Morning Eye Candy: One By One

We’re approaching peak color in the next few weeks! Check our Foliage Tracker to make sure you catch the leaves at their most vibrant.

fall foliage NYBG

In the Thain Family Forest – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/10/photography/morning-eye-candy-one-by-one/

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Morning Eye Candy: Tree of Life

Ross Conifer Arboretum

European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’) in the Ross Conifer Arboretum – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/10/photography/morning-eye-candy-tree-of-life/

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Leaf Propagation: A Succulent Shared

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


Nolen Greenhouses gardener Karen Drews takes leaf cuttings

Nolen Greenhouses gardener Karen Drews takes leaf cuttings

Who doesn’t love a sharer? Not an over-sharer, like Harold in Accounting, whose detailed inquest into his latest digestive afflictions has positively ruined my lunch hour three days running (I’m a horticulturist, not a doctor, Harold…we’ve been over this). No, I’m referring to the sweet woman who makes popcorn and secretly gifts you a handful, or the savior who brings coffee for everyone on Monday morning. And while you won’t even get within visual range of any popcorn or coffee in my possession, I am a prolific sharer of plants, so I do have a few friends left about the office.

Propagating plants can be as painless and satisfying as popping corn, pressing “brew” on the coffee machine, or simply eating lunch outside under a shady tree to avoid Harold. This is especially true of rosette succulents like Echeveria. Often referred to as Mexican Hens and Chicks, these Central and South American species adore sun, tolerate neglect, and exhibit a vast array of captivating leaf forms as well as flower and foliage colors. Truth be told, it’s a painfully easy group of plants to become enamored with and collect. The good news is that propagating and sharing your echeverias is a great way to make someone’s day and assuage the guilt of having spent far too much money on internet plant auctions. Be sure to remind your very patient and understanding spouse that smiles are priceless. PRICELESS.

Planted leaf cuttings

Planted leaf cuttings

Luckily, one Echeveria can yield a bounty of babies (and therefore smiles!) A word of warning, however: the first act involves courage as it entails “decimating” your lovely plant by gently detaching each mature leaf from the stem. Fear not—every thick, succulent leaf is a self-contained “power pack” with the ability to continue photosynthesizing and enough stored moisture to put that energy to immediate use growing new roots and leaves.

The second step is no more challenging. Simply lay each leaf directly on the surface of a moistened, well-drained cactus/succulent soil mix, or bury the detached end of each leaf in the medium at a 45-degree angle, tamping lightly around the base to secure it firmly in position. Place your leaf cuttings in bright, indirect light in a warm, well ventilated area.

Succulent leaf cuttings show the beginnings of new rosettes.

Succulent leaf cuttings show the beginnings of new rosettes.

For the next four to five weeks you’ll play the waiting game. If you keep the mix ever so slightly moist during that time, you will experience what I find to be one of the most rewarding aspects of horticulture. From the base of each leaf will emerge delicate young roots followed by one or more miniature new rosettes. These rosettes will grow and strengthen, absorbing moisture and nutrients in the soil as well as the still-attached “mother leaf.”

When the original leaf begins to yellow and shrivel, you can carefully transplant each new rosette into its own little pot. You are now poised to shower your friends and coworkers with leafy love. Yes…even Harold.

I encourage you to experiment with this simple propagation technique. Remember, it works just as well on Graptopetalum, Sedum, Kalanchoe, and many other succulent plant species. Have fun! Share! Go forth and multiply your plants!

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/10/horticulture-2/leaf-propagation-a-succulent-shared/

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Morning Eye Candy: One By One

We’re approaching peak color in the next few weeks! Check our Foliage Tracker to make sure you catch the leaves at their most vibrant.

fall foliage NYBG

In the Thain Family Forest – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Morning Eye Candy: As The Trees Turn

Our Foliage Tracker is now at 35%!

Ross Conifer Arboretum

In the Ross Conifer Arboretum – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/10/photography/morning-eye-candy-as-the-trees-turn/

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Morning Eye Candy: Nature’s Bounty

Perennial Garden
The Perennial Garden – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/10/photography/morning-eye-candy-natures-bounty/

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Fruiting Frame of Mind

Jaime Morin is The New York Botanical Garden’s Assistant Curator in horticulture. She works with the plant records and curation teams to help keep the garden’s information on its living collections up to date. She also oversees the details of the garden’s Living Collections Phenology Project.


Callicarpa japonica beautyberry

Beautyberry (Callicarpa japonica)

Autumn is by far my favorite season. I know it doesn’t bring that sigh of relief the first warm day of spring seems to evoke, nor does it allow for long days at the beach or lake. Yet, what it lacks in promised warmth it makes up for in color. As a native New Englander I was brought up with a strong appreciation for bright fall foliage and the joys of falling into a freshly raked pile of leaves. What I didn’t begin to appreciate until I started really looking at plants in my professional life were the bright colors and interesting forms of fruit and seeds that autumn delivers to us. I don’t mean tasty fall favorites like the apple, but the smaller seed carriers that are often missed if you’re not looking for them.

