The Bronx River Alliance leads occasional paddles down the river and through the Garden. Check their calendar of events and come see us in a whole new way! ~AR
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY
Taken on Nov. 15, 2013.
Ooooh, pretty! The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory really doesn’t have a bad side. ~AR
A Forest in the Bronx
Of the five boroughs of New York City, the Bronx is arguably the greenest, with over 7,000 acres of parkland, which means around 25% of the borough’s land is set aside for recreation and relaxation.
And what’s more, 50-acres of that—our own Thain Family Forest—is the largest remaining remnant of the primeval forests which once covered the entirety of New York City before colonization. This un-cut, old growth woodland was once home to the Lenape Indians, and today is home to an assortment of native animals and plants and the scientists who study them.
The Forest contains over a mile of hiking trails which weave along and over the Bronx River. The Bronx River is New York City’s only freshwater river (the Hudson River is a fjord and is tidal up to Troy, and the East River is a tidal straight connecting to the Long Island Sound) and is home to New York City’s only beaver population, and a returned population of alewife, as well as an assortment of waterfowl and other local fish, reptiles, and amphibians. At certain special events held at the Garden, and in conjunction with our partners at the Bronx River Alliance, it is possible to canoe on the river, though there is a portage around the waterfall and gorge.
The Forest, and the adjacent woodland of the Native Plant Garden, is home to an important collection of deciduous trees including newly reintroduced American Chestnuts, the incredibly tall London planes, many varieties of maple, birch, and oak, along with sweetgum, tulip trees, and hickory, and populations of troubled species like hemlocks, elm, and ash. The Forest also contains an important collection of conifers. In addition, the understory is populated by beautiful native shrubs and small trees including shadbush, eastern redbud, dogwood, American hazelnut, and home to a beautiful display of spring ephemeral wildflowers. See a complete listing of all the plants in the Thain Family Forest here.
The animals that call the Thain Family Forest home are every bit as diverse and interesting as the plants that serve as their homes and food. In addition to the very famous beavers, the Forest is also home to a population of great-horned owls with a penchant for nesting in trees that allow for easy observation—a rarity in any forest, let alone one situated in the middle of a city! The owls are joined by many, many other birds, including red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, saw-whet owls, barred owls, a gorgeous array of migrating warblers, cheeky chickadees, hummingbirds, turkeys, herons, ducks, and so many more! In addition, keep an eye out for muskrats, snapping turtles, black squirrels, raccoons, and even the occasional fox. Don’t bet on seeing all these animals when you visit though. Many of them are very shy and will only come out at night. But the most important thing is this: Please do not feed the animals, and please do not approach them or try to pet them. We want them to stay wild forever!
So, I do hope that our guide to the flora and fauna of the Thain Family Forest has enticed you to come visit us. The easiest way to reach the Garden is by Metro-North Rail Road on the Harlem Line from Grand Central Terminal. It is an approximately 22-minute ride that lets you off at Botanical Garden Station, directly across from our entrance. We’re always happy to answer your questions, so feel free to drop us a line. The Forest is beautiful in all seasons, yes, even in winter! So don’t let cooler temperatures dissuade you. I hope to see you on the trails soon! ~AR
On this first really cold day of the season, I like to think back to what was probably the hottest day of the summer. In what seemed like a good idea at the time, we visited the New York Botanical Gardens.
We couldn’t decide which was hotter, the rainforest…
…or the desert.
Didn’t matter, we were too hot to care.
Important information for the days ahead! ~AR
Photographed the NYBG Holiday Train Show for Gothamist. A seasonal must-see, especially for the kids! Click the link for photos and video.
Thanks for making us look so good! ~AR
What’s beautiful now? Transitions. It’s a transformative time in the Garden. Fall is slowly making way for winter, as Tuesday’s first flurries attested to. The leaves are coming down, gardens are being put to bed, plants are being hauled inside, the roses are saying their last goodbyes.
Transitions are hard, in any walk of life, so it’s best to look on the bright side. Once the trees are bare and the beds are mulched, it’s time for the holidays! Lights, feasts, family, treats. It’s time to be cozy indoors, and sparkly out.
At the Garden we turn our focus to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and the wonderful miniature world of the Holiday Train Show. It doesn’t mean that the outside world isn’t still wonderful, it is. You just have to work a little harder to see the wonder. Conifers dressed in green, the silhouette of giant trees against the winter sky, these are joys in their own right, but a little more mutedly so.
For a look at what’s going on today at the Garden, follow us on Instagram and Twitter where we post updates from our staff and visitors. Need help getting around? Our iPhone app can help out there. It’s free and available in the App Store. ~AR
Photos by NYBG photographer Ivo M. Vermeulen.
