Morning Eye Candy: Making Macro Magic

Here’s just one of the tropical flowers that’s ready for its closeup in Wild Medicine in the Tropics. Snap your own macro shot and enter our photo contest!

Saurauia madrensis Enid A. haupt Conservatory Wild Medicine in the Tropics

Saurauia madrensis in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2015/01/photography/morning-eye-candy-making-macro-magic/

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Formalism Meets Naturalism, with A French Flair

Water Theater grove at Versailles Louis Benech

The rendering of the new Water Theater grove at Versailles features beeches and holm oaks in the landscape. (By Louis Benech)

Tomorrow we say bonjour to Louis Benech, a renowned French landscape designer and first speaker in our 15th Annual Winter Lecture Series, Le Jardin Français. Benech has carried out some 300 park and garden projects worldwide, including his celebrated reimagining of Louis XIV’s Water Theater grove at Versailles.

Louis Benech

Louis Benech. Photo by Eric Sander, 2012

In his lecture, “The Graceful Garden,” Benech will share his approach to garden creation and restoration, highlighting 10 gardens from his portfolio. His technique combines French formalism with a loose naturalism, two seemingly contradictory styles, with designs coaxed almost intuitively from the existing landscape.

We’re excited to see his masterwork for his project at Versailles, Louis XIV’s Water Theater grove, last designed by André Le Nôtre in the 17th century. So meticulous is his design that Benech ensured the height of the trees in the grove would not exceed 17 meters (56 feet) tall, so that the landscape is invisible from the Chateau de Versailles and in proportion to its location.

Another project we look forward to viewing is the Mas Sainte Anne, a garden in Provence, France, where Benech created a luxurious summer garden overlooking the Gulf of Saint Tropez, using strategically placed Mediterranean plants that direct the eye out toward the water.

Louis Benech Mas Saint Anne Gulf of Saint Tropez

Benech’s landscape design at Mas Sainte Anne leads the eye to the Gulf of Saint Tropez. (courtesy photo)

But Benech’s work isn’t limited to France. He’s designed outdoor spaces internationally, including the Pavlovsk’s rose pavilion in St. Petersburg and the Achilleion in Corfu. For homeowners in the U.S. who desire the elegance of French design firmly rooted in natural settings, Benech also has designed residential gardens, one of which he will visually treat us to tomorrow.

Louis Benech’s lecture begins at 10 a.m., Thursday, January 29, in the Ross Lecture Hall. Don’t miss this glimpse into his delightful work. See our 15th Annual Winter Lecture Series page for more information or to register to attend.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2015/01/adult-education/formalism-meets-naturalism-with-a-french-flair/

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Morning Eye Candy: Tropical Fire-Breather

Hibiscus rosa sinensis 'Red Dragon'
Hibiscus rosa sinensis ‘Red Dragon’ in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2015/01/photography/morning-eye-candy-tropical-fire-breather/

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Morning Eye Candy: Tiny & Tropical

Wild Medicine in the Tropics opens January 24!

Rheedia acuminata

Rheedia acuminata in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2015/01/photography/morning-eye-candy-tiny-tropical/

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Morning Eye Candy: Fiery Flower

Kleinia fulgens

Kleinia fulgens in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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This Weekend: Wild Medicine in the Tropics and our 2015 Photo Contest!

Wild Medicine in the TropicsStarting tomorrow, visitors will enter the lush rain forest under glass at NYBG’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory for Wild Medicine in the Tropics, an exhibition that explores the many medicinal plants in the Garden’s permanent collection. Enjoy the full experience with a guided tour, or at your own pace with NYBG’s award-winning app, Wild Medicine.

Saturday also marks the beginning of our Wild Medicine Photo Contest! Bring your camera to the Conservatory and take your best shot at capturing the many beautiful subjects within. The two categories are “Macro” (close-up) and “Sense of Place” (wide shot). Join our NYBG Flickr Group Pool to upload your contributions, and the weekly winners will be announced right here on Plant Talk. One winner in each category will be recognized each week—and for the Grand Prize at the end of the exhibition! The Grand Prize winners announced on Tuesday, February 24, will each be awarded a seat in the NYBG Adult Education photography class of their choice. Join fellow photography enthusiasts every weekend for Photography Tips Tricks in the Tropics, led by one of NYBG’s photo experts. Check out the contest rules for complete details.

