September 15, 2014
earthstory:

REFRIGERATOR TREESFound along the North American coastline from British Columbia to Baja California, Pacific madrone trees (Arbutus menziesii) are well known for their beauty, but more often are known for being cold to the touch. The madrone tree’s bark makes it easily identified, with smooth orange-red bark that peels and curls as it ages, and eventually falls off, leaving its inner bark (often a pale green) bare and visible. Even on hot days, madrones still feel cool due to water running upwards in the trunk just beneath the bark layer. Often also referred to as madrona, bearberry, or sometimes strawberry trees, madrone trees (and in particular, their bark) have been historically used to treat a variety of diseases by Native Americans, and are still used to make flavorings and tea. They, like other trees, require fire to germinate, and even hold an advantage during times of intermittent fires, due to their ability to survive fire and regenerate more quickly than some of their conifer neighbors, like Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Madrone trees are also known to be excellent for their assistance in erosion control, as their roots spread widely and quickly, holding soil in place along the erosion-prone West coast of North America. All around, pretty cool trees… pun certainly intended. BNPhoto Credit: Randell Zerr, as hosted by http://www.nps.gov/bibe/photosmultimedia/Plants-and-Animals.htmFurther Resources:http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_arme.pdfhttp://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/pugetsound/species/madrone.htmlIntroduction to Trees of the San Francisco Bay Region. 2002. Glenn Keator. University of California Press

"Dig a big pit in a dirt alley road / fill it with madrone and bay"
Tom Waits was my first introduction to the madrone tree, oddly enough. I think the lyric meant it as a smoke wood for barbecuing (and I’ve heard it does impart the faintest sweet, smoky flavor—just don’t take me at my word), though it’s more commonly used as a fuel wood for campfires and the like.
Beautiful, resilient, functional, oddly chilly. Pretty neat trees overall. —MN

earthstory:

REFRIGERATOR TREES

Found along the North American coastline from British Columbia to Baja California, Pacific madrone trees (Arbutus menziesii) are well known for their beauty, but more often are known for being cold to the touch. The madrone tree’s bark makes it easily identified, with smooth orange-red bark that peels and curls as it ages, and eventually falls off, leaving its inner bark (often a pale green) bare and visible. Even on hot days, madrones still feel cool due to water running upwards in the trunk just beneath the bark layer. 

Often also referred to as madrona, bearberry, or sometimes strawberry trees, madrone trees (and in particular, their bark) have been historically used to treat a variety of diseases by Native Americans, and are still used to make flavorings and tea. They, like other trees, require fire to germinate, and even hold an advantage during times of intermittent fires, due to their ability to survive fire and regenerate more quickly than some of their conifer neighbors, like Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Madrone trees are also known to be excellent for their assistance in erosion control, as their roots spread widely and quickly, holding soil in place along the erosion-prone West coast of North America. 

All around, pretty cool trees… pun certainly intended. 

BN

Photo Credit: Randell Zerr, as hosted by http://www.nps.gov/bibe/photosmultimedia/Plants-and-Animals.htm

Further Resources:
http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_arme.pdf
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/pugetsound/species/madrone.html
Introduction to Trees of the San Francisco Bay Region. 2002. Glenn Keator. University of California Press

"Dig a big pit in a dirt alley road / fill it with madrone and bay"

Tom Waits was my first introduction to the madrone tree, oddly enough. I think the lyric meant it as a smoke wood for barbecuing (and I’ve heard it does impart the faintest sweet, smoky flavor—just don’t take me at my word), though it’s more commonly used as a fuel wood for campfires and the like.

Beautiful, resilient, functional, oddly chilly. Pretty neat trees overall. —MN

September 13, 2014
"Plants make nectar to feed insects and other animals so they’ll spread their pollen. When insects feed on caffeine-spiked nectar, they get a beneficial buzz: they become much more likely to remember the scent of the flower. This enhanced memory may make it more likely that the insect will revisit the flower and spread its pollen further."