Take a couple of my favorite colorful fruiting shrubs, beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.) and winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata), as examples. Callicarpa have attractive arching branches with demure flowers in early summer, but they shine brightest in fall when dense clusters of vibrant purple fruit cling along the stems creating the late season echo to the pink redbud flowers from spring. Similarly, Ilex verticillata isn’t your typical wall of evergreen holly foliage. By late October this shrub has dropped its foliage and the females are covered with fruit in fiery hues like orange or red.

What about fruits with interesting form? I love strolling through the Native Plant Garden, Azalea Garden, and Thain Family Forest in the fall to check out all of the different aster seed heads. This group of herbaceous perennials sets beautiful, dense clusters of fluffy seed heads that create plumes of delicate texture. They also seem to have a knack for catching the afternoon sunlight just right. If pretty and delicate isn’t your thing, look out for the sweetgum’s (Liquidambar styraciflua) one-inch “gumballs.” These mace-shaped fruit hang from their trees until late fall, when they drop to the ground. To me these cool, spiny seed bearers look like a medieval weapon ready to strike. If you’ve ever stepped on one in bare feet they feel like that, too!

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I must gently remind our enthusiastic readers that no matter how beautiful or delicious-looking a fruit may be, plucking things from our plants here at the garden should be avoided. Many of our gardeners and curators need to collect these seeds to further develop the garden’s collections. In fact, one of my favorite horticultural tasks involves collecting seeds for curators here and at other botanical institutions. To me the act of preserving species diversity and sharing wonderful plants with colleagues brings a feeling of purpose and excitement to an already festive season! We aren’t the only ones that try to track down these seeds, though. Migratory birds and small woodland animals preparing for winter also collect fruits and seeds to help them prepare for the harsh winter months ahead.

ginkgo biloba

Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba)

Another beautiful fall feature (but too often dismissed as undesirable to many) are the seeds of Ginkgo biloba, or maidenhair tree. Female specimens of these iconic street trees produce smooth, round seeds with a fleshy red covering that are very pretty and have been cultivated for human consumption for centuries. Their one shortcoming in a garden, park, or campus setting is the putrid smell that they give off after they have dropped and sat on the pavement for a day or two. Because of this, many landscape designs call for male trees specifically. These plants often don’t reach sexual maturity until 20 years old so every once in a while you may get one that surprises you. My Nana always said “leave the world a little sillier than you found it,” and I truly believe that we can ascribe that same philosophy to unique plants as well. Despite their rank smell these fall seeds are too interesting to shy away from!

Of course I would be remiss to gloss over some of our interesting yet lesser known edible fruits. Kousa dogwoods (Cornus kousa) develop deep red wrecking ball-shaped orbs that hang from the trees. Their thick skinned fruits have soft orange flesh that is delightfully sweet albeit a little bit mealy in texture. Our native chokeberries also produce a delectable fall offering. Their tart black or red fruits pack an incredible punch of nutrients and antioxidants. Finally if you are a connoisseur of tart treats, the American cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) offers bright red treats that you won’t have to race the birds to. Our current first year class of SOPH students chuckled this past week as they watched me bite into one and cringe at its still-too-tart astringency.

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Please remember, though, to be wary of what plants you choose to eat from. You should never forage unfamiliar plants without the help of a professional. As city dwellers and suburbanites, we are instilled with a justified fear of unknown fruits. In fact one of my neighbors in my apartment complex gapes at me in horror as I harvest serviceberries from the tree in front of our building every summer. Each year I ask him if he would like some of the sweet bounty just to garner a response of “You’re going to poison yourself with those things and I don’t want you taking me down with you.” It’s an annual ritual between him and me that makes me happy for two reasons; it leaves more delicious treats for me and he is not risking his health because a random, petite girl in flannel says it’s alright.

Next time you go out for a crisp fall stroll remember to look beyond the flashy foliage to discover a whole world of shapes, textures, and colors in fruit. There is incredible diversity out there just waiting to be noticed and appreciated!

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/10/horticulture-2/fruiting-frame-of-mind/

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Morning Eye Candy: Splish Splash

After yesterday’s rain, we’re glad the splashing has been restricted to the Rock Garden’s cascade.

Rock garden NYBG cascade

In the Rock Garden – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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This Weekend: Carve Out Some Family Time

Ray Villafane pumpkin picasso master carving class

Ray Villafane leads his sold out Pumpkin Picasso carving class at NYBG

Ray Villafane is back at NYBG tomorrow for Pumpkin Carving Weekend. See this year’s massive zombie carving come to life after touring The Haunted Pumpkin Garden. Check out Ray’s exclusive artist’s rendering of his apocalyptic pumpkin vision here—it’s like no jack-o’-lantern you’ve ever seen! In fact, Ray is at Grand Central Terminal today until 7 p.m. beginning work on his masterpiece in a live demonstration that is open to the public! Stop by if you’re in midtown, but come to the Garden this weekend to see the finished product.