Experience NYBG through your own lens and share your vision with us! Read on for the full schedule of special tours and programs this weekend.

Saturday, January 24

Hibiscus rosa sinensis 'Red Dragon'

Wild Medicine in the Tropics Guides – 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
In the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
Take a trip through paradise with a Garden guide who will highlight the interesting plants of our permanent collection in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

Bird Walk – 11 a.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
The diverse habitats of the Botanical Garden offer visitors a chance to see dozens of species of birds throughout the year. Bring your binoculars and walk the Garden grounds with an expert to learn about bird-friendly habitats, migrating species, and birds that make a permanent home at the Garden.

All Aboard! with Thomas Friends™ – 11 a.m., 1:30, 3:30, 5:30 p.m.
In Ross Hall
Join Thomas and Driver Sam on a fun-filled, sing-along, mini-performance adventure by helping them decorate the station in time for the big Sodor surprise party before the guest of honor arrives! Bring your camera to capture the moment during a photo-op with Thomas or purchase a souvenir photo from our professional photographers.

Winter Wonderland Tree Tour – 12:30  p.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Even in cold weather there’s plenty of interest in our gardens and collections. Meet at the Reflecting Pool and embark on an invigorating 45-minute walk to view the Garden’s stately conifer collection and old growth Forest amid the beauty of winter.

Photography Tips Tricks in the Tropics – 1–3 p.m., with tour at 1:30 p.m.
Meet at the Conservatory Palms of the World Gallery
Join our expert on hand in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory who will dispense garden photography tips, encouragement, and critique for budding photographers. Advice on perspective, lighting, and composition will be provided. Participation in the online photo contest is encouraged!
Please note: All-Garden Pass admission is required. No monopods or tripods are allowed in the Conservatory.

Conservatory Tour – 2:30 p.m.
Meet at the entrance to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
Explore the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, an acre of plants under glass, with one of the Garden’s Guides. Take an ecotour around the world through 11 distinct habitats, including two types of rain forest, deserts of the Americas and of Africa, and aquatic and carnivorous plant displays.

Sunday, January 25

Enid A. haupt Conservatory

Wild Medicine in the Tropics Guides – 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
In the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
Take a trip through paradise with a Garden guide who will highlight the interesting plants of our permanent collection in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

All Aboard! with Thomas Friends™ – 11 a.m., 1:30, 3:30, 5:30 p.m.
In Ross Hall
Join Thomas and Driver Sam on a fun-filled, sing-along, mini-performance adventure by helping them decorate the station in time for the big Sodor surprise party before the guest of honor arrives! Bring your camera to capture the moment during a photo-op with Thomas or purchase a souvenir photo from our professional photographers.

Conservatory Tour – 12:30 2:30 p.m.
Meet at the entrance to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
Explore the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, an acre of plants under glass, with one of the Garden’s Guides. Take an ecotour around the world through 11 distinct habitats, including two types of rain forest, deserts of the Americas and of Africa, and aquatic and carnivorous plant displays.

Photography Tips Tricks in the Tropics – 1–3 p.m., with tour at 1:30 p.m.
Meet at the Conservatory Palms of the World Gallery
Join our expert on hand in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory who will dispense garden photography tips, encouragement, and critique for budding photographers. Advice on perspective, lighting, and composition will be provided. Participation in the online photo contest is encouraged!
Please note: All-Garden Pass admission is required. No monopods or tripods are allowed in the Conservatory.

Ongoing Children’s Programs

NYBG Orchids
Evergreen Express
Saturday – 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m.; Sunday – 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

In the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden
Hop aboard the Evergreen Express for lively activities in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, where each station stop offers something new to create or explore! Build your own train puppet with master puppeteer Ralph Lee, join a musical marching parade around the collection, and visit the William and Lynda Steere Discovery Center, where a hands-on workshop with cones, needles, and other winter plant parts helps you craft your own miniature balsam fir pillow.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2015/01/garden-programming/this-weekend-wild-medicine-in-the-tropics-and-our-2015-photo-contest/

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Morning Eye Candy: New Skin

Look for hints of amber in the Native Plant Garden, where exfoliating trees create unique winter colors and textures.

