Thursday, December 30, 2010

SOS For The Garden: Save Our Shrubs (From The Snow)

What Panty Hose Can Do To Keep Your Evergreens Shapely – And Glamorous!

Those of us hit with the craziest snowstorm in memory have shoveled out the driveways and walkways by now.  But what about the plants?  Particularly the shrubs and conifers that have been whipped by the winds.  In some of my “garden rooms” the wind acted more like cotton candy – spinning floss round and round and mounding snow piles in opposite corners like prize fighters facing off across the ring.

In almost all circumstances, the snow will act like a warm blanket for the plants. 
Leave the snow in the garden. It is a good thing.

If the heavy snow looks like it damaged conifers or shrubs you may need to take action.
I needed to get the snow off the lower limbs of a row of arborvitae before it cracked the limbs.

I also have a very large Steeds Japanese Holly, Ilex crenata, that came with the house so it must be at least 30 some years old.  Truth be told, it took a header last year with the sustained sequence of heavy snowstorms.  We knocked the snow off at that time, and hog-tied it up and it was just lovely throughout the summer. 
I thought it was on the road to recovery.

This past storm it suffered yet again.
I had my eye on it but must have looked away. Or maybe it happened during the night…

Essentially, the snow acts like a bomblet, cratering through the middle of the shrub, causing the Steed’s branches to open up like a British gentleman’s umbrella.

I had to try and nurse this good soldier back to health.

With a broom and a shovel and my hands as weapons
I went to war on the snow.

Intuitively, I shoveled out the inside bomblets of snow from Steed. 


A lot of that shoveling was more like a Medieval Crusader tossing molten lead over the “Murder Holes” or parapets of the castle turrets...

And a Murder it was. Murder by Snow

By hand, I shook off and pried off the snow that was packed into, onto and in between the branches, to prompt the snow to fall into the void I had created by shoveling out the bomblet snow. 
I had mentally divided the Steed into quadrants, working through two the first day.
It is very tedious work and the snow is heavy. 
I just kept repeating the shaking and prying. 
It was kinda' of a help – if you can even think of the snow as any kind of help here – but I am small and can almost “stand” on the snow berms so that I was even-steven with this seven-foot Steed -- allowing me to reach the top…

Ho, Ho Hoe! 
I also used a hoe a lot like a shovel, scooping the snow off the branches all the while trying not to cut or strafe the limbs. 
All too often, the Steed – and the nearby shrubs – seemed to be reaching out and quite literally clinging to me!  I could hear their cries of Help!! Help me!  I tenderly pried their needy stems from my pockets or zippers and reassured them I’d be there for them….

I got two quadrants up today, propped by the shovel and a mop… I should have been out there all day…

It’s great that it’s warmer. But the down side is ice forming on the top of the snow, making it all the more difficult to lift the snow and the branches.  
I could barely see over the snow berm to the promised land, er, snow-free zone just on the other side, not five feet away.  I did say that is was a crazy snowstorm, right?! The cotton candy whirls of wind whipped some areas lawn-dry while others were waist-high!
Gottta get all the white stuff off tomorrow.

I know I’m not the only one who may be working Plant Rescue this year so I did some research and asked the experts. 
Besides my own hands-on advice and a few tips, below are the results of my research.

There are two categories of Care:  Prevention and Repair. Hope this counsel helps you. 

I suggest that you prepare for winter before the weather prevents you from doing hands-on help. 
We all mulch, prune, and spray an anti desiccant on the shrubs, conifers, and trees. 
You may also need to do a survey and determine if some of the conifers and shrubs could use a screen – made out of burlap, for example.  Some can be wrapped. Or you may need to tie the branches together.
If the damage has been done, take pictures for documentation. Follow my repair recipe and/or follow my advice:

1.  You should also call a certified arborist tree expert for help. 

I asked my local certified tree expert, Michael Hufnagel, Hufnagel Tree Repair, for advice
Michael has worked on my yard and the slope down to the marina where it’s important to remove just the invasive plants and trees and preserve the good ones. He did such a good job, I asked him to work for my clients. I trust him and his generational experience.

According to Michael, president of Hufnagel Tree Repair, and ISA Certified Arborist, there are three key tips for Prevention and Repair of shrubs and trees when it comes to snow exposure:
  • During or right after a heavy snowfall, if it’s possible, use a pole or broom handle to knock off the wet snow from the smaller conifers and expensive or costly ornamental trees.  This action will help reduce the bending of branch stems due to extra weight on branch tips.
  • If going out in the snowstorm or right after is not possible, go the next day to clear snow from smaller conifers and ornamental trees as soon as possible to reduce the chance of bent limbs.  If the structural integrity has been compromised, the limbs will never stand straight again.
  • Prevent winter snow and ice damage on your valuable specimen trees, as well as the majestic trees on your property by having them storm-proofed and inspected by a Certified Arborist.

