Morning Eye Candy: Lean and Green

Before the Garden is ablaze with autumn foliage, we have a few more days to enjoy the lush greenery of summer.

nybg oak collection

In the Oak Collection – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/09/photography/morning-eye-candy-lean-and-green/

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Jump Into Fall at the Harvest Festival & Family Garden Picnic!

Mario Batali Cooking DemonstrationKick off thew new season and support the Edible Academy with food, live music, beer and wine talks, and even a live cooking demonstration with the one and only Chef Mario Batali!

On September 27 and 28 the Garden will host autumnal activities for the whole family at the Harvest Festival. Unwind with two full days of live music from such hit acts as Miss Tess and the Talkbacks, and Roosevelt Dime. Peruse the samples and offerings available for purchase at our Harvest Market, including live talks from featured purveyors. The Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden will host cooking demonstrations and family activities where kids can learn about the importance of pollinators. Read on for the details on Mario Batali’s special appearance!

The weekend’s festivities will culminate on Sunday, September 28, with an exclusive cooking demonstration hosted by Garden Board Member Chef Mario Batali and his co-host from ABC’s The Chew, Carla Hall, as part of the Edible Academy Family Picnic

Mario Batali’s cooking demonstration will be open to Harvest Festival Plus ticket purchasers, but for guaranteed seating and access to other exclusive events such as a booksigning with Carla Hall, explore our Family Garden Picnic ticket packages. All proceeds will support the Edible Academy, hub of the children’s gardening program at NYBG. Book your tickets now for the Harvest Festival and the Family Garden Picnic for fall fun at the Garden!

Harvest Festival New York Botanical Garden

Photo by Victor Chu

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/09/garden-programming/jump-into-fall-at-the-harvest-festival-family-garden-picnic/

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Morning Eye Candy: Conservatory Color

There is always something colorful to admire in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, every day of the year.

Bougainvillea-'James-Walker'
Bougainvillea ‘James Walker’ in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/09/photography/morning-eye-candy-conservatory-color/

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Morning Eye Candy: Eager

While the Home Gardening Center won’t see its crops plucked for the Harvest Festival, it’s certainly looking like it wants to be included.

Home Gardening Center

Vegetables in the Home Gardening Center – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/09/photography/morning-eye-candy-eager/

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Morning Eye Candy: Any Warm Hue Will Do

It may be known as the “red-coned cycad,” but this Conservatory star is occasionally fond of orange, too.

Encephalartos ferox

Red-coned cycad (Encephalartos ferox) in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/09/photography/morning-eye-candy-any-warm-hue-will-do/

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September’s Gardening Soundtrack

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.


Palm Dome NYBG

I recently became the Plant Records Manager here at NYBG, and when I was offered the position I thought I would be spinning plant records as a DJ at the Orchid Dinner and the Conservatory Ball. Just kidding! However, while I was fully prepared to take on the massive task of keeping tabs on the Garden’s living collections, I still secretly harbor a desire to play plant records—that is to say, to play records (or CDs, or MP3s, or whatever is en vogue now) about plants.

There’s so much good music out there about plants! Sure, there are tons of vague ditties about generic flowers (blue flowers, red flowers, wild flowers, where flowers have gone, and not getting flowers anymore) but I get particularly excited about songs that allow me to “botanize” because they’re about specific plants. Songs about plants that grow here at The New York Botanical Garden are even better.

helianthus divaricatus

Helianthus divaricatus

I especially enjoy Robert Plant because of his excellent surname, but also because he was the front man for Led Zeppelin. His 1993 solo album Fate of Nations features the lesser known song “29 Palms.” Although the song is named for a small California town, that town is named for plants in the Arecaceae family that grow there. If you’re not traveling to 29 Palms any time soon, you can stop by the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to see the many beautiful palms in the Palm Dome and other parts of this magnificent glasshouse (and there are way more than 29 of them). Palms are some of our oldest plants and, despite popular belief, are not actually trees!

Although they sound melancholy in the ballad “Sunflowers” by Low, the perennial woodland sunflower Helianthus divaricatus growing at the Native Plant Garden is sure to brighten any day. Both drought tolerant and deer resistant, this happy yellow face will bring birds and butterflies to your garden. Agreeing with Low, I think they are “sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet.”