Tree bark

In the Native Plant Garden

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Houseplants 101

Sonia Uyterhoeven is NYBG‘s Gardener for Public Education.


Phalaenopsis Monte Bianco IV

Phalaenopsis ‘Monte Bianco’

The weather has grown cold and we’re well into the season of staying indoors. During this time of year, I often look around my apartment at the few forlorn houseplants (I have horrible light) and wish that I could do more to “green up” my living space.

For the next two weeks, I will cover houseplant basics. As part of my preparation, I sat down with Mobee Weinstein, a Foreman at the Garden who has been working here for over 30 years. Mobee is an avid houseplant gardener. We discussed some of her favorite houseplants and the ones that she grows in her own home.

Houseplants are easy to grow as long as you are grounded in a basic understanding of three important factors: (1) the plants needs, (2) your particular home environment, and (3) your abilities as the guardian of these living creatures. Today we will cover the basics of what you need to know before you get started, focusing primarily on light and water.

Let there be light….

While light seems like a huge challenge, it is actually quite simple. Either you have the right light to grow a plant, or you don’t. We have all blundered somewhere in our gardening careers by trying to give our green friends either too much or too little light—often with disastrous results.

Plants can tell you what they need. You just need to learn their language. If you notice their leaves are getting smaller; the plant’s growth starts stretching upwards and outwards in a leggy fashion; variegation, if present, starts to turn green; lower leaves start falling off at an abnormal rate; or your plant just refuses to flower—then you are not providing enough light. Tell-tale signs for too much light include burned or scorched patches; a washed out appearance; leaves that are hot to the touch; or leaves that have dried out and are falling off.

Household light varies in intensity depending on the season and exposure. A southern-facing window offers bright, direct sunlight, provided the plants are placed within two feet of the sill. Bright, indirect light is generally three to four feet away from a southern-facing window.

East-facing windows are forgiving for almost all houseplants, except for those that require high light levels. The morning sun is a gentle light that will not burn foliage, yet it often provides enough light for most houseplants. West-facing windows are bright and hot in the afternoon sun. Homeowners sometimes remedy the intensity by placing sheer curtains on these windows.

Naturally, all of these rules can change depending on your surroundings. A friend of mine lives in a Manhattan high-rise and has been able to grow moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) in a north-facing window due to the high levels of reflected light and the lack of tall buildings shading her window.

The intensity of light changes with the season: plants that fare well in a southern exposure during the winter may have to be moved to an eastern-facing window in the summer, when the light is more intense. Remember to keep your windows clean, as well—dirty windows can block up to 50% of incoming light. If you do not have enough sunlight, artificial light also works well and it is easy to find a good, inexpensive indoor grow light system.

Mobee grows a Saguaro cactus in a southern window. In the winter, it likes the cool temperatures that it receives by being placed directly on the window sill. In the summer, the intense rays were initially too hot and it burned the window-facing side of the cacti. The plant quickly recovered, and the wounds calloused and hardened off. Mobee never rotates this plant—not only because it is wise to keep your hands away from such a spiny creature—but also because its window-facing wounds leave it looking less than pageant-ready. Her Saguaro, which is kept in a small pot to restrict its growth, is over 30 years old.

Mobee recommends that people start with tough plants that will reward beginner efforts. She has a collection of snake plants, or mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria); philodendron (Philodendron); and dracaena (Dracaena). These plants can handle a range of light conditions and generally look good regardless of their circumstances. She grows all of these plants in her home and chooses varieties that have interesting color patterns on their foliage, such as Philodendron ‘Brazil’.

Phragmipedium Eric Young

Phragmipedium ‘Eric Young’

Watering Woes….

I am often asked, “How often do I water my plant?” If I’m in a truthful mood, I answer, “When it needs it.” This, of course, is the epitome of a useless answer. There are plenty of variables that determine how much water a plant needs.