More Tips:
I Googled Web Research for what to do about snow damaged shrubs.  Most of the advice is Preventive – which was not what I needed, but I want to share because it is solid counsel.

1. Caring for Winter Damaged Shrubs and Trees by John Schach, ISA Certified Arborist, Good’s Tree Care Inc.

2.  How to Protect Shrubs from Heavy Snow from Garden

3.  How to Care for Snow Damaged Shrubs by Helen Yemm, The Telegraph

4.  Snow and the Garden: Will it Damage Plants and Shrubs? By Joanne Taylor, Philadelphia

5. (as part of a bigger plant story):
What about ice and snow?  Evergreens can be damaged by heavy snows or ice buildup. On trees such as spruce, the branches will usually bend and recover. Plants with upright branching such as arborvitae and junipers can split and break.
Can I prevent ice and snow damage?  Sometimes it’s possible to reach inside evergreens and tie branches up with something soft. (Panty hose are great for ties, since they are strong, flexible, soft and don’t degrade readily.)  On smaller landscape plants, you can wrap the outside loosely, like lacing a shoe.
Here’s to Glamorous Shrubs and Evergreens! 

 (Oh, and we needed some rosemary for the potatoes for dinner, so I was able to pick a stem straight from the garden.  The tip of the bush was peaking out from under a snow mound!) 

And the Coral Bark arbor couldn't have looked more sporting - it's flame red bark in stark relief to the cool white (heavy!) snow.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Double Feature -- In The Garden

The New York Botanical Garden’s Landscape Design Alumni enjoyed a very enriching and pleasant day recently, marked by two lectures.

It was a double feature! 

The morning’s talk was provided by photographer Betsy Pinover Schiff talking about her newest book, “New York City Gardens“  

And with that as the gold standard, she offered her tips and techniques about how best to photograph gardens- particularly our own garden designs. 

I brought my “Homegrown Long Island” book photographer, Jennifer Calais Smith, to the talk.  While Jennifer is a professional photographer – not like the rest of us who are garden designers first, I thought she’d enjoy the photography discussion and maybe even learn something J especially because Betsy is so good with such a body of garden work to share, having produced a library shelf’s worth of breathtaking garden books.

Instructor and author, Magda Salvesen, whose latest book is “Exploring Gardens and Green Spaces From Connecticut to the Delaware Valley,” hosted the afternoon garden talk. 

Betsy Pinover Schiff is a soft-spoken, dedicated and confident artist. 
She and I know each other from the year-long botanic garden project to produce the annual photographic wall calendar.  Every month featured an iconic seasonal image that helped tell the story of the garden. 
Her many visits to the garden to capture just the right mood and photo attest to the disciplined approach to her art that helps make it so special – and personal.

Betsy had copies of her books on display for the group to peruse. 
Accompanied by the PowerPoint presentation that was naturally chock a block with garden photos,

Betsy launched her talk with a bit of her background, saying photography is in fact, her third career. 
Previously, she worked as head of a school’s foreign language department and doing the public relations at Sotheby’s and the New York Public Library – which is where she first met Gregory Long, president of NYBG, where he then worked as the Director of Development
She explained it was at Sotheby’s where she learned invaluable and enduring art lessons, including composition and light.
“Looking, looking, looking” is how she remembers learning the art of good garden photography.

“Composition is a question of one’s eye. What to include or not.” 
She suggested we do a lot of looking and training of the eye by going to the library or bookstore to view fine art and photographs. “Ask why you like the photo.” She said.

The combination of her French language skills and art history, along with the chance to discover the art all around her, provided a trajectory art lesson that was not lost on her for a second. She told how she’d make certain to take advantage of Sotheby’s lunchtime talks with the experts about how to buy and sell at auction. She recounted how lucky she was to see what was on exhibit to be auctioned.  The next day, with the catalog firmly in hand, she could study the art.  It was her way of learning.  “There were art opportunities everywhere,” she recalled.

The latest NYC Garden book is a follow up of sorts, to her 1999 book "Garden in the City: New York in Bloom" which was the first book about public and private New York gardens, according to Betsy.  Text by Mary Jane Pool and Foreword by David Rockefeller it featured 120 gardens. She worked with Paul Gottleib, former editor with House & Gardens for 25 years and he excitedly provided entrée to gardeners for the Gardens in the City: NY in Bloom book.   “I knew gardens were hot and I could had total confidence I could market the book.  I had less confidence then about my emerging photography!” she confided.

Success was hers in the end. In fact, Hirmer Verlag, the German publishers of her new book, were captivated by her first foray and approached her for the NYC Gardens book.  The publisher even secured the Austrian-based text author, Veronika Hofer.
Was she interested? 
You bet. 
She explained how she “did it all” for this book – from identifying the gardeners and their gardens to securing permission and schedule access to photograph the gardens. No small feat.
Needing spring and summer images in the gardens, she had a mere three months to go from ‘what gardens?” to finished photos. 

