Thank you Conde Nast Traveler for including us in this great slideshow illustrating why you should visit a botanical garden this winter! If you can’t make it to New York City this holiday season, there are beautiful options included in Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Denver, Atlanta, Pennsylvania, London (in the U.K.), and two in Canada.
The first snow in the Garden is something we have to share. It turns the world black and white, in the very best possible sense. The Garden goes quiet and soft, and even though it’s a bit cold, it feels somehow warm and comfortable. Magic. ~AR
Photos by NYBG photographer Ivo M. Vermeulen.
The Academic Decline: How to Train the Next Generation of Botanists
Although federal agencies need educated botanists, only a handful of colleges still have botany programs
by Allie Bidwell
Krissa Skogen is a conservation scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where she spends her days researching a family of plants known as the evening primrose.
She and her colleagues study different features of more than 100 species of the sunny yellow flowers: How big are their petals? How much nectar do they produce? What combination of compounds in their fragrance attracts the most pollinators?
While it might seem like a particularly nuanced job for only a certain niche, Skogen says understanding the relationship between plants and their pollinators can have a large effect on other sectors.
"Only through having that information can you then make predictions about what might happen if we lose some of the pollinators or some of the plants, what the consequences might be," Skogen says.
Put another way, how would food crops that rely on bee pollination – such as pumpkins, peaches, apples tomatoes and avocados – be affected by losing a species of bees?
That’s one application of studying botany in college.
But more and more, colleges and universities are getting rid of their botany programs, either by consolidating them with zoology and biology departments, or eliminating them altogether because of a lack of faculty, funds or sometimes interest. And at the same time, many trained botanists in federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management, are nearing retirement age, and those agencies are clamoring for new talent…
(read more: U.S. News & World Report)
Botany is hard, but botany can lead to an interesting, dynamic, and fun career. No seriously. Keep studying you guys! There’s a light, and a job, at the end of the tunnel! ~AR
Ruschia is a large genus in the ice plant family, and many of the species have not found their way into the horticultural trade, so we are always on the lookout for interesting new ones. This one, Ruschia marianae, was grown by Annie’s Annuals in Richmond, California. I very much like the red flowers with the ring of white within.
For the past two years the San Gabriel Valley (including The Huntington) has been ground zero for pest damage.
But our area has also been ground zero for research response; and, because many of the affected trees are represented in The Huntington’s collections, the Botanical Gardens are proving to be an important site for scientific research.
In case you ever wanted to know what a botanical garden has done for you today, this blog post from The Huntington is a great place to start. Botanical gardens are places of research and experimentation. Our food supply is vulnerable to invasive pests just like it is vulnerable to the vagaries of weather (and sometimes the two go hand in hand) and botanical gardens are often at the forefront of figuring out how to protect them. If you have questions about the ongoing research being done at The Huntington and here at the Garden, feel free to ask us anytime. ~AR
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
And now you know how small you have to be in order to stand on one of the Victoria waterlilies. ~AR
Botanical Garden, Copenhagen
We get many people asking why we paint the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory white for the summer. White is reflective, it keeps the building from becoming too hot, thus saving the plants from baking and scorching. Apparently in Copenhagen they do the same thing, but with billowing white drapes. Pretty, no? ~AR
at Wellington Botanic Garden…
Never forget that when it’s fall here, it’s spring down under. Nature is grand! ~AR
Waiting for “the bloom” at Nichols Arboretum, University of Michigan
Holy cows that’s a lot of peonies! And they have a countdown clock, complete with daily picture. Can’t wait to see it in full bloom. ~AR
There is a serious message behind this humorous sign (and no it’s not the part about violators being fed to the plants). Carnivorous plants are very sensitive to the oils in human skin and it will kill them, especially pitcher plants. There are many species of wild, native carnivorous plants in North America, so if you see them in the wild, look with your eyes, not with your hands. ~AR
Our colleagues in Atlanta have just opened what sounds like a really cool exhibition. Called “Imaginary Worlds: Plants Larger Than Life" it features enormous living sculptures made up of thousands upon thousands of plants. The sculptures include an ogre, a unicorn, and largest of all, the Earth Goddess. The sculptures are created by a company in Montreal, and contain specially made internal irrigation systems to help them last through Atlanta’s punishing summers. ~AR
ca. 1863. “West-southwest view with Maryland Ave. SW and B Street SW (i.e., Independence Ave. SW) to the left, Maine Ave., 3rd, 4 1/2, and 6th streets SW to the center; view includes The Mall, Washington Armory, Armory Square Hospital, Smithsonian Castle, Washington Canal, Botanic Garden, Gas Works, Washington Monument, under construction, and the Potomac River.” Library of Congress.
Who doesn’t love vintage photographs of botanic gardens? I sure do! And this is a really cool one. It looks like the old conservatory at the U.S. Botanic Garden which dates it to between 1858 and 1867.
Did you know there’s a place on campus where summer never ends?
The Yale Marsh Botanical Garden is eight acres and six greenhouses of chrysanthemums, bananas, azaleas, mangos, cacti, venus fly traps, Japanese Maples and numerous other carnivorous, desert, tropical and outdoor flora.
The Garden is a gift of famed paleontologist and dinosaur discoverer Othniel Charles Marsh, on whose estate it is located.
Photo: Susannah Shattuck ‘13
Shout out to the Yale University tumblr and the gorgeous pictures they posted of their on-campus botanical garden! We also know about the Wellesley College Botanic Garden tumblr. Are there any other university or college botanic garden tumblrs out there we should know about?
Sometimes even the experts get stumped and are lead astray by a rumbling tummy … ~AR
Today, while walking through the Tropical House, I found some mystery fruit. It is not uncommon to find fruit, even edible fruit, in the Tropical House; many times there will be ripe bananas or coffee beans or figs. This fruit, however, was atypical:
WHAT ARE YOU?
I’m always happy to share botany-inspired musicians with you. Last time it was black metal artist Botanist. This time, I’m going a little girlier and introducing you to Rose & the Nightingale. Made up of four women who play many instruments, Rose & the Nightingale’s latest album “The Spirit of the Garden” was inspired by botanical gardens across the country. Take a listen, and if the spirit moves you, see them on Tuesday, January 15 at Culture Project in Manhattan. Doors at 7 p.m.