Window Garden Wednesday

Window Garden Wednesdays: Ann Rafalko

Posted in Window Garden Wednesday on February 29th, 2012 by Matt Newman – 3 Comments

Working alongside some of the world’s most talented and knowledgeable botanists tends to relate directly to the number of office plants that find homes on desks and window sills. Window Garden Wednesday exists to acquaint our readers with some of the folks who are often too busy in the field, lab, or conference room to spend time lurking on social media sites. (That’s our job.)


We continue the revival of Window Garden Wednesdays with a collection close to my desk. Not that I’m allowed to touch it. You see, this is the window garden of one Ann Rafalko, imperious (I jest) Director of Online Content for The New York Botanical Garden. She also happens to be my boss (or foreman, or warden–it’s really a matter of imagination paired with the general mood of the room on any given weekday).

Our humble copse of potted things here in Creative Services may not be particularly exotic or flamboyant, but it suits us just fine. So I’ll turn it over to Ann to explain just what it is we have lurking on the sill, how it got there, and perhaps the handful of miracles that must have fallen on our grim corner of the Library Building to keep these zombies of vegetation hovering in the realm of healthy.
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Window Garden Wednesday: Karen Daubmann

Posted in Window Garden Wednesday on February 15th, 2012 by Matt Newman – Be the first to comment

Karen Daubmann NYBGIt’s a rare day at the NYBG when I can take a few steps through the halls without seeing a splash of green foliage brightening a workspace. Working alongside some of the world’s most talented and knowledgeable botanists tends to relate directly to the number of office plants that find homes on desks and window sills. Window Garden Wednesday exists to acquaint our readers with some of the folks who are often too busy in the field, lab, or conference room to spend time lurking on social media sites. (That’s our job.)
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Window Garden Wednesday: Jamie Boyer

Posted in Window Garden Wednesday on February 8th, 2012 by Matt Newman – Be the first to comment

Jamie BoyerThere are perks to working in a hive of brilliant botanical minds, all of them within stone’s throw (or email’s hassle) of your desk and generally willing to spill a measure of earthy wisdom for hopeful horticulturists. For those of us who can’t spend every last moment under the gleam of the Conservatory dome, it makes all the difference to color our cubicles with whatever growing things will tolerate an office.

That stands only for those of us who don’t have death’s touch when it comes to leafy things, of course.

This week we’re continuing the long lost Window Garden Wednesday series with a look at the collection of Dr. Jamie Boyer, our Director of Children’s Education and a man with a heap of rocks on his desk (plant fossils, actually). Will this be a dedicated weekly event? Probably not. But I’ll at least try to keep it going until my colleagues in the Library Building start deadbolting their office doors.
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Window Garden Wednesday: Douglas C. Daly

Posted in Window Garden Wednesday on April 6th, 2011 by Plant Talk – Be the first to comment

Ed. note: Here at the Garden, we are surrounded by plants and knowledgeable plant people, which means that even the average Garden employee/cubicle dweller tends to soak up a lot of information about how to best care for our plants. To many at the Garden, this immersion, combined with a nascent love of plants plus easy access information has driven us to practice what we preach in the form of tending a windowsill garden. Doug DalyOn occasional Wednesdays, we’ll introduce you to some of the Garden’s many windowsill gardeners. We hope you enjoy this look at what our window gardeners grow.

Who are you and what do you do at the Garden?
My name is Douglas Daly and I run one of the departments in the Science Division here called the Institute of Systematic Botany.  I am also responsible for the aspects of our research programs that relate to the flora of the Amazon region.

What kind of plants do you have in your windowsill garden?
Any plants that are going to make it in my windows have to be tough and irrepressible, that is, they have to want to grow there, because I’m not going to pamper them.  Here they get bread and water, minus the bread …

Doug Daly's Windowsill Garden

Any good stories about where the plants come from?
I have an oversize cycad native to Mexico called Dioon spinosa; somebody gave me a seed about 25 years ago and now it rules one corner of my inner office.  A corner of the outer office is ruled by a Philodendron that was orphaned during the previous renovation of the Haupt Conservatory; they told me if I could find a way to lug it to my office I could have it.  I have a Protium tree I grew from a seed someone brought me from Belize a long time ago; I have cut it back three times and it’s ten feet tall again.  Finally, I have some really sad-looking, undersized, droopy San Pedro cactus plants I grew from seeds given to me way back by the late, great botanist Tim Plowman; I keep those for sentimental reasons.

Doug Daly's Windowsill Garden

Learned any good windowsill gardening tips while working at the Garden?
Not too much crowding; give a couple of plants some elbow room to strut their stuff.  And when you travel, ask Alejandra Vasco (a post-doc here) to look after your plants, because as soon as she touches mine, they all germinate and recover and grow and flower like crazy.

Doug Daly's Windowsill Garden

What’s your favorite thing about working at the Garden?
When you work on the identification and classification and conservation of plants, every day is a detective story, full of mysteries, puzzles, hypotheses, some dead ends, some discoveries.  What is it?  Why?  Why does it grow there? How is it related to other species, and what characteristics distinguish them?  Is it endangered?  What are the most important places to do field work?  How can you alert people to their importance?  Botanists tend to live to a ripe old age because we can’t afford to die early; there’s too much to do!

Window Garden Wednesday: Amy Litt

Posted in Window Garden Wednesday on March 2nd, 2011 by Plant Talk – Be the first to comment

Ed. note: Here at the Garden, we are surrounded by plants and knowledgeable plant people, which means that even the average Garden employee/cubicle dweller tends to soak up a lot of information about how to best care for our plants. To many at the Garden, this immersion, combined with a nascent love of plants plus easy access information has driven us to practice what we preach in the form of tending a windowsill garden. On occasional Wednesdays, we’ll introduce you to some of the Garden’s many windowsill gardeners. We hope you enjoy this look at what our window gardeners grow.

Amy LittWho are you and what do you do at the Garden?
Amy Litt, Director of Plant Genomics and Cullman Curator. I study how plant genes differ among species and how those differences in genes are responsible for differences in plant form and function. In other words I study the genetic basis of plant diversity. I also teach and mentor graduate, undergraduate, and high school students.

What kind of plants do you have in your windowsill garden?
Mostly ferns, and one tiny “living stone.” The latter is a type of desert-adapted plant that grows in the driest parts of Africa. It has almost no stem and very fleshy leaves which store water; it only has 2-4 leaves at a time, and it grows in rocky soil that covers it up to the tops of the fat leaves, to keep it cooler from the hot sun. There are some for sale in the Garden Shop.

Amy Litt's Windowsill Garden

More from Amy below.