November 11, 2013

I found this little book at a used book/gift store while visiting family upstate a few weekends ago. It was one in a series of guidebooks focused on plants and birds sitting in a bin, and the only one written by an NYBG staffer, T.H. Everett.

Everett was a world renowned horticulturist, writer, and educator. His influence within this realm is magnified by the number of his students and colleagues who went on to have influential careers in their own right. At NYBG, the beautiful Rock Garden, which was designed and implemented under Everett’s watchful eye, is named in his honor. Everett is also associated with two of the New York-area’s other great gardens, the beautifully renovated Wave Hill, which he helped lobby to save, and the currently under renovation Untermeyer Gardens, where he held his first horticulture position in the United States.

These pages are just a fraction of the 50 or so in this slim book, perfectly sized for carrying in one’s pocket. What fascinates me is how many of these plants were already in danger of disappearing in 1945 (yes I did the math to convert MCMXLV to Arabic numerals. Thank you liberal arts degree!). While you can find many of them in our newly reopened Native Plant Garden, I am afraid some of them are exceedingly rare at this time, a state of affairs that would probably just have spurred Everett to further action! ~AR

October 25, 2013
An orchid sold for $100,000 in 1978. Now you can buy one for around $5 at your local hardware store. How did the orchid, once so rare, become oh so common? Taiwan’s orchid growers decide to start emulating the tech industry. No, really. ~AR
(via How the Precious Orchid Got So Cheap - WSJ.com)

An orchid sold for $100,000 in 1978. Now you can buy one for around $5 at your local hardware store. How did the orchid, once so rare, become oh so common? Taiwan’s orchid growers decide to start emulating the tech industry. No, really. ~AR

(via How the Precious Orchid Got So Cheap - WSJ.com)

August 4, 2013
rhamphotheca:

Where Can I get Native Plants For My Garden?
Native plants in the garden are important for helping to support our native pollinators, but its difficult to find native plants at local nurseries. Until nurseries change their ways, the onus is on gardeners. Fortunately, there is a great resource. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offers a database where you can find native-plant vendors by location, and a database of native plant organizations, which often have annual sales, searchable by location.
(read more: Audubon Magazine)
photo: a bumble bee and a black swallowtail butterfly share nectar on a purple coneflower

Great piece, and super important. Doug Tallamy is a friend of the Garden and an expert on the importance of native plants—from both botanical and zoological perspectives. While the exotic imports and hyper-colorful cultivars that line the shelves of your local nursery are attractive to look at, they often do little for pollinator populations which have adapted specifically to local flora.
Changing the public’s opinion on “weedy” native plants is a top priority for conscientious horticulturists, Tallamy among them. Likewise, making these plants more accessible is of utmost importance. For the home gardener, the National Suppliers Directory provided in the article is a great start. —MN

rhamphotheca:

Where Can I get Native Plants For My Garden?

Native plants in the garden are important for helping to support our native pollinators, but its difficult to find native plants at local nurseries. Until nurseries change their ways, the onus is on gardeners. Fortunately, there is a great resource. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offers a database where you can find native-plant vendors by location, and a database of native plant organizations, which often have annual sales, searchable by location.

(read more: Audubon Magazine)

photo: a bumble bee and a black swallowtail butterfly share nectar on a purple coneflower

Great piece, and super important. Doug Tallamy is a friend of the Garden and an expert on the importance of native plants—from both botanical and zoological perspectives. While the exotic imports and hyper-colorful cultivars that line the shelves of your local nursery are attractive to look at, they often do little for pollinator populations which have adapted specifically to local flora.

Changing the public’s opinion on “weedy” native plants is a top priority for conscientious horticulturists, Tallamy among them. Likewise, making these plants more accessible is of utmost importance. For the home gardener, the National Suppliers Directory provided in the article is a great start. —MN

July 31, 2013
It’s not every year that we get to do this, but come fall, we’ll once again unveil one of our most labor-intensive exhibitions. Shear-wielding superstar Kodai Nakazawa is in the early stages of preparing his masterworks inside our Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections (they need time to grow into brilliance). Any guesses as to what’s happening?

It’s not every year that we get to do this, but come fall, we’ll once again unveil one of our most labor-intensive exhibitions. Shear-wielding superstar Kodai Nakazawa is in the early stages of preparing his masterworks inside our Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections (they need time to grow into brilliance). Any guesses as to what’s happening?

June 6, 2013

dirtybearprince asked: Would you encourage someone with a career goal of working extensively with plants to pursue a major in horticultural science or botany? Is experience or formal education more important for opening up doors in the field? Is it justifiable? Some people seem to think it is a waste of time and money and there are no jobs in the field. When I bring up going to school for something other than healthcare or computer science, the blank stare I receive from people is kind of discouraging.