Click, Click, Click. 
Time was of the essence.

Define Your Goal

Advice like this could be applied to most anything worth having. 
Here, Betsy repeated how critical it is in photography to confront the question constantly: “What’s your goal?”

She went on to describe her three key goals for this book.

She knew she had to set her guidelines for this book, particularly as the publisher wasn’t local. And the audience was primarily European.  “I wanted the book to scream, New York!”
The book had to have a “sense of place” so that even if a reader has never been to Gotham, the photo narrative will tell him where he is.  That means composing photos that would showcase the gardens with New York landmarks. The trick was to do it ever so artfully so that it didn’t end up as NY City postcards ‘cut and pasted’ next to the garden and parks! 

She said there is not a shot in the entire book that didn’t have purpose.  So there.

For example, one homeowner (The Lauders) love roses.  Their 4,000 square foot terrace includes several garden “rooms” but the artist in Betsy was compelled to showcase a photo narrative that spoke to the homeowner’s passion.  She wanted to evoke that personal, unique characteristic – to share the homeowner’s sensibility and the thing they cared about. Betsy showed us images of the roses reflected in the window of the “rose garden.” 

In much the same way, she made a great effort to capture the magic that characterizes Lynden Miller’s public garden perennial borders. Lynden is my idol, by the way J

Those who’ve had the pleasure and privilege to bask in the glory of Lynden’s sensual garden designs, you know the challenges Betsy faced in attempting to capture the these gardens.  Lynden was originally a painter.  Not surprisingly, she possesses an otherworldly ability to weave color, hue, shadow, texture – and yes – utility and art – into a garden tapestry that’s always astonishing – just like any fine art rendering.

Visit Lynden’s garden designs – NYBG, Battery Park City, Red Hook, Central Park – in any season – and you will experience a seminal connection to nature and art.  Later Magda cited Lynden’s “codes of seclusion” (sense of mystery walking through the garden designs) and strong palette in every season.”  
Is it obvious we LOVE Lynden?!

To better capture the essence of this garden design pallet, Betsy said she took “close-ups” to show depth and plant variety highlighted in the “Magic Miller” beds. 
There were plenty of oohs and ahhs and also lots of questions about these familiar-to-the-members garden.

When asked how she got the angle for the photo, Betsy revealed she usually has a stepladder with her to get the perfect perspective.

“Planting designs convey a lot,” said Betsy.  “That’s why I take shots from above to show what it’s like for homeowners.”  She takes high and low shots to show Bluestone paving, for instance, or statues – to show how they inform the garden paths and the garden beds.

She said she spends time walking the gardens to best determine if she should do more close ups or longer shots to best capture the angle or perspective in order to fulfill her stated goal or objective.

It all about Light, Perspective, Composition. (It’s that pesky, pertinent “goal thing.”)

“So much of composition has to do with ‘exclusion’ she explained.

And further, “Light and quality of light is so much of what photography is all about…”

Light is what allows for garden “mood.”
Saturation of color says one thing. Shadow says another that can communicate other garden “ideas.” 

Sometimes it’s best to combine light and lack of light.
Clouds can create “ceilings.”

And night says something else entirely. (Not as part of this talk but another author/photographer I worked with in the garden was Linda Rutenberg, “The Garden at Night: Private Views of Public Edens” produces the rare experience of a night in the botanical or public garden.  

Light variances were perhaps shown best by a Topher Delaney garden design to appreciative gasps.
It is indeed very special. There is a wall of mirrors with vines growing up on the lattice fronting the mirrors. Betsy had the challenge to photograph this “hall of mirrors” and not seeing herself reflected 20x! 
She also pointed out the inspiring Braille circles of poems imbedded in the sparse, clean patio garden.  (She also offered a funny aside about photographing them.)

Be sure to check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art roof garden photos – made all the more astonishing when you learn she had the “luxury of moments” to shoot the seven images that reflect the dynamic energy of Jeff Koons’ art and Central Park.  “I wanted to take the shot at an angle to show the art and the context of the Park as background.”

The Rockefeller Center and the Ken Smith-designed MoMA roof garden photos are worth the price of the book alone.  No one is allowed on the gardens and Betsy used her plucky New York artistic charm to capture a peak and a view of these inspiring gardens.  The gardens may be located in the heavens but you and me can’t beg the key from St. Peter – or the gardener.  Betsy did it for us. 

Betsy added a few of her tips:
She never “crops” photos. 
She uses film.
She uses digital for some landscape architecture for web sites or marketing work.

After Lunch

Magda Salvesen is too perfect in so many ways.  The online chatter among the alumni is that she is hands-down one of the most favorite and influential instructors at NYBG. 
She was a stimulating speaker with great content and advice. And that is always welcome after a longish morning – and lunch.
And her British accent is so charming and her sense of humor so acute, you don’t want to miss a nuance.

