Morning Eye Candy: Sugar Fix

Take it from this little hummingbird— the key to taking on Monday is an energizing breakfast!

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In the Perennial Garden – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

 

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/08/photography/morning-eye-candy-sugar-fix/

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How Many Birds Can One Tree Nourish?

Joyce H. Newman holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden and has been a Tour Guide for over seven years. She is a blogger for Garden Variety News and the former editor of Consumer Reports GreenerChoices.org.


The Living LandscapeThe answer to our titular question is provided by Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke in their new book, The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, out this summer from Timber Press ($39.95) and available in NYBG’s Shop in the Garden.

In the book, Tallamy, known as the “guru” of native plant gardening for his earlier, award-winning book, Bringing Nature Home, actually recorded as many as 20 different bird species—many beautifully photographed in the book—eating berries and insects from an alternate-leaf dogwood tree planted outside his bathroom window.

“So many birds visit this tree during the summer that our bathroom has become the hottest birding destination in our house,” he jokes. But the serious message of this story and one of most important points of his entire new book is that “our plants are our bird feeders!”

For home gardeners wanting to create a native garden, the back section of the book is a goldmine, containing 77 pages listing and cross-referencing the many ecological and landscape functions of native plants. The lists help you get a start if you’re looking for plants that provide nest sites for birds, pollen for bees and other insects, food for foxes and other wildlife, edible fruits for people, and much more. The easy-to-use lists focus mainly on plants native to our Mid-Atlantic region, but there are lists for all the other U.S. regions as well.

For the first time, this book introduces home gardeners to the concept of multidimensional layering in their own residential landscapes, starting from below ground and moving up. Here the layers are sort of unpacked both vertically and horizontally and in terms of cultural and temporal layers—the ability of a natural habitat to perpetuate itself over time.

Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke

Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke at The High Line

Multidimensional layering in a healthy, living landscape is in fact the key concept and main takeaway from this book. After reading it, your perspective of the garden landscape is totally altered to a 3-D or even a 4-D view. The book is so richly illustrated that understanding the different layers becomes easier as you go.

A series of powerful photographs by Rick Darke, taken from season to season at the 1.5-acre, residential Pennsylvania landscape that he owns with his wife, Melinda Zoehrer, shows how they achieved a layered design, structure, scale, and diverse plantings over more than two decades. These images and the personal stories that each author provides are especially instructive and inspiring.


Images courtesy of Timber Press.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/08/nybg-shop-in-the-garden/how-many-birds-can-one-tree-nourish/

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Morning Eye Candy: Artfully Asymmetrical

So much more than wreaths and bouquets find their way into existence when you’re learning from our Adult Education instructors.

Adult Education

From a Floral Design course in NYBG’s Adult Education program – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Morning Eye Candy: Seclusion

These benches directly across from the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden offer shade, shelter, and a hint of surrealism—perfect for conversation.

Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden Bench

Across from the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

 

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/08/photography/morning-eye-candy-seclusion/

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Morning Eye Candy: An Explosion of Color

The aptly-named Lagerstroemia indica ‘Dynamite’ is lending a burst of red to the Ladies’ Border.

Lagerstroemia indica Dynamite

Lagerstroemia indica ‘Dynamite’ in the Ladies’ Border – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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An Urban Garden’s Mysticism

Diana Soler is a NYC Summer Youth Employee with Bronx Green-Up, the community gardening outreach program of The New York Botanical Garden.


Bronx Green Up Community WorkdayGrowing up in the city, I wasn’t one to appreciate wildlife. I ran away from it. Tall buildings and concrete provided me with comfort. Seeing empty lots of land confirmed this attitude for me. They looked like restricted mini-forests, having fences around the perimeter with weeds and trash caged inside. It was almost as if these spaces don’t exist, as the urban life surrounding them doesn’t acknowledge the presence of nature and all of the mystical treasures it has inside.

Luckily, I was given the chance to see the light of these enchanted forests. While working for Bronx Green-Up (the community gardening outreach program of The New York Botanical Garden) as part of NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program, I was exposed to community gardens that are being cared for and acknowledged by urban green thumbs. These once abandoned lots were turned into spaces where local community members can garden and establish meaningful relationships with both plants and people. The first task I am usually given when entering a new garden is to pull out weeds. I didn’t really know what I was doing at first. My common sense just told me to pull out the ones that look ugly, or that don’t quite fit in with the rest of the plants. Also, if there are decent-sized flowers on them, then those can stay.