“Discouraging” is hitting the nail on the head. Being an English major, the responses I’d get when announcing my chosen track usually ran the gamut from sympathetic pats on the back to outright laughter. It was always a shot to the gut—being told to follow passion one minute and pragmatism the next. But empathy doesn’t answer your question, so I passed it along to a couple of our NYBG experts to see if they could offer any advice.

Naturally, these are their own opinions as individuals, separate from that of the NYBG itself. It’s likely some of our other botanists and horticulturists would have very different opinions based on their own experiences, as will others on Tumblr, and there’s plenty of debate to be had there (which is likely for naught—personal experience is just that: personal). But I hope you can glean something from these answers. —MN

Read More

August 18, 2012

Some of Edward Steichen’s delphinium varieties were featured early on in Monet’s Garden. Such a beautiful confluence of two incredibly talented artists. ~AR

suzydickie:

Photographer and delphinium breeder, Edward Steichen.

Yes, in addition to his groundbreaking career as a visual artist and museum professional, Steichen was also a renowned horticulturist. While he lived in France, the French Horticultural Society awarded him its gold medal in 1913, and he served as president of the American Delphinium Society from 1935 to 1939. In the early 1930s, after leaving his position as chief of photography for the Condé Nast publications—including Vogue and Vanity Fair—and more than 10 years before beginning his career as Director of the Department of Photography at MoMA, he retired to his Connecticut farm to raise flowers…read more.

via MoMA

(Source: suzycube)

June 29, 2012
plantingart:

Gorgeous Hydrangeas, New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx, NY #nybg (Taken with Instagram)

The latest headliners in the outdoor collections have to be the hydrangeas. Their cool colors stand out in the heat of the day, but really pop under overcast skies. Loving this horticulturist’s feed of gardens and architecture, both local and abroad. —MN

plantingart:

Gorgeous Hydrangeas, New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx, NY #nybg (Taken with Instagram)

The latest headliners in the outdoor collections have to be the hydrangeas. Their cool colors stand out in the heat of the day, but really pop under overcast skies. Loving this horticulturist’s feed of gardens and architecture, both local and abroad. —MN

May 21, 2012
Hip Hops

The Bronx Brewery partners with The New York Botanical Garden and Bronx community to form The Urban Hop Project

Raise a (virtual) glass with us in welcoming this sudsy delicious collaboration! ~AR

May 7, 2012

It takes preparation to create a masterpiece! Here, Marc Hachadourian takes you through the behind-the-scenes work taking place in our Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections. Each poppy and delphinium being cared for by our horticulturists will soon make its way to our Monet’s Garden exhibition, opening May 19.

May 5, 2012
In Praise of the Misunderstood Quince
"Cutting into the obdurate flesh practically takes a katana," writes Michael Tortorello, regarding a once-renowned fruit that has since slid down the slippery slope of history’s forgetfulness. Few Americans have even seen a quince, much less tasted the fruit. And with perhaps good reason: it’s not easy to eat.
But despite its curmudgeonly reputation, there are those trying to restore the classic pome to its former relevance, even right here in New York. —MN

In Praise of the Misunderstood Quince

"Cutting into the obdurate flesh practically takes a katana," writes Michael Tortorello, regarding a once-renowned fruit that has since slid down the slippery slope of history’s forgetfulness. Few Americans have even seen a quince, much less tasted the fruit. And with perhaps good reason: it’s not easy to eat.

But despite its curmudgeonly reputation, there are those trying to restore the classic pome to its former relevance, even right here in New York. —MN

April 15, 2012
Meet our Horticulture Crew Member: Dianne Crary

Dianne Crary got her start in gardening not through a potted plant from the hardware store, or an elementary school seed-soaking experiment, but from something a little more challenging: a neglected yard and a few meandering honey bees.

"The house that my parents purchased in the ’50s had a garden with great bones, but neither one was interested in gardening," Dianne writes. "The beds were neglected and every now and then when the weeds were towering over everything, I would get inspired to pull them out …

"Decades later, beekeeping became a hobby and one rainy spring season the honey crop had a minty taste which came from the nectar of the basswood tree This then made me notice what other plants the bees were visiting in order to incorporate bee friendly plants in the garden.”