AMERICAN GUIDE WEEK - QUESTIONNAIRE FOR FIELD REPORTS, ASSIGNMENT #2
Take Pride, It’s the American Guide
YOUR ASSIGNMENT, TRUSTED GUIDE:
The original American Guide series of books was produced by the federal government’s Works Progress Administration in the 1930s and ’40s. Your A/G editors unearthed the actual mimeographed field manual from 1935 that was sent out to each WPA state research office. Editors, researchers, and volunteers used the manual as a basis for collecting information on their district.
We’re asking you to do the same. Stay tuned all this week as we release 10 assignments drawn from the 1935 manual for the upcoming American Guide Week (Nov. 18-24). Use these questions as your guide for contributing #AmericanGuideWeek content. For your second assignment, Class I - Flora and Fauna. (And yes, these are actual questions from the manual.)
CLASS I - FLORA and FAUNA
- Are there places to which one may drive or hike where some special variety [of plant] blooms at a certain time?
- List plants and trees common to your district.
- Are there trees of historical interest?
- List animals, birds, fish native to your district.
- Are there dangerous animals?
- Are there interesting animal colonies such as colonies of beavers or prairie dog cities in your district?
BE A GUIDE. SHOW AMERICA TO AMERICANS.
Between Monday, Nov. 18, and Sunday, Nov. 24, tag your Tumblr photos,illustrations and writing that answer these questions and describe the America you live in and the America you travel through — people, places and things.
This is a collaboration, folks: a living, Tumblifying documentary about the USA. You’ll be reblogged or featured on The American Guide.
Check out A/G Week assignments here.
We don’t want to put ideas into anyone’s heads, but, I mean … 50-acre Forest … In the Bronx … You know, it just might be interesting to someone out there. Maybe …? ~AR
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
What’s beautiful now? The Forest!
Did you know that all five boroughs of New York City were at one time covered by ancient forests? It’s true. And our 50-acre Thain Family Forest is the largest remaining remnant of these old-growth forests that were home to the city’s original inhabitants, the Lenape tribe of Native Americans.
The Forest is transected by the Bronx River, New York City’s only freshwater river, and acts as home to a huge assortment of native plants, trees, and critters, as well as to a cadre of scientists studying this very important urban forest.
And this weekend, we are celebrating the Forest with a Fall Forest Weekend festival! Join us for a weekend full of leaf peeping, canoe paddling, birds of prey demonstrations, beer sampling, and woodcrafting and tree climbing demonstrations! The weather report is looking cool and clear all weekend, perfect for tramping through our trails and enjoying high peak fall foliage!
For day-to-day updates on what we’re seeing around grounds, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter where we post updates from our staff and visitors. Need help getting around? Our iPhone app can help out there. It’s free and available in the App Store. ~AR
Photos by NYBG photographer Ivo M. Vermeulen.
GPOYTBT ice skating edition!
This amazing image of people ice skating on the Twin Lakes in the 1910s comes to us from Charles Warren and the Facebook page Old Images of The Bronx. Unfortunately we can’t allow ice skating on Twin Lakes anymore (and honestly, I think it would be really hard anyway, I have yet to see them freeze over in my time at the Garden), but we do have plenty of other winter fun planned for the days ahead. Who’s ready for winter! I am! ~AR
It is always a happy occasion when we get an email from Mia D’Avanza, the Mertz Library's Reference Librarian and Exhibitions Coordinator, with the subject line, “good photos for you!” because Mia has a good eye and a great sense of humor. And the above photos are pretty awesome. As the document in the top right image says, the guys are doing SCIENCE! and in Mia's words, possibly SUPER SCIENCE! Whatever they're doing it appears to be part of the WPA. The Garden was home to a plethora of WPA projects in the 40s, and if we can figure out what these guys were up to, we'll update this post later. Until then, SCIENCE! ~AR
at the bx botanical garden pt. 2
That’s a whole lotta whorly flowery drama! ~AR
What’s beautiful now? The light.
As we approach the end of Daylight Savings Time (not this weekend, don’t freak out!) the days grow shorter and the shadows grow longer, and somehow the quality of the light just gets more and more lovely. Colors pop, contrast heightens, and flowers and leaves seem to glow from within. It is one of the most beautiful times to come and take photographs at the Garden!
Find the drama in the Native Plant Garden, the Thain Family Forest, the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden (trust me, head there just as the sun is beginning to set), the Perennial Garden, the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, and inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
For day-to-day updates on what we’re seeing around grounds, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter where we post updates from our staff and visitors. Need help getting around? Our iPhone app can help out there. It’s free and available in the App Store.
Photos by NYBG photographer Ivo M. Vermeulen.
"All gardening is landscape painting."
@Villafanestudios setting up the carnivorous plants at Grand Central Terminal for NY Botanical Garden
World’s heaviest pumpkins in the act of becoming carnivorous zombie Venus flytraps. In case that makes no sense, full details here.