Flower Beards are the latest invasive species identified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. These rapidly spreading weeds choke the native ecosystem, decimate the pollinator population, and cause massive irritation. Please ask your local barber or nursery for further tips on curbing the spread of Flower Beards. This has been a Public Service Announcement from NYBG. ~LM
It’s Friday. Tell your boss you’re tandem waterskiing off into the sunset, leaving a wake of flower petals and geodes. —MN
The hottest time of year is made a bit cooler by the lotus and water lily blossoms in our reflecting pools. Here are some gorgeous shots of Nelumbo nucifera (or sacred lotus) and Nymphaea ‘Clyde Ikins’, a water lily—before you check the captions, can you tell which is which? ~LM
It’s not really summer ‘til the Nymphaea flowers pop up. Way up. You’ll find the likes of ‘Denver’ (this one right here), ‘Clyde Ikins’, and ‘Moon Dance’ water lily cultivars poking their heads above the waterline in our Conservatory pools, with more to follow in a flurry of whites, yellows, purples, and pinks.
This means the lotus can’t be far behind. —MN
Chris Genner - Meadow
Just a good palette. —MN
"Every year, we try and improve our cultivars. When I started, we would have four or five days of really good courts. We’re now getting to maybe day 10 or 11, so we’re almost grabbing an extra week. Ultimately we would like to get through the whole fortnight that way, but whether that’s possible I don’t know. You find that the grass technology improves but the players are getting bigger and stronger so it kind of balances.
While the World Cup is all anybody is talking about, another beloved athletic championship is also underway: Wimbledon. The Telegraph has an interesting interview with the head groundsman, Neil Stubley, who occupies just one of the many fascinating but lesser-known horticultural professions. Any professional sport that requires turf has a similar specialist. A life in the world of plants can take you some unexpected places. ~LM
New York Botanical Garden lakeside shelter, architects Brinley & Holbrook, series 392, exhibit C, approved March 9, 1909.
Wow! Signed by Nathaniel Lord Britton himself, NYBG’s first Director. ~LM
There’s something especially beautiful and eerie (if not slightly depressing) about abandoned greenhouses. This slice of botanical history in nearby Yonkers, NY is an interesting read with some arresting images. Of course, it makes me grateful that we take such scrupulous care of our historic structures here at NYBG, and of course our own Conservatory is aging much more gracefully. ~LM
Original photographs and animated .gif set by Marisa Renee
For when your current lack of central A/C has you wondering why you ever complained about flurries in March. —MN
theeternalnewb said: I loved that post about the bitters. I'm partway through memorizing The Drunken Botanist at this point simply due to how FASCINATING this all is.
So good! We actually had Amy Stewart speaking here a couple of weeks ago. She was taking part in our Weird, Wild, & Wonderful botanical discussion and booksigning alongside Elizabeth Gilbert. And she just so happened to supply a couple of the recipes we used for the evening’s cocktail bar.
I find even those least inclined to enjoy botany can at least appreciate the fact that all of our nightcaps come from some sort of plant. “They give us oxygen and alcohol” is a good open and shut response to anyone rolling eyes at the study of vegetation. —MN
P.S. – If any of you out there haven’t picked up The Drunken Botanist, it comes highly recommended from all corners of the plant world.
Great Yellow Gentian, Gentiana lutea. Lots of uses- most importantly, for Angostura bitters.
As is the way with just about any alcoholic product over a century old (yes, I’m generalizing, stay your Tumblr swords), it’s said that you can count on one hand the number of people who know the exact recipe for Angostura bitters. But actual angostura bark (Angostura trifoliata) isn’t—nor has it ever been—one of the ingredients.
Gentiana lutea is indeed one of them, however, owing to its amarogentin content. This glycoside is one of the most bitter substances known, so it figures we’d challenge ourselves by plugging it into our favorite cocktail flavoring. —MN
WHO NAMED THIS FLOWER
IT BARGES INTO ALL YOUR CONVERSATIONS
IT GIVES YOU A STUPID NICKNAME WHEN YOU’VE MET, LIKE, ONCE
IT WIGGLES ITS STAMENS AT YOU SUGGESTIVELY FOR NO REASON
IT IS: THE AGGRESSIVELY FORWARD BEARDED IRIS
Plants bring such joy into people’s lives - by which I mean you’ll laugh at your desk to the point of actual tears.
(BTW, just to chime in and be a plant nerd: the Latin name is Iris germanica ‘Aggressively Forward’) ~LM
chrysanthemumble said: Does the NYBG have a library? I'm a beginning library science student and my dream job/internship would be at a botanical garden library!
Of course! The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is one of the foremost plant research libraries in the country, with an unparalleled rare book collection, and the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium is one of the largest collections of plant specimens in the world. Today just happens to mark the inaugural symposium of the Library’s new Humanities Institute, which will begin sponsoring fellowships in 2015. Perhaps one will be you!
Ha! Our own NYBG Adult Ed Instructor Gary Lincoff got a shout-out in this terrific Gothamist piece as a “celebrity in foraging circles” (I won’t tell him, lest he get a swelled head).
Regan Penaluna’s profile on Marie Viljoen’s urban foraging practice is well worth a read. If you want to learn more before dodging park rangers to pick your next salad, check out our own conversation with another NYBG Instructor, Leda Meredith. ~LM
André Le Nôtre’s 17th-century masterpiece for Louis XIV has not been altered for centuries — until now. The renowned yet humble French landscape designer Louis Benech is reimagining the four-acre Water Theater, the Sun King’s favorite grove.
An amazing project, I love seeing what a talented landscape designer can do to bring new life into a historic estate. ~LM