Plants have adapted to different environments to survive, but understanding their native environment will help in determining their watering needs. Associating one plant with a tropical rain forest and another with the desert suggests two extremely different care regimes. Don’t clump all of your plants together and expect them to be happy.

Large-leaved plants tend to need more water than small-leaved plants. Size matters, and large plants generally need more water than small ones—they have more surface area and tissue to support. Plants that are actively growing will need more water than plants that are dormant or in a resting stage.

For New Yorkers, location is everything. Plants follow this fashion. Plants in hot, sunny locations need more water than plants situated in the shade. They need more water during the summer than the winter. Plants living in porous clay pots dry out faster than plants potted in plastic containers. All of this is intuitive, but worth mentioning.

So how much do you water? By now you’ll likely have guessed that it depends on the plant that you select, the home you give it, and where you place it. There is, however, a general rule of thumb…or finger. The majority of your household plants will appreciate being saturated with water and then allowed to begin drying out.

What this means for the homeowner is if you stick your finger into the potting medium—down to your first knuckle (approximately one inch)—you will be able to determine whether you should water or not. Dry means water, cool and slightly damp means to leave it alone for another day or two. Always check your plant to see if it needs hydration. Remember, this is a general rule and there are plenty of exceptions. People tend to over-water instead of under-watering.

When watering your plant, use tepid water and water generously. It is much better to water deeply and infrequently than to provide shallow, frequent watering. Shallow watering means a shallow root system, and deeply rooted plants are healthier and happier.

Do not let your plants sit in standing water. While there are a few houseplants that will be delighted to have their feet wet—the beautiful South American slipper orchid (Phragmipedium) is one example—most plants need good drainage. If your container drains into a saucer, empty the water 15–30 minutes after you have watered.

If it appears that things have gone awry, then there are a few simple things to look out for to determine whether you are over- or under-watering your houseplant. Over-watering tends to lead to limp leaves (they sometimes look soggy) and both old and new leaves begin falling off the plant. With under-watering, the leaves will look wilted and dry and the oldest leaves fall off first.

In my conversation with Mobee, she reminded me of the central heating dilemma that many New Yorkers face. Mobee has several plants that she waters just as frequently in the winter as she does in the summer. The heating can be intense, particularly in certain corners of her apartment, and some plants need to be watered frequently due to the hot, dry air.

In general, she said that correct watering practices were probably one of the most crucial elements in good houseplant care. She individualizes her watering care for all of her plants. Over time, she has learned how much water each plant requires, as well as the frequency. She waters her plants so that the water finds its way to the pots’ drainage holes but does not overflow into the saucers. Knowing this information is not only good for the plants, but it also makes it easier for her to get away on vacation; she has specific instructions for her plant-sitter.

Next week, we will continue our primer on houseplants and look at temperature, humidity, soil, and fertilizer.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2015/01/tip-of-the-week/houseplants-101/

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Morning Eye Candy: Split Rock

Divided by glacial movement ages and ages ago, Split Rock is one of the defining features of the Native Plant Garden. I’d say it was the collection’s beauty mark, but there are just too many of those in there to elect one.

Split Rock

Split Rock in the Native Plant Garden – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2015/01/photography/morning-eye-candy-split-rock/

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Spend January at NYBG with Thomas the Tank Engine

Thomas the Tank Engine NYBGEveryone’s favorite train has arrived at NYBG as the star of a mini-performance that families can enjoy on their next Garden visit, now through January 25. Driver Sam and Thomas lead All Aboard with Thomas Friends, providing a fun-filled, interactive musical show where you can bring your camera to capture the moment during a photo-op with Thomas or purchase a souvenir photo from our professional photographers.

The 23rd annual Holiday Train Show is open through Monday, January 19, when the Garden will be open for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so complete your family’s Garden visit with this kid-friendly experience in Ross Hall. Have a look at the video below for a peek into this larger-than-life Thomas experience!

Even after the Holiday Train Show ends this coming Monday, January 19, kids can enjoy wintry fun with All Aboard with Thomas Friends—not to mention Evergreen Express in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. Check out the full performance schedule and plan your visit today!

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2015/01/garden-programming/spend-january-at-nybg-with-thomas-the-tank-engine/

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