In the Azalea Garden– Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen
Around the Garden
Next Tuesday, April 14th, we are thrilled to announce that we will open NYBG’s first ever full-service, sit-down restaurant! Hudson Garden Grill will be open to both Garden visitors and the general public looking for a seasonal, locally sourced dining experience. The latest exciting phase in our partnership with Stephen STARR Events will feature a multi-course lunch menu of refined New American cuisine inspired by locally sourced and ethically produced ingredients. Visit the new establishment for a light breakfast, afternoon tea and light fare, or an early supper during an upcoming visit to the garden.
Hudson Valley farms and other regional producers such as Hudson Valley Duck Farm, Heather Ridge Farm, and Old Chatham Sheepherding Company will provide the highest quality ingredients to Executive Chef Julian Alonzo and his team. Julian attended the French Culinary Institute, honing his skills at both La Caravelle and Maxim’s under Chef David Ruggiero, and was later named “Alumni Chef of the Year.” After receiving praise from Crain’s New York Business and an invitation to cook at the James Beard Foundation, Julian seeks to bring innovative, restaurant-inspired fare to the world of catering and special events. read more »
Todd Forrest is the NYBG’s Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections. He leads all horticulture programs and activities across the Garden’s 250-acre National Historic Landmark landscape, including 50 gardens and plant collections outside and under glass, the old-growth Thain Family Forest, and living exhibitions in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
Everyone in our area is well aware that climatologists have determined that this winter brought some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded in New York. The professional horticulturists who care for The New York Botanical Garden don’t need official weather data to confirm our suspicions that spring is coming later this year than it has in recent memory. All we need to do is walk through the Botanical Garden to see what our magnolias, daffodils, then flowering cherries and other spring-flowering favorites are doing at the moment. Gardeners’ (and plants’) internal clocks are set according to plant phenology—the timing of natural events such as flowering, fruiting, and leafing out—and all indications are that spring is overdue.
As staff members of one of the world’s great scientific and educational institutions, we have access to a suite of resources we can use to confirm (or deny) our suspicions. Since 2002 Volunteer Citizen Scientists have walked regularly through the Botanical Garden and noted carefully if certain plants are flowering, fruiting, leafing out, or dropping their leaves. The data from these “phenology walks” tell us that on average over the past decade, our native red maple, which is one of the most common street trees in New York and my favorite harbinger of spring, has been in peak flower around the middle of March. As of today, the flowers on the red maples in our Native Plant Garden and Thain Family Forest are just starting to open.
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Friday may have been the first day of spring, but as I watched the snow cover the plants, it certainly felt like winter. I know that everyone is anxiously waiting for spring to arrive, but there is something quite perfect about witch-hazel blooms dusted with snow that demands appreciation. The Azalea Garden is full of these bright spidery flowers right now. They are not some anomaly attributed to our changing weather patterns. This is their time. When it is still gray and the threat of snow still looms large, you can count on their light and warmth in the garden.
Witch-hazels have a range of flowering times depending on species and cultivar. The American witch-hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, flowers in autumn. Vernal witch-hazel or Ozark witch-hazel, Hamamelis vernalis, is also native to North American and often blooms in winter months despite its name. However, this species typically has small flowers and a strong tendency to hold on to its leaves all winter long, obscuring its fragrant flowers. Look for cultivars that were selected for their early leaf drop. The Chinese witch-hazel, Hamamelis mollis, and the Japanese witch-hazel, Hamamelis japonica, flower in late winter. These species are prized for their large and fragrant flowers, as well as their perfect timing – just when we need them the most! The majority of selections available today are cultivars of the hybrid between these two Asian species, Hamamelis × intermedia.
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The celestial splendor of The Orchid Show: Chandeliers fills the lofty heights of our Victorian-style glasshouse.
In the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory – Photo by Marlon Co
The weather outside is certainly not frightful, and the Garden is simply delightful! On this crystal clear winter day, the bright sun highlights the intricate architecture of the tree branches. Snow may have its charms, but nothing beats a brisk walk under a blue sky. Even as the Holiday Train Show reaches its busiest season, there remains plenty to see in the fresh air beyond the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Take advantage of this clear weather to plan a festive outing. Explore our calendar of tours and other ways to enjoy the outdoors at NYBG.
Follow this slideshow on a tour through the Garden grounds—including the Native Plant Garden and the Thain Family Forest—to see all there is to admire on a winter’s day. The way the light illuminates the grass, sparkles on the water, and brightens up the forest is sure to give you a sunny outlook for the coming New Year!
The winter solstice having come and gone, there are nonetheless a few autumn holdouts still boasting their color around the Garden.
In the Ross Conifer Arboretum – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen
It’s difficult to say which part of this cutleaf Japanese maple is the most beautiful—the foliage or the branches.
Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’ near the Rock Garden – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen
As one of the last gasps of summer, Labor Day weekend is a chance for NYBG to throw open its gates on a Monday and welcome everyone for what tends to be the closing week of our summer exhibition. And this year, things are no different—we’re rapidly approaching the September 7 end of our Groundbreakers exhibition! If you haven’t found a moment to get away and visit us here in the Bronx, now’s as good a time as any and maybe even better.
Those of you with kids in tow will be happy to know that we’re going full-tilt in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden with our SousaKazooza events, the last of the season. Bring your little ones for some music, marching, and crafts to keep them busy. And for the adults, we’re still offering our full suite of Groundbreakers events alongside a sweeping schedule of tours—Azalea Garden, Rock Garden, Conservatory, Native Plant Garden and Garden Highlights among them—to help you make the most of your afternoon.
Head past the jump for the full schedule, and don’t let the last few weeks of warm sunshine get away from you!
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Wednesdays mean free grounds-only admission to the Garden, and of course the return of the NYBG Greenmarket. This week our specialty vendors are offering okra, purple basil, red amaranth, eggplants, cantaloupe, potatoes, and more! Just in time too, because we have really been working up an appetite reading the special menus that have been announced for our series of Family Dinners with Mario Batali’s Chefs. These visiting luminaries of Italian cuisine are using the freshly grown produce of the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden to prepare some garden-to-table recipes that sound absolutely delicious.
Tickets are still available for those who would like to enjoy one of these special evenings of cooking demonstrations and activities for the whole family! For us amateur cooks, we have chosen a simple recipe that still makes the most of the Greenmarket’s bounty. Gazpacho, that Spanish staple of summer, can be a speedy and refreshing treat that would taste outstanding with the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers available today! Read on for the recipe.