Nelumbo nucifera

Nelumbo nucifera

As with many a plant record, Radiohead draws a metaphor between love and flowers in “Lotus Flower.” You might experience a similar passion for Nelumbo nucifera. Floating as if by magic in the pools behind the Conservatory, the giant flowers of this aquatic plant have their roots in the soil at the bottom of the pool. The dried seed heads are popular in flower arrangements and many parts of the plant are even edible. You can find them “swimming” along with our friendly koi.

Nepeta is a “kitty cat drug” in Shonen Knife’s catchy tune “Catnip Dream” and can cause some felines to act in a silly manner. There are no cats here, but Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ in the Perennial Garden is a favorite of bees and you will frequently find them buzzed out on this fragrant mint.

Nepeta racemosa

Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’

However, if you left your earbuds at home, there is plenty of auditory pleasure to be experienced throughout the Garden from the plants themselves. For instance, the papery swish of Hakonachloa macra (Hakone or Japanese forest grass) offers a satisfying sound as you brush past it. You can hear these in the Perennial Garden, Home Gardening Center, and Azalea Garden. Likewise, Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush) provides a natural soundtrack as persistent leaves rustle in the wind throughout the fall and winter. Listen to them in the Thain Family Forest, the Native Plant Garden, and other areas. Whether your horticultural soundtrack is natural or not, the Garden’s living collections enthrall all the senses!

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/09/horticulture-2/septembers-gardening-soundtrack/

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Morning Eye Candy: A New Look for Fall

Seasonal Walk is sporting a new look courtesy of acclaimed Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. A celebration of the beauty of plants throughout year, Seasonal Walk never goes out of style.

Seasonal Walk Piet Oudolf

Seasonal Walk – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/09/photography/morning-eye-candy-a-new-look-for-fall/

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This Weekend: Tours and More

NYBGIt’s another gorgeous September in New York! Come enjoy the Garden as late summer blissfully transitions into autumn. This weekend features a full roster of tours covering all facets of the Garden grounds. Prepare for your visit by exploring What’s Beautiful Now, and keep an eye out on grounds for the exciting installations that are part of our new Curator’s Spotlight series.

Unfortunately, our two remaining Family Dinners with Mario Batali’s Chefs are sold out—but tickets are still available to see Mario Batali himself lead an exclusive cooking demonstration at the Edible Academy Family Picnic on September 28! Click through to learn more about this special benefit event, and this weekend’s full programming schedule.


Saturday, September 13

Seasonal Walk Piet Oudolf

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.

Conservatory Tour – 11 a.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.

Native Plant Garden Tour – 12:30 p.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Join a tour guide for an insider’s view of the newly designed Native Plant Garden. Enjoy a mosaic of nearly 100,000 native trees, wildflowers, ferns and grasses designed to flourish in every season.

Garden Highlights Tour– 2:30 p.m.
In the Ross Hall
Sights and scents emerge across the 250-acres of the Botanical Garden. Join a Garden Guide for a walking tour featuring highlights of the gardens and plant collections, like the Native Plant and Perennial Gardens.


Sunday, September 14

0914-lavender-banner0PT-570x200

Native Plant Garden Tour – 12:30 2:30 p.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Join a tour guide for an insider’s view of the newly designed Native Plant Garden. Enjoy a mosaic of nearly 100,000 native trees, wildflowers, ferns and grasses designed to flourish in every season.

SOLD OUT Family Dinners with Mario Batali’s Chefs
Tickets are sold out for our two remaining al fresco Family Dinners, presented by MasterCard® Priceless® New York. But don’t despair! Tickets are still available for the Edible Academy Family Picnic with Mario Batali on Sunday, September 28! Chef Mario Batali and his co-host from ABC’s The Chew, Carla Hall, will lead an exclusive family picnic and cooking demonstration, with all proceeds benefiting the Garden’s Edible Academy, hub of the children’s vegetable gardening program. Tickets are going fast for this exclusive special celebration, so get yours now!