Boy, was I wrong. During an office day, Community Horticulturist at Bronx Green-Up Sara Katz was planning a workshop about identifying different weeds found in Bronx gardens. She wanted me to make flashcards classifying different types of weeds for the workshop. This research project turned out to be a reality check for me. Weeds are awesome! Although there are some weeds that shouldn’t be kept in a garden for the sake of protecting other plants from their effects, there are a lot of benefits to having weeds. Some weeds, like the red clover (Trifolium pratense), are good to keep because they improve the soil. Red clover has nitrogen-fixing bacteria clinging to its roots, which helps the plant create a habitat that provides nitrogen for other plants. Others, like the hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium), have beautiful flowers but are very dangerous to keep around other plants. As Bindweed grows, the vine tends to wrap itself around other plants which slowly kill them.

Daucus carota Queen Anne's Lace Carrot

Wild carrot, also known as Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota)

My favorites are the edible weeds. A lot of weeds, like the Wild Carrot, are used for medicinal purposes. Wild Carrot (Daucus carota), which has a cluster of white flowers and smells exactly like a carrot, was once used as a diuretic. Some are just tasty, like Chicory (Cichorium intybus) which has tall, bright blue flowers. The roots are sometimes added to coffee when ground or roasted. Some edible weeds can even be used to make tea for multiple purposes. Tea made from the Common Mallow (Malva neglecta) root, nicknamed “cheeses” because of the fruit’s shape, can be used for digestive problems and bronchitis. A wooly-leaved Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) tea can treat chest colds and reduce swelling.

For most people, the difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment. For some, weeds provide an alternate lifestyle in diet, health and wellness. As I walk home each day from work, I take a minute to soak in all the mysticism that lies in those enchanted forests a few blocks away.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/08/learning/an-urban-gardens-mysticism/

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Morning Eye Candy: Landing Pad

Bumblebee and coneflower

A bumblebee atop a ruby-star coneflower in the Home Gardening Center – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez

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This Weekend: A Highlight of Summer

0814-purple-blossom-thumbnail-PT-250x280Happy Friday! After today’s rain, we have two days of sunny, mild weather to look forward to here at NYBG. Come admire the splendor of summer before August passes us by completely.

This weekend features a very special Garden Highlights tour focusing on poisonous plants! A Garden guide will lead two tours of fascinating plant species that with healing—or harmful—properties. When it comes to plants, the line between medicine and poison can be a narrow one indeed, and the myths and facts circulating in popular culture could always use a little more clarification. Learn more about plants’ effects on the body year-round with our award-winning Wild Medicine app.

Read on for this weekend’s complete schedule of programs at NYBG, including a whole new season of Dig! Plant! Grow!—this time focusing on those beloved and vital friends of any garden: pollinators.

Saturday, August 23
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Garden Highlights: Poisonous Plants – 12:30 2:30 p.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
The sights and scents of the season flourish across the 250 acres of the Botanical Garden. Join us for a walking tour featuring intriguing plant species with healing and poisonous capabilities.

From Ragtime to Jazz: The Roots of Pop – 1 3:30 p.m.
In the Ross Hall
Music from the period of Groundbreakers—ragtime, jazz, Broadway, and beyond to Hollywood—had a great impact on American culture. Enjoy a variery of styles in live performances by a trio of artists, including musical producer, pianist, and historian Terry Waldo, featuring the works of Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Irving Berlin, and Tin Pan Alley composers such as George Gershwin, George M. Cohan, and Dorothy Fields.

Film Screening: Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley – 2 p.m.
In the Ross Hall
Many popular music standards of the Tin Pan Alley era (1920–49) were written by women, including Dorothy Fields, Kay Swift, Dana Suesse, and Ann Ronell, who were among the most influential songwriters of the time. This PBS documentary includes archival footage, motion picture clips, and rarely seen photographs, as well as performance clips of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Perry Como.

Sunday, August 24
lily pads conservatory pools

Perennial Garden Tour – 12:30 p.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Join a Garden Guide for a tour of the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden, which combines a vast palette of colors, textures, flowers, and foliage to create interest in every season.