Kids are welcome to complete the Halloween fun with the Budding Masters Creepy Pumpkin Carving Adventure this Saturday, open exclusively to MasterCard cardholders. Saturday and Sunday will also feature the return of Creepy Creatures of Halloween. Erik Zeidler, the host of this popular and educational program, recently visited Good Day New York with some of his amazing reptiles to discuss his work with the Garden. Head below to check out some of the eye-popping live creatures your family can visit this weekend, along with our impressive pumpkin installation.

Kiku has only a couple of weeks left, so come enjoy a bite at our Japanese Pop-Up Restaurant while there’s still time! In the meanwhile, enjoy this Creepy Creatures clip from Good Day New York, and check out the full schedule of weekend programs.


Saturday, October 18
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Roaming Guides – 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
In the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
Get an in-depth look into the world of Kiku with guides stationed throughout the exhibition.

Creepy Creatures of Halloween–12 2 p.m.
Part of The Haunted Pumpkin Garden
At the Clay Family Picnic Pavilions
Some of the animals that make us scream are actually the coolest animals around. Meet some new critters from our big backyard and beyond during this live presentation and discover the unique adaptations that help them survive in their habitats.

Fruit and Berry Tree Tour- 12:30 p.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Even in cold weather there’s plenty to explore in our gardens and collections. Join one of our Guides for this walking tour highlighting fruits and berries from our trees and shrubs.

Taiko Drumming — 1 3 p.m.
Thunderous and thrilling, the taiko (Japanese drum) has been called “the voice and spirit of the Japanese people.” From its roots in agriculture and use in the ancient music in shrines and temples, traditional taiko folk music is believed to have entertained the gods, attracted good fortune, driven away evil forces and insects, lent strength and courage to warriors, and celebrated life. Join in the celebration with the skilled drummers from Taiko Masala.

Fall Foliage Tour- 2:30 p.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Fantastic fall foliage spreads out across our 250-acres in a sea of orange, crimson, and gold. From maples to oaks to beeches to unexpected surprises, you’ll see everything that’s glorious about fall. Come immerse yourself in all the spectacular colors of the season.

Spooky Nighttime Adventures – 6:30–8:30 p.m. (entry times at 6:30 7 p.m.)
Part of The Haunted Pumpkin Garden
Everett Children’s Adventure Garden
Now with more spooky fun! Grab a Con Edison flashlight and explore the exhibit as you travel along the Whole Foods Market® Trick-or-Treat Trail after dark. Listen for critters of the night or sit in on a spooky ghost story. Capture a family photo with larger-than-life skeletons and costumed characters. For those who dare, see the giant pumpkin displays illuminated in the darkness and journey along the meandering Mitsubishi Wild Wetland Trail.

Sunday, October 19
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Roaming Guides – 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
In the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
Get an in-depth look into the world of Kiku with guides stationed throughout the exhibition.

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.

Creepy Creatures of Halloween–12 2 p.m.
Part of The Haunted Pumpkin Garden
At the Clay Family Picnic Pavilions
Some of the animals that make us scream are actually the coolest animals around. Meet some new critters from our big backyard and beyond during this live presentation and discover the unique adaptations that help them survive in their habitats.

Taiko Drumming — 1 3 p.m.
Thunderous and thrilling, the taiko (Japanese drum) has been called “the voice and spirit of the Japanese people.” From its roots in agriculture and use in the ancient music in shrines and temples, traditional taiko folk music is believed to have entertained the gods, attracted good fortune, driven away evil forces and insects, lent strength and courage to warriors, and celebrated life. Join in the celebration with the skilled drummers from Taiko Masala.

Ongoing Children’s Programs
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Family Adventures: The Haunted Pumpkin Garden – 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
In the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden
The Haunted Pumpkin Garden returns to its roots with a massive display of pumpkins and gourds from North America, ranging from the unusual to the gargantuan. Thousands of specimens will create a unique and fascinating backdrop to the slate of Halloween activities in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. Every day kids can play inside the Pumpkin House, put on a scary show at the Pumpkin Puppet Theater, look for wiggly worms under a rotting log, and plant a pumpkin seed to take home, while each weekend offers parades and even more treats. Bring your whole family to enjoy this exciting annual tradition at the Garden. This year, The Haunted Pumpkin Garden combines the spooky fun of Halloween festivities with an astonishing display of the most eye-catching and intriguing pumpkins and gourds. On October 18 19, Ray Villafane will work his carving magic to create intricate pumpkin sculptures, while the largest pumpkins from North America will once again call the Garden home on October 25 26.

Dig, Plant, Grow: Goodnight, Garden – 1:30 – 6 p.m.
Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden
Join us as we prepare the garden for the change in seasons. Plant a cover crop, bury bulbs before the frost, and grab a rake to gather all of the fallen leaves.

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/2014/10/garden-programming/this-weekend-carve-out-some-family-time/

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Morning Eye Candy: Kiku Crossing

Kiku displays hundreds of chrysanthemums in a variety of traditional as well as contemporary designs, such as this quaint little bridge formation.

Kiku the Art of the Japanese garden Haupt Conservatory
In the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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