Ongoing Children’s Programs

NYBG Ruth Rea Family Garden Bees Pollinators

Family Adventures: Focusing on Nature – 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
In the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden
Children will explore the art of garden photography and will even have the opportunity to become garden photographers themselves. Through a series of stops within the Garden, they will see the world through a new lens as they learn how observations in science and nature have been recorded throughout time. They will also receive tips about perspective, scale, and framing when taking photographs.

Dig, Plant, Grow: Pollinator Palls: Bees and Butterflies
In the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden
The Family Garden is buzzing in late summer! Join us to learn about important pollinators: our honeybees and the monarch butterflies passing us by on their way to Mexico.

Mario Batali’s Kitchen Gardens – 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden
Kids can explore with Mario’s Menu Mystery game, featuring favorite vegetables and herbs from nine of his restaurants’ kitchens, including Otto and Del Posto.

Cooking Demonstrations – 2 4 p.m.
At the Whole Foods Market® Family Garden Kitchen
From late spring into early fall, learn to cook up flavorful new recipes using garden-fresh ingredients, twice a day on Wednesdays and weekends in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden.
Sponsored by Whole Foods Market and Viking

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/09/garden-programming/this-weekend-tours-and-more/

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Morning Eye Candy: Rare Giant

An uncommon visitor to the Rock Garden this summer caught the eye (and camera) of our resident bird and wildlife aficionado, Debbie Becker.

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) in the Rock Garden – Photo by Debbie Becker

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A Thriving Bundle of Twigs

Christian Primeau is the NYBG‘s Manager of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.


The stick plant (Cynanchum marnierianum) in bloom

The stick plant (Cynanchum marnierianum) in bloom

The following is an excerpt from a conversation I had with my lovely wife regarding one of my favorite plants:

“Is it…dead?”

“No, it’s not dead.”

“Are you sure?”

“Well, it’s what I do for a living, so yes, I’m sure.”

“I think its dead.”

“I assure you it is alive.”

“I’m just saying it doesn’t look that way.”

As thrilled as I’d be to title this blog post “The Time I Was Right,” let me set aside petty triumphs (I’ll celebrate later) and address this mystery plant that looks dead, but isn’t. You don’t often stumble across Cynanchum marnierianum for sale and very rarely will you see it on display. The reason is fairly evident—most people wouldn’t consider a plant that looks like a bundle of dead twigs all that stimulating.

Call me a contrarian, but when I hear someone exclaim how ugly a plant is, it makes me love it that much more. Let us save the pretty plants for those with no imagination! I think maybe Proust said that. I appreciate conventionally beautiful plants as much as the next person but, like Grumpy Cat or Adrien Brody, some things appear so bizarre one can’t help but love them.

Garden staff display a deceptively healthy stick plant

Garden staff display a deceptively healthy stick plant

Cynanchum marnierianum, or “Stick Plant,” is certainly a fascinating oddity. In the arid scrub forests and dry plateaus of Madagascar where it is native, plants have evolved to be tough, to take advantage of scarce resources and, above all, to protect themselves against predation. Herbivorous animals enduring the same harsh conditions would love nothing more than an easy meal. While Euphorbia species from these areas produce a caustic sap, and plants such as Pachypodium and Alluaudia are armed with vicious spines, Cynanchum takes survival strategy a step further: it plays dead.

A stick plant flower

A stick plant flower

The thin, roughly-textured, rambling olive drab to brown stems camouflage the plant perfectly amid dry grasses, stone, and scrub. Any hungry creature looking for a nutritious entree would certainly pass over the decidedly unappetizing dead “twig” and continue on, hoping for greener pastures. Each October, however, Cynanchum breaks character and emerges from obscurity. Intricate golden-green flowers resembling miniature Chinese lanterns burst forth along the entire length of the stem, emitting an intoxicating perfume reminiscent of Froot Loops cereal. I ask you, does it get any better than that? This cereal-loving horticulturist doesn’t think so.

I encourage plant enthusiasts to give a few “unconventionally beautiful” plants a chance now and again—they just may surprise you. Like many succulents, Cynanchum marnierianum requires only a well-drained soil mix and good sun to thrive. The absolutely spectacular 25-year-old specimen cared for by NYBG’s dedicated Nolen Greenhouse staff is living proof. Key word “living!”

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/09/horticulture-2/a-thriving-bundle-of-twigs/

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