorable experiences is taking part in the Pepper Project. Bronx Green-Up collaborates with Small Axe Peppers and community gardens throughout the Bronx to create Bronx Hot Sauce, and I was put in charge of keeping track of how many pounds of peppers we received. Because of this task, I was crowned the “Pepper Queen.” On my last day, I was even awarded a pepper crown!
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The Plant Lover’s Guides

Posted in From the Library on August 23rd, 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.


Plant Lover's GuideWhen I first heard that Timber Press was publishing a series called The Plant Lover’s Guides, I was excited. I was working as an intern in the library at Longwood Gardens and in the process of falling in love with plants. My roommate at the time was obsessed with sedums and other succulents. “You know,” I mentioned to him casually, “there is a new book that is all about sedums that we are getting for the library.” His eyes lit up at the news, and lit up once again when I put the new book into his hands some months later. It was a perfect match. 2014 saw the release of guides to Sedums, Snowdrops, Dahlias, and Salvias.  In 2015, guides to Epimediums, Tulips, Asters, and Ferns arrived. Now, in 2016, we have four new guides—Clematis, Magnolias, Hardy Geraniums, and Primulas.
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A Weed by Any Other Name

Posted in Horticulture on August 16th, 2016 by Kristine Paulus – 2 Comments

Kristine Paulus is NYBG’s Plant Records Manager. She is responsible for the curation of The Lionel Goldfrank III Computerized Catalog of the Living Collections. She manages nomenclature standards and the plant labels for all exhibitions, gardens, and collections, while coordinating with staff, scientists, students, and the public on all garden-related plant information.


Pontederia cordataThere are some words that gardeners would rather eradicate from their lexicon. “Weed” is one of them, whether a noun or a verb. Although the definition of weed is subject to debate (some define it as any plant growing where it’s not wanted, therefore a rose growing in a cabbage patch might be considered a weed), and can have multiple meanings (such as a widow’s mourning garments, but that’s a discussion for another time), most people think of a weed as a plant with little value.

So when is a weed not a weed? Many common names for plants include the word “weed” and are often associated with plants that we consider nuisances like bindweed or knotweed. However, quite a few likeable plants, such as native plants and those that are beneficial to pollinators, also contain the word “weed” in their name. Botanists and horticulturists tend to avoid the use of common names because they cause confusion. These vernacular terms vary by region and culture but also the same word can be used for multiple species. Since plants have only one botanical name accepted around the world, it’s a much more accurate term.

So which “weeds” are keepers?
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The Art of Gardening

Posted in From the Library on August 15th, 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 Art of GardeningThe Art of Gardening takes its reader on an immersive journey through one of the world’s great pleasure gardens—Chanticleer.  Like a visit to the garden itself, The Art of Gardening titillates the reader, drawing them in with its gorgeous photography and well-crafted garden essays.

I struggled a bit with this review, perhaps in the same way that I struggle to describe Chanticleer to those who haven’t visited.  “A gardener’s garden” is the line most frequently used to encompass the mission and scope of the grounds. Fittingly, the book’s introduction includes a section titled “What is Chanticleer?” The section quotes an interview, which I in turn quote below.

So, what is this place? Why do you exist?

We are a garden; a place of beauty, pleasure, escape.

But, I mean, what do you do? Why would anyone come?

Indeed.

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Larry Lederman’s Lens: Verdant Retreats

Posted in Photography on August 15th, 2016 by Todd Forrest – 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. Todd Forrest, Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections, provides a prologue to this new collaborative blog series with NYBG’s Horticulturists.


Larry Lederman's LensIf you are fortunate enough to visit NYBG on a weekday morning after the sun has risen but before the shadows have lengthened, you may bump into Larry Lederman standing with his camera and tripod in some far corner of the landscape. For more than 15 years, Larry, a retired attorney and member of the Garden’s Board of Advisors, has traveled from his home in Westchester County to photograph the Garden in all seasons. Over that time, he has amassed a catalog of images that reveal the beauty and complexity of our plants, gardens, and exhibitions in a way that only someone both intimately familiar with the Garden and uniquely talented could.

Larry’s photographs brought the pages of two recent books about NYBG to life. He spent countless hours walking through the Garden’s 250 acres to produce hundreds of photographs for The New York Botanical Garden (Abrams, 2016) and Magnificent Trees of The New York Botanical Garden (Monacelli, 2012). Larry has also exhibited his photographs of the Garden in the Arthur and Janet Ross Gallery and generously provided images for many other publications and projects.
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What’s Beautiful Now: Thriving Greens

Posted in What's Beautiful Now on August 5th, 2016 by Lansing Moore – Be the first to comment
Perennial Garden

Perennial Garden

The first week of August brings summer at NYBG to new heights of lush greens and eye-popping flowers. Blooms stretch forth across the Perennial Garden and Seasonal Walk. Water lilies and lotuses bring bursts of color to the Conservatory Pools, while the Native Plant Garden is abuzz with pollinators enjoying the perennials in the meadow and the wetland.

Indoors or out, the Garden is full of life, from the classic plantings of Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas in the Haupt Conservatory, to the thriving vegetable beds in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden—the heart of the future Edible Academy that you can help launch through our first-ever Kickstarter campaign.

Getting outside in summer is a must, and it just so happens we’ve got 250 acres to explore.

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