Sonia Uyterhoeven is the NYBG’s Gardener for Public Education.
While many of us are spending the last day of 2013 furiously editing our list of New Year’s resolutions into something manageable, The New York Botanical Garden is still running full steam ahead with holiday cheer. There are no signs of diets, abandoned gym memberships, or disorganized files to be found—quite the opposite, in fact! The Holiday Train Show is running through January 12 with some marvelous new attractions sure to capture the imaginations of first-time and frequent visitors alike. And for those of you looking to entertain small children, All Aboard with Thomas and Friends returns this Wednesday, January 1, for nearly a month of mini performance adventures featuring sing-alongs and photo opportunities with the famed locomotive.
Meanwhile, it’s a beautiful time of the year to bundle up and take a leisurely walk around the Garden grounds. The Benenson Ornamental Conifer Collection is looking its boreal best with its extensive collection of unusual evergreens suited to both sunny and shady locations.
Elsewhere in the Garden, the yuletide is just as strong. Inside the Visitor Center near our Mosholu Gate, large half boxes are overflowing with holiday displays. Weeping Alaska cedars, also known as weeping Nootka cypress (Cupressus nootkatensis ‘Glauca Pendula’) stand like majestic spires, nodding gracefully to passersby. Underneath the skirt of the conifers, a colorful display is composed of glaucous shore junipers (Juniperus rigida spp. conferta ‘Blue Pacific’), the golden dwarf sawara-cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’), and the cheery, red-fruited winterberry (Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’). Just beyond the main entrance, the tall red twig dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’) marches along a border leading into the Garden, giving it a festive feel.
Hiburnal moments abound throughout the Garden as well. A decorative display adorns the mixed borders by the entrance of the Catering office at the old Café, with variegated and green hollies forming the backdrop. The display is composed of seasonal boughs—pine, fir, incense cedar and juniper stems laden with berries. The boughs are artistically arranged and secured to the soil with landscape pins, while large pine cones complete the design, which brightens up borders and lasts throughout the holiday season.
For the home craftsman working with conifers, remember that pine sap can easily be removed from your hands with Purell or any good hand sanitizer. Tecnu, the tried and true outdoor skin cleaner used to combat poison ivy, also works superbly to get rid of that sticky sap. For cleaning tools, I use WD-40 and rubbing alcohol, while witch hazel is also a good option for both hands and clothes.
Come join us for a nice wintery stroll around the garden, partake in post-holiday festivities, and warm up in the café afterwards over a nice cup of cocoa. New Year’s resolutions can wait for another day!
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