From Ragtime to Jazz: The Roots of Pop – 1 3:30 p.m.
In the Ross Hall
Music from the period of Groundbreakers—ragtime, jazz, Broadway, and beyond to Hollywood—had a great impact on American culture. Enjoy a variery of styles in live performances by a trio of artists, including musical producer, pianist, and historian Terry Waldo, featuring the works of Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Irving Berlin, and Tin Pan Alley composers such as George Gershwin, George M. Cohan, and Dorothy Fields.

Film Screening: Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley – 2 p.m.
In the Ross Hall
Many popular music standards of the Tin Pan Alley era (1920–49) were written by women, including Dorothy Fields, Kay Swift, Dana Suesse, and Ann Ronell, who were among the most influential songwriters of the time. This PBS documentary includes archival footage, motion picture clips, and rarely seen photographs, as well as performance clips of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Perry Como.

Forest Tour – 2:30 p.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Experience the beauty of the Garden’s 50-acre Thain Family Forest on this one-hour walking tour with an expertly trained Guide. You’ll learn facts about the trees, history, geology, and ecology of this original, uncut woodland.

Ongoing Children’s Programs
Seasonal Walk border NYBG

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.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/08/garden-programming/this-weekend-a-highlight-of-summer/

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“M” is for Mint

Mentha spicata

Mentha spicata

In Greek mythology, the goddess Persephone suspected her husband Hades, god of the underworld, of having a tryst with a nymph named Minthe. In a jealous rage, she transformed the lovely nymph into a perennial herb. Hades, unable to counteract his wife’s spell, bestowed Minthe with a sweet smell so that she would continue to delight those who came in contact with her.

Clearly, the aromatic qualities of mint are legendary. Through the centuries, mint has played an important role in many cultures, from the Greeks who rubbed mint leaves on their tables to welcome guests, to India, where it was strewn around temples and homes to clean the air. In the middle east, mint tea is often brought out to greet friends in the home.

Unlike many herbs that prefer sunny, dry spots, mints prefer moist soil in part shade/sun. As many of us know too well from experience, however, they are highly adaptable plants—and that’s putting it mildly. They grow in a wide range of conditions and are only too happy to expand their territory once they are planted in the ground. When I was a kid, my mother planted peppermint behind the vegetable garden; years later, the vegetable garden is gone, but the mint still thrives.

One trick to keeping the mint in bounds is to plant it in a large, bottomless container that you sink into the ground. I generally grow mint in decorative containers where I am not bothered by the prospect of colonizing impulses, and keep it close by so I can cut off sprigs for iced teas.

Don’t be shy with mint, either. The reasons for growing it outnumber the drawbacks, and they make for more than a refreshing addition to summer beverages. Mints are also a wonderful pest repellant. City dwellers can plant members of the mint family around residential buildings to deter rats. Mint-scented garbage bags have been on the market for over a decade now, touted as a first-rate rodent repellant.

Deer and rabbits will leave mint plants alone due to their aromatic qualities, too. According to companion planting lore, they partner well with cabbages, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, not only improving the flavor of their neighbor but also deterring flea beetles and white cabbage butterflies.

MintThe most common mints on the market are peppermint (Mentha × piperita), spearmint (Mentha spicata), and apple mint (Mentha suaveolens). Peppermint has a strong, spicy flavor, while spearmint tends to be sweeter. People who discover that they have an intolerance for peppermint (it doesn’t agree with everyone) should give spearmint it a try.

Apple mint has soft green foliage and a pleasant apple fragrance. It tolerates dry conditions better than most mints and grows well indoors. The mild, slightly fruity leaves are generally candied or used in fruit salads.

As mentioned, these mints work well when used to make tea and combine nicely with carrots, peas, and potatoes to lend a refreshing flavor to any dish. Toss them onto pasta at the last minute as you would basil, or indulge and dip the mint leaves in chocolate, then let them harden in the refrigerator until you’re ready to dress up a dessert dish.

Other mints that are worth trying are chocolate mint (Mentha × piperita f. citrata ‘Chocolate’), grapefruit mint (Mentha suaveolens × piperita), orange mint (Mentha × piperita f. citrata), pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’), and curly mint (Mentha spicata var. crispa). Whatever you choose to grow, you should have a refreshing addition to your summer menu to last you and then some.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/08/tip-of-the-week/m-is-for-mint/

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Morning Eye Candy: Under the Trellis

A walk to remember…in the sense that it takes you directly to a pleasant, shady sittin’ place.

Home Gardening Center

In the Home Gardening Center – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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