How Caffeine Evolved to Help Plants Survive and Help People Wake Up - NYTimes.com

A garden is much like any other workplace—a jolt of caffeine is a tremendous help. ~LM

September 12, 2014

Inspired by the likes of Tim Walker, the Dutch Masters, and Cecil Beaton, the arrangements and installations are in a lot of ways works of art. BRRCH has been featured in Vogue, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine and has done work for Byredo, Steven Alan, and Moda Operandi. Asch says her goal is to bring nature into the city, and I think she is doing just that. (via BRRCH Flowers - Best New York Florists - Brittany Asch - Style.com)

Fashion Week is wrapping up here in NYC, so it’s no surprise that the latest NYBG Floral Design alum to make the spotlight is so stylish. Brittany’s arrangements are gorgeous! Lush, delicate, elegant, and naturalistic—she’s certainly making the most of her NYBG training. ~LM

September 8, 2014

skunkbear:

The blooming of an Amorphophallus titanum (AKA corpse flower AKA titan arum) at The Huntington Library last week inspired me!

If you think humans jump through a lot of hoops just to reproduce, check out this plant. It waits 7-10 years, storing up starch in a giant tuber, just so it can bloom for a single day. Then it pretends to be a hunk of rotting meat to attract insect pollinators. Then, months later, it switches tactics to a produce a sweet fruit so birds will disperse it’s seeds.

If you have never smelled a titan arum but for some odd reason you would like to … you are in … luck? Scientists have identified the exact malodorous chemicals that come off these strange flowers to attract pollinators - so you can create the scent at home!*

*please, for your own sake, don’t try this at home.

As good a breakdown of Amorphophallus titanum as you’re likely to find. And who wouldn’t enjoy a recipe for one of nature’s most impressive stinkbombs? —MN

(via scientificillustration)

September 3, 2014
The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden's September resurgence is underway. We're sitting at around 80% of peak bloom right now. If you're so inclined, follow along on our Rose Watch page—because it’s fun to attempt to quantify the wild, technicolor awakening of thousands upon thousands of rose buds. —MN

The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden's September resurgence is underway. We're sitting at around 80% of peak bloom right now. If you're so inclined, follow along on our Rose Watch page—because it’s fun to attempt to quantify the wild, technicolor awakening of thousands upon thousands of rose buds. —MN

August 26, 2014
I’d like to carry summer home with me in a bundle, cabbage whites or no, and enjoy it well past its sell-by date. —MN

I’d like to carry summer home with me in a bundle, cabbage whites or no, and enjoy it well past its sell-by date. —MN

(Source: maorisakai)

August 21, 2014

huntingtonlibrary:

Here’s what’s been happening with the Corpse Flower over the past six days. Getting closer to bloom time!

Follow The Huntington for bloom updates on their corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum)! It’s big, it’s malodorous, it gives Audrey II a run for its money.

The corpse flower, I mean. Not The Huntington. The Huntington is fragrant and lovable and deserves your many visits when you’re on the left coast. —MN

August 19, 2014

run-off-the-road:

I assure you, my trip to the NYBG was very educational for me….but this happened on the way. It could not be helped. 

Most of our cacti appear frazzled by the fact that they’re so unhuggable. Poor fellas. …Except that one Chihuahuan snowball. She’s pretty chill about the whole thing. —MN

August 18, 2014
Grass-type starter every time. This isn’t up for debate. Even if you wanna be the very best (like no one ever was) from the comfort of your kitchen window sill. —MN

Grass-type starter every time. This isn’t up for debate. Even if you wanna be the very best (like no one ever was) from the comfort of your kitchen window sill. —MN

August 13, 2014
talesofscienceandlove:

Cross section of flower ovary by Ray Nelson, photomicrographer, 100x magnification, Dark Field Microscopy
Flowers are beautiful and quite inspirational as we find them presented out in nature. But there is more hidden within a flower. This image by microphotographer Ray Nelson is actually the base, or ovary, of a flower. Yes, its been enhanced using stain and special lighting, but the pattern and texture is all Mother Nature.
Source

Reminds me of millefiori glasswork! I guess a rose is a rose is a rose, no matter how you look at it. —HG

talesofscienceandlove:

Cross section of flower ovary by Ray Nelson, photomicrographer, 100x magnification, Dark Field Microscopy

Flowers are beautiful and quite inspirational as we find them presented out in nature. But there is more hidden within a flower. This image by microphotographer Ray Nelson is actually the base, or ovary, of a flower. Yes, its been enhanced using stain and special lighting, but the pattern and texture is all Mother Nature.