Magda skibbled through existing public parks and spent good time talking about the possibility of new parks. 

“There is much contaminated land in New York,” she said, and given the present administration’s (Bloomberg) advocacy of green space of all kinds – from median spaces to pocket parks, and community gardens -- she believes we could see a renaissance in producing new parks. Maybe not as sexy as the High Line Park.  But much-needed, new parks, nestling nicely in heretofore blighted urban areas.
“The Parks Department needs to encourage landscape designers to part of the process.” Magda said.  “Parks is not about just picking up litter.” The Parks staff should and needs to be about the Horticulture.”
Too many botanic and public gardens are too much about the public program (i.e. entertainment) according to Magda.  “Ornamentation becomes the lesser of priorities.”
She likes the public/private scenario as bested by New York’s Central Park success. 
She also recommends the Parks Departments work more closely, embracing landscape designers as part of the process.

Magda cited the city of Newark, New Jersey’s Branchburg Park Foundation example of how horticulture is a priority.

The mayor of Newark recognized the longstanding and inherent value of the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Branchburg Park. 

The Park was originally designed by the firm of John Bogart and Nathan F. Barrett in a romantic style.  Barrett is my favorite.  I have written about him frequently and will post a blog dedicated to him, I think.  He designed so many of the train stations in New Jersey, by and large due to not only his talent, but his relationship to George Pullman, inventor of the railroad sleeping car: The Pullman.  Pullman’s favorite estate, Castle Rest, was located in Elberon, NJ.  He also designed many residential gardens. I was elated to learn of one his extant gardens in Rumson, in the Garden State, while on a recent garden tour in the Two Rivers area. I was further gobsmacked to learn one of my most favorite garden design clients once lived there, and helped bring the garden back to its full grandeur, not surprisingly, as she loves all things beautiful and artful…
I shared my researched Barrett content and photo material with Arthur Melville Pearson who in turn, was helping the Barrett chapter contributors.  The request went out for information to be used as part of the first book to document the biographies and work of American landscape designers and architects: “Pioneers of American Landscape Design.”  

The Pioneer book chapter on Barrett documents his work for the planned town of Pullman, Ohio.
Interestingly, remember too, that research done at that time was pre-internet and pre-Google! Somehow, through passion and networking, contacts and links were made.  I was honored to send my painstaking research work to Mr. Pearson. 

The Pioneers project has been expanded –
By the way, the work of Charles A. Birnbaum is nothing short of extraordinary.  Check out the fascinating initiative driven by the Cultural Landscape Foundation.
The Branchburg park design was completed five years after Barrett’s design, by the Olmstead design firm.

The post-industrial Ruhr Valley garden and park design has infused the High Line Park landscape design, as well as other European and American parks, Magda explained. 
When describing the contaminated landscapes, “It used to be ‘Take it away’” said Magda.  But increasingly, she is hearing, “Splendid sites.  And “what have we done to nature?”
Regardless, she says it is our responsibility to clearly use and refurbish precious open spaces.  She showcased a number of very successful and artfully designed public spaces – particularly waterfronts.
The Hudson River Waterfront 18-miles of public walks run from Newport, NJ, Hoboken,  - and provide unparalled views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty. 
There is a continuous, thematic line connecting the parks, yet each has their own style using industrial artifacts and local style.

She joked that she sees use of rocks and berms here, there and everywhere!  However, she noted that berms do block urban noise, as they have successfully demonstrated in Chelsea as part of the Hudson River Park in NYC.

Magda concluded the garden talk with her list of top trends, followed by a lively Q&A.

Public/Private Alliances - cooperatives to build and maintain parks and public spaces

Sensible Tree Management

Car Parking – Magda cited Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township and their brilliant parking solution that serves as a green introduction to the arboretum. 

Memorial Gardens – Discussed the annual outpouring of these special gardens… “Every era has its wars, disasters and we must have a public display and place to mourn,” Magda said.  Citing Princeton’s September 11th tastefully designed garden memorial, British Memorial Garden in Manhattan, Union City Memorial for victims of September 11th.  “These gardens tranquility leads to rumination and thoughts.“ 

Pier or Waterfront Gardens

Healing Gardens

Lighting of public parks – “We have extended ideas about hours of access and lights are an extremely urban concept that allows us to enjoy our parks anytime – for sports, walking and enjoyment. Even if it’s night – lighting makes it possible.”