Read on to see how Dianne found herself learning the ropes with the NYBG’s School of Professional Horticulture, coming to understand “the right plant in the right place.” And don’t forget: we have beekeeping classes of our own coming up shortly! —MN

April 6, 2012

expose-the-light:

Ways to Lure a Lover, Orchid-Style

#3. Gimme Shelter

Male euglossine bees collect fragrances from flowers. “The males with the most complex array of fragrances get all the ladies,” says Mirenda. But when the bees land on male Catasetum orchids, they also get a swift wallop on the head. “The flowers basically mug their pollinator by shooting really large pollinia at them when they touch a little trigger switch in the flower,” says Mirenda.

After being whacked, as a reaction, the bees retreat to shelter—in this case, to the Catasetum’s female flowers (above). The helmet-like flowers, found in Central America, actually resemble the nests that the bees build. There, while feeding on nectar, the bees deposit the pollen.

This reblog was originally snake-long, so I chopped it down. But I beseech you to click through to the full article and read up on some of this stuff—orchids can be downright dastardly. I beseech you. —MN

(via scinerds)

March 26, 2012

rhamphotheca:

danceabletragedy:  Rafflesia arnoldii

Rafflesia arnoldii is the world’s largest flower having a diameter of about one meter and weighing up to ten kilograms. It is a rare flower and not easily located. It grows only once a year and blooms for around five days. According to researches in discovery news, this flower that looks and smells like rotting flesh is related to flimsy flowers like violets, poinsettias and passionflowers. Hence it also called as “meat flower” or “corpse flower”.

The flower is pollinated by flies and carrion beetles attracted by its vile smell. It contains about 27 species and found in Indonesian rain forests of southeastern Asia and Philippines. Rafflesia is an official state flower of Indonesia, Surat Thani Province in Thailand and Sabah state in Malaysia.

Seymour Krelborn washes his hands of the whole thing.

(via theherbarium)

March 26, 2012
Plants’ ‘Spring Switch’ Discovered
With the warmth of spring comes new growth. It’s a basic concept. But how plants know to flower as soon as the seasons change hasn’t been as crystal clear until now.
U.K. researchers have come across a plant gene—designated PIF4—that actually activates or deactivates depending on the ambient temperature.
According to the scientists involved, this is just one of two possible ways a plant can determine when the time has come to give up winter dormancy: measuring day-length and measuring the temperature. And for the plants with an “active PIF4” pathway, success in the wild is proving easier to come by. For the other guys—those that rely solely on the length of the day—the game is getting away from them.
"In the past 100 years or so, many plants that have just used day-length have become locally extinct," says Dr. Philip Wigge, co-author of the study. Meanwhile, the plants with internal thermometers are increasing their range. —MN

Plants’ ‘Spring Switch’ Discovered

With the warmth of spring comes new growth. It’s a basic concept. But how plants know to flower as soon as the seasons change hasn’t been as crystal clear until now.

U.K. researchers have come across a plant gene—designated PIF4—that actually activates or deactivates depending on the ambient temperature.

According to the scientists involved, this is just one of two possible ways a plant can determine when the time has come to give up winter dormancy: measuring day-length and measuring the temperature. And for the plants with an “active PIF4” pathway, success in the wild is proving easier to come by. For the other guys—those that rely solely on the length of the day—the game is getting away from them.

"In the past 100 years or so, many plants that have just used day-length have become locally extinct," says Dr. Philip Wigge, co-author of the study. Meanwhile, the plants with internal thermometers are increasing their range. —MN

March 24, 2012
Ferns Fling Their Spores with a One-Two Catapult
There’s not much that a fern has in common with a baseball pitcher. One sits docile among its fellows and releases spores; the other commands a hefty salary. The first has been around for millions of years; the other…sometimes chews tobacco. But as absurd as this comparison is, a recent understanding of a long-known structure in ferns is at least narrowing the gap between the two.
Known as the annulus, the reproductive feature is helping scientists understand the unique process of spore-based propagation. The structure is essentially a catapult—it snaps open, flinging spores out and away from the plant in a motion that takes only a few microseconds. It may not be a 100mph fast pitch hurtled into a catcher’s mitt, but it’s a little more proactive than waiting for the birds to do the work for you. —MN

Ferns Fling Their Spores with a One-Two Catapult

There’s not much that a fern has in common with a baseball pitcher. One sits docile among its fellows and releases spores; the other commands a hefty salary. The first has been around for millions of years; the other…sometimes chews tobacco. But as absurd as this comparison is, a recent understanding of a long-known structure in ferns is at least narrowing the gap between the two.

Known as the annulus, the reproductive feature is helping scientists understand the unique process of spore-based propagation. The structure is essentially a catapult—it snaps open, flinging spores out and away from the plant in a motion that takes only a few microseconds. It may not be a 100mph fast pitch hurtled into a catcher’s mitt, but it’s a little more proactive than waiting for the birds to do the work for you. —MN

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