Source

Reminds me of millefiori glasswork! I guess a rose is a rose is a rose, no matter how you look at it. —HG

August 12, 2014

food52:

You don’t even need an oven to host this party.

More: A (Basically) No-Cook Dinner Party on Food52.

I thought we’d escaped New York’s perennial summer heat and humidity this year, but the last few days have found me savoring my air conditioned subway rides. But while the summer brings us those sticky temperatures, it also brings us fresh, ripe tomatoes and plenty of other produce that can be enjoyed raw - and that means no stove or oven heating up the whole apartment. —HG

August 11, 2014

Sometimes I look at the decades-old trees in the Garden and wonder what stories they would tell if they could. Mei Linn Chan takes this sort of sentiment literally with her gorgeous Leaf Type. With leaves like this, branches would become words and sentences and would give voice to the trees.

I love how she highlights the symmetry and asymmetry of her diverse choice of leaves by keeping only their veins to support her letters and numbers. And there are so many different shades of green! —HG

August 7, 2014

The species now called Iris ensata—commonly known as Japanese Iris—was once called Iris Kaempferi. An antique book in the collection of NYBG’s own LuEsther T. Mertz Library contains dozens of illustrations portraying different cultivars of this species in a dazzling array of colors and shapes. Not much is known about this book, but it provides a captivating glimpse into Japanese botanical history. —LM

August 1, 2014
Why go nuts with green walls and complicated climate control systems when you can just fill your garage with hanging potted plants? The owner of a taxi hub in Queens thought along the same lines when he decided to stuff his mechanic’s shop with around 1,000 plants. His reasoning? Cleaner air. Since all of his cars are hybrids already, he’s just doubling up on a good effort.
Before you ask, yes, every plant is hand-watered twice a week—which sounds like a full-time job in itself. —MN
(Photo credit: John Brecher / NBC News)

Why go nuts with green walls and complicated climate control systems when you can just fill your garage with hanging potted plants? The owner of a taxi hub in Queens thought along the same lines when he decided to stuff his mechanic’s shop with around 1,000 plants. His reasoning? Cleaner air. Since all of his cars are hybrids already, he’s just doubling up on a good effort.

Before you ask, yes, every plant is hand-watered twice a week—which sounds like a full-time job in itself. —MN

(Photo credit: John Brecher / NBC News)

July 31, 2014
You’re right, that’s just a rendering up there. But the designer of this tree, artist Sam Van Aken, is hoping to see the real things produce a similar sherbet rainbow when his “Trees of 40 Fruit” mature. Consider this the Frankenstein (or Mr. Stitch, if you saw that one) of grafting experiments.
Not a genetic experiment so much as a patient grafting of 40 different stone fruit branches onto a single trunk, this tree is designed to not only produce fruits of all sorts throughout the year, but create a stunning palette in the process. And according to Van Aken, it’s also about preserving uncommon local stone fruit varieties, some of which he stuffs into each tree he creates.
So far there are 16 young trees planted around the country. We’ll see what comes of them. Head through for the full story. —MN
(Photo credit: The Verge, Tree of 40 Fruit)

You’re right, that’s just a rendering up there. But the designer of this tree, artist Sam Van Aken, is hoping to see the real things produce a similar sherbet rainbow when his “Trees of 40 Fruit” mature. Consider this the Frankenstein (or Mr. Stitch, if you saw that one) of grafting experiments.

Not a genetic experiment so much as a patient grafting of 40 different stone fruit branches onto a single trunk, this tree is designed to not only produce fruits of all sorts throughout the year, but create a stunning palette in the process. And according to Van Aken, it’s also about preserving uncommon local stone fruit varieties, some of which he stuffs into each tree he creates.

So far there are 16 young trees planted around the country. We’ll see what comes of them. Head through for the full story. —MN

(Photo credit: The Verge, Tree of 40 Fruit)

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