Green Roofs – everywhere from Chicago leadership to Queens, NY to Lincoln Center

Native plants – showed Mt. Cuba garden as a “most spectacular” example use of native plants 

Interest in Cemetery Landscapes (landscapes of remembrances) Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, Connecticut (1864)
and Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia (1836)
were shown as models.  Cedar Hill was designed by Joseph Weidenmann who turned the wet areas at the Cemetery’s entrance into a park, leading visitors through its more than 250 acres. I would add the 400 acres of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx (1863)
and Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY (1838) as other amazing examples of a cultural destination and horticultural wonder place to visit. According to Green-Wood’s website, by 1860 it rivaled Niagara Falls as America’s premiere tourist attraction!
Magda pointed out the older, 19th Century Cemeteries most often have very good trees for us to admire.  These special places have sculpture, artwork, lawns, wildlife and rural landscape designs – one of the first to utilize the graveyard design that today rivals arboretums. Here families loved ones and garden lovers can enjoy picnics, moonlight walks, bird watching.  Many cemeteries offer guided tours as the two models do, offering history, art, culture and horticultural natural beauty.  Laurel Hill’s nearly 80 acres is one of the few cemetery’s to have been designated a National Historic Landmark.  Magda suggests that as a society we will come to appreciate and use graveyards even more due to lack of space issues.  I can add that in my travels – to Paris and Cuba, in particular, the cemeteries are indeed a place to meet family and friends. In Havana, we had a memorable bicycle tour throughout the cemetery.  We were amazed at the spectacular statuary, use of plants, and the sense of loving care of this place as a garden destination to be enjoyed.  I couldn’t help but think there was such a sense of life that permeated what many Americans only think of as a final resting place, only visited after the funeral.

Garden History and Historic Gardens interest

Environmental Education

New Lawn Technologies

Food and the Garden – organic, food is more a part of gardening. Food safety.

Plant Introductions

Artists in the Designed Landscape

Children and Gardens

Broader interpretations of House and Garden and Estates

Vertical gardens – she doesn’t think they work. “Too much maintenance. The ones outside of buildings ‘don’t work’ according to Magda.

Friday, December 17, 2010


First Lady Michelle Obama to Present 
Top Museum Award to The New York Botanical Garden

NYBG Press Release:
First Lady Michelle Obama will present a 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service to The
New York Botanical Garden―one of five museums and five libraries to be honored in a White House
ceremony on Friday, December  17, 2010. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awards the National Medal, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries, to institutions for outstanding social, environmental, or economic contributions to their communities. This year the Institute of Museum and Library Services is recognizing one museum and one library for their work to advance global cultural understanding. 
The New York Botanical Garden has been chosen for this distinction due to its cutting-edge work in worldwide botanical research, conservation, and horticulture technology and display. The Garden will receive a $10,000 prize along with the other winners to help raise public awareness of the good work the institutions are doing in their communities. 
Gregory Long, President of The New York Botanical Garden, and Carrie Laney, the Garden’s Vice
President for Government and Community Relations, will attend the White House ceremony
accompanied by Karen Washington, a community activist who, in partnership with the Botanical
Garden’s Bronx Green-Up program, turned empty lots into beautiful gardens. Each medal winner was
asked to select one community member who could illustrate the institutions’ impact through a personal
story. Karen Washington has spoken out for garden protection and preservation, striving to make the
Bronx a better place to live.

As a member of La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she launched City Farms Market, bringing garden
fresh vegetables to her neighbors. Karen is on the board of Just Food, an all-volunteer effort promoting a holistic approach to food, hunger, and agriculture issues. She leads workshops on food growing and food justice for community gardeners all over the city. Karen is also president of the New York City
Community Garden Coalition, a group that was founded to preserve community gardens. 
She joined The New York Botanical Garden Board of Trustees in September 2009. According to Karen, “To grow your own food gives you power and dignity. You know exactly what you're eating because you grew it. It's good, it's nourishing and you did this for yourself, your family and your community.”   (Last year I attended a talk provided by Lynden Miller and Karen=garden heros both and wrote about their community garden work) 

“We are extremely honored to have The New York Botanical Garden’s achievements recognized by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through this prestigious award,” said Gregory Long. “The
Botanical Garden is thrilled to receive the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This award is a tribute to our dedicated staff members who continue to pursue the Garden’s mission in horticulture, science, education, and community service.”

“This year’s National Medal winners are serving their communities with innovative and creative new
approaches to lifelong learning, commitment to addressing diverse community needs, plain old hard
work, and a lot of heart,” said IMLS Acting Director Marsha L. Semmel. “Many of our winners have
evolved and grown despite tremendous challenges – all to empower and enrich the lives of their
community members by cultivating collaboration and openness. I am deeply appreciative of their efforts to make a difference. They serve as the nation’s role models.”
One of the Garden’s most renowned international initiatives, the Institute of Economic Botany (IEB) is
dedicated to the study and understanding of the relationships between people and plants, including plant-based medicine, sustainable agriculture, and forestry. In a time of rapid global change, the IEB works to further the conservation of Earth’s plant species by studying how plants are used in traditional cultures, conducting research on medicinal properties, and advocating for their conservation.
Thousands of plants, herbs, fruits, vegetables, and trees thrive on 250 acres of preserved green space carefully cultivated and maintained by The New York Botanical Garden. An advocate for the plant kingdom, the Garden uses its expertise and facilities to present programs, events, exhibitions, and classes that emphasize the importance of environmental conservation, healthy living, and science education, as well as strengthen the community.
Twenty-two years ago, the Bronx was overrun with abandoned lots and buildings, and neighborhoods
were losing their sense of community. To help transform the community, the Garden piloted Bronx
Green-Up, a horticulture outreach program that works with community groups to beautify, stabilize, 
and revitalize urban neighborhoods by planting public gardens in abandoned spaces. These gardens are maintained by local residents and reflect the diverse backgrounds of their gardeners, bearing fruits, vegetables, and herbs popular among the Bronx’s Hispanic, African-American, White, and Asian communities. Since its inception, Bronx Green-Up has created more than 300 community and school gardens and urban farms throughout the borough. 
The New York Botanical Garden welcomes more than 750,000 visitors each year. Approximately one-
third of them reside in the Bronx. The Garden views its mission, in part, as using plants to battle hunger, obesity, and declining science learning trends with programs tailored specifically to meet real community needs.
“I offer my congratulations to The New York Botanical Garden on receiving the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). “It's a landmark in the
community, and has always been ahead of the curve through its cutting-edge research. As a proud, long-time supporter of the Botanical Garden, I'm not at all surprised that the Institute of Museum and Library Services is taking notice.”

“I congratulate The New York Botanical Garden on this well-deserved recognition,” said U.S. Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). “It is a shining example of the Garden’s commitment to providing local
children with a safe environment to learn during non-school hours. I am proud to support programs
dedicated to improving science education and providing young people with safe opportunities to grow and prosper.”

“I would like to congratulate The New York Botanical Garden on its receipt of the 2010 National Medal
for Museum and Library Service,” said U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley (NY-07). “This award is a meaningful affirmation of the Garden’s long-standing commitment and service to the Bronx community. 
Through its many creative initiatives, the Garden demonstrates an extraordinary level of public service as well as a keen understanding of the community’s pressing needs. In addition, the Garden has played an active role in improving the diverse and vibrant neighborhoods that surround its landmark facility. The Bronx is proud to be home to this world-class institution.”

 “It is a great honor for our community that the Bronx’s New York Botanical Garden has been awarded
a 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” said Congressman José E. Serrano (NY-16).
“The NYBG is a treasured resource in the Bronx, and the acknowledgment of their exemplary service is long overdue. Their mission has been more broadly defined over the years from conservation and
horticulture to a wide variety of programs that enrich and enliven our community. We are grateful for
their service and applaud them in this moment of well-deserved recognition.”
In addition to The New York Botanical Garden, other recipients of the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service are: 
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Fishers, Indiana
Explora, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Mississippi
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, California
Rangeview Library District and Anythink Libraries, Adams County, Colorado
Peter White Public Library, Marquette, Michigan
West Bloomfield Township Public Library, West Bloomfield, Michigan
Patchogue-Medford Library, Patchogue, New York
Nashville Public Library, Nashville, Tennessee

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s
123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit
Any individual may nominate a museum and/or library in the United States and its territories for the
National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Members of the National Museum and Library Services Board, the Institute’s presidentially-appointed policy advisory board, review the nominations and make recommendations to the Institute Director who selects the winners. To view nomination information, please go to The deadline for 2011 nominations is February 15, 2011.

About The New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden has been a vital New York City cultural destination since its founding in 1891. The Garden pursues its mission through its role as a museum of living plant collections arranged in gardens and landscapes across its National Historic Landmark site; through its comprehensive education programs in horticulture and plant science; and through the wide-ranging research programs of the International Plant Science Center.

The New York Botanical Garden is a museum of plants located at Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) and Fordham Road. It is easy to reach
by Metro-North Railroad or subway. For more information, please call 718.817.8700 or visit our Web site at 

The New York Botanical Garden is located on property owned in full by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part
by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. A portion of the Garden’s general operating funds
is provided by The New York City Council and The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Bronx
Borough President and Bronx elected representatives in the City Council and State Legislature provide leadership funding.

The New York Botanical Garden Media Contact: Nick Leshi, 718.817.8616/8658 
IMLS Media Contact: Gina White, 202.653.4745
Images available

To learn more about community gardens:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Garden Calendar of Events

Garden Calendar of Events in around Gotham:

Horticultural Society of New York - HSNY

Wednesday, December 8
New York City Gardens
A talk with Betsy Pinover Schiff

Leave the pavement behind and enjoy thirty of New York's most outstanding gardens including luxurious roof gardens and private courtyard oases in this illustrated presentation by photographer Betsy Pinover Schiff. Her new book, written with Veronika Hofer, features gardens designed by noted landscape architects (Hideo Sasaki, Ken Smith and Halstead Wells) and some very talented home owners. Sam Roberts of The New York Times writes: "Readers get rare, lush glimpses" of city gardens in this "ambrosial paean to public and private spaces." A book signing will follow.

Doors open at 6pm; Talk starts promptly at 6:30
Hort Members $10; Non-members $20
REGISTER ONLINE or call (212) 757-0915 x100

Thursday, December 9
Contemporary Heirlooms
Art from the Hudson Valley Seed Library

On view December 9 – 23, 2010

Opening Reception
Thursday, December 9, from 6:30 to 8:00pm
Free and open to the public.
Reception sponsored by Tuthilltown Spirits.

The exhibition showcases for the first time in New York City original artworks commissioned by the Hudson Valley Seed Library for their unique Art Pack seed collection. Each season, the Seed Library looks for a diverse range of artists to interpret the herbs, flowers and vegetables from their catalog for the designs of their seed packets. The focus this year was on the heirloom varieties currently available through the Seed Library. All sixteen artworks from the 2011 collection will be on view. Drawing from a range of different styles, materials, and experience, Contemporary Heirlooms includes works in a variety of mediums, including collage, encaustics, oil, ink, watercolor and digital art by a diverse selection of artists. The diversity of the artwork and artists chosen is meant to reflect the genetic and cultural diversity of the varieties offered by the Seed Library.

Preview Party & Exhibition Walkthrough
Join us for an intimate reception with local hors d'oeuvres from Katchkie Farm and Great Performances and drinks from Hudson Real American Whiskeys.
A talk and guided tour of the exhibition will be led by Ken Greene, co-founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Library.

Thursday, December 9th, 5:00 to 6:30pm
Hort and Seed Library members $10;
Non-members $20 online, $25 at door
Purchase tickets online or call 212-757-0915 x121

Thursday, December 16
A Tribute to Mark Lewis
The Natural History of the Chicken and
Cane Toads: An Unnatural History

Unlike many other producers of nature films, Mark Lewis makes films that do not attempt to document the animals in question or their behaviors, but rather the complex relationships between people, society and the animals they interact with. We have chosen two such films that both endear and edify us to the human/animal condition. Join us for a double feature screening of The Natural History of the Chicken and Cane Toads: An Unnatural History.

The Natural History of the Chicken
The humble chicken finally gets the big-screen tribute it so richly deserves in this documentary, which offers an inside look at America's $40 billion a year poultry industry, while also casting a gently humorous eye on domesticated chickens and the people who care for them.

Cane Toads: An Unnatural History
Cane toads - Bufo marinus, natives of central America - were imported by the sack-load to Australia in 1935 in an attempt to rid the country of the Greyback beetle, which was rapidly destroying the sugarcane crop. The cane toads adapted beautifully to their new surroundings. Problem was, the beetle could fly and the cane toad couldn't. What the cane toad is unusually proficient at, however, is making more cane toads - thousands upon thousands more. Cane Toads: An Unnatural History tells the story of this amphibious assault - warts and all. Join us for the screening of this cult classic.
Doors open at 6pm; Film starts promptly at 6:30
Holiday Special: FREE admission

Wave Hill Garden

Gather your loved ones and celebrate the season at Wave hill! Drop by this weekend to create your own gifts and holiday decorations inspired by the gardens and galleries at Wave Hill. Children eight and older welcome with an adult. Registration not required. First come, first served while supplies last. 11AM—3PM
Amaryllis Gift Pot
Pot up a bulb in a terracotta pot, cover it with a saucer and decorate the "kit" for a beautiful, unique and environmentally friendly gift. $15 Member/$20 Non-member per project.
Natural Wreaths and Swags
Create one-of-a-kind holiday decorations using fresh greens harvested from Wave Hill's extensive gardens. Each participant designs a verdant wreath or swag accented with natural materials and elegant accessories. $25 Member/$30 Non-member per project.
Felted Soaps 
Artist Teresa Berger guides you through the process of creating a felted bar of soap. Roll up your sleeves and practice the art of felting—bonding and shrinking the fibers using water, heat and agitation. $9 Member/$12 Non-member per project.

Nature in the Garden: Discovery Walks
Explore Wave Hill’s woodlands and gardens and discover the world of insects, trees,
birds and their fascinating habitats on these naturalist-led walks, offered jointly by
Wave Hill and NYC Audubon. Ideal for ages five and up and their curious adult companions. Light rain, snow or shine, so dress for the weather!
Free for Wave Hill
Members/$5 Non-members. Free for NYC Audubon Members
with two-for-one admission to the grounds. Registration recommended, at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center
when you next visit.  Severe weather cancels. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM, day of,
for weather-related updates. 9:30–11:30AM

Horticulture Lecture Series
Wednesday, January 19, John A. Gwynne, a Harvard-trained landscape architect with a long career at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Mikel Folcarelli, a sculptor with a fine arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design and now global head of visual identity for Façonnable,trace the stages in developing their own garden in coastal Rhode Island, beginning with fiendish plant collecting, then designing the space and learning to better grow plants there and now starting to develop a wild meadow garden with native flora.

Wednesday, February 23, Potter Frances Palmer discusses her work, her process and how botanical interests influence the classic, one-of-a-kind vases and bowls that she hand-throws for a wide array of clients, each piece a perfect vessel for the myriad dahlias and other flowers lovingly grown in the spectacular, organic cutting garden adjacent to her sunny, windowed studio.

Wednesday, March 16, Margaret Roach, until three years ago EVP/Editorial Director of Martha Stewart, settled upstate, fulfilling a craving for solitude, a daily connection to nature and her first passion, the weekend garden she’d nurtured for 20 years. Her blog AWay to has been called the best garden blog by The New York Times.

Order online or call. This is a great series!

Full a full December Wave Hill calendar:

Longwood Gardens

The holidays shine like never before. Imagine half a million brilliant lights strung with over 39 miles of cord.
Lit trees the soar 75 feet, dancing fountains that reach the sky:
Throughout the Christmas season, beginning November 25, dancing fountain shows are set to holiday music once every hour from 10:00 am–4:00 pm. From 5:00–9:00 pm, shows run frequently, with 2-5 minute delay between each show (weather permitting). The shows illuminate the night with vibrant colors and a glittering backdrop of snowflakes. 
And a 4.5-acre heated indoor Conservatory, featuring a giant Art Nouveau tapestry made from pink poinsettias and ferns, and the richest floral displays imaginable.
A Longwood Christmas is a celebration months in the making—with hundreds of amaryllis, cyclamen, narcissus and literally thousands of poinsettias.
And if all the must-sees aren't enough, there is plenty of must-hears, too—with special performances throughout the holidays.
Holiday music performances every day.
Horticultural highlights this season:General Indoor Highlights 
Calla-lily (Zantedeschia)
Coleus (Solenostemon)
Cyclamen coum (Cyclamencoum)
Heaths (Erica)
Heathers (Calluna)
Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Primroses (Primula)
Red Stem Dogwoods (Cornus stolonifera)
Winterberry Hollies (Ilex verticillata)

General Outdoor Highlights 

The New York Botanical Garden

The Train Show, The Train Show, The Train Show! 
Not to be missed! This traditional display is as much a part of the New York Holidays as the tree in Rockefeller Center.  Plus every year there are new, incredible New York building icons to astonish!

Conservatory Exhibition

Saturday, November 20, 2010, through Sunday, January 9, 2011
The Holiday Train Show in The New York Botanical Garden’s Victorian-style Conservatory beckons visitors to enter a magical world under glass brimming with history and enchantment. Experience the wonder of large-gauge model trains and trolleys wending their way past more than 100 replicas of New
York landmarks, including the original Penn Station and Yankee Stadium, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and Radio City Music Hall—all created from plant materials such as bark, moss, twigs, berries, and pine cones. Debuting in the 19th edition of this favorite family outing is a re-creation of Eero Saarinen’s icon of modern design, the Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight Center at JFK International Airport.

Everett Children’s Adventure Garden Program
Gingerbread Adventures

Saturday, November 20, 2010, through Sunday, January 9, 2011
Vibrant vignettes of a gingerbread town deck the halls of the Discovery Center, where children smell, touch, taste, and view under a microscope the spices and other plant ingredients that go into a classic gingerbread recipe. A gingerbread jazz band, ice skaters, and a farmer are among the colorful characters providing a festive atmosphere as participants also plant up wheat seeds, develop field research notebooks, and decorate their own gingersnap cookies in the Gingerbread Adventures program. The entire family can enjoy the display of elaborate gingerbread creations by renowned bakers: Lauri DiTunno, Cake Alchemy, Manhattan; Irina Brandler, Sugar and Spice Bake Shop, the Bronx; Kay Hansen, Riviera Bakehouse, Ardsley; Patti Paige, Baked Ideas, Manhattan, Kate Sullivan, Lovin Sullivan Cakes, Manhattan; and Mark Tasker, Balthazar Bakery, Manhattan.

Puppet Show
The Little Engine That Could™ Puppet Show (©Penguin Group USA)
Tuesday–Thursday, November 30–December 3, and December 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 11:30 a.m.
Daily, December 27–31 at 1, 2, and 3 p.m.
The Arthur and Janet Ross Lecture Hall is the site for this whimsical production of the classic tale, presented by New York City’s puppet master Ralph Lee. Trains and fun go hand-in-hand as the story comes to life through old-fashioned steam engine puppets, each with its own eccentric personality.
For more information on dates and times, please visit
Have you ever wanted to talk to the Garden's staff and learn more about the Garden's plants or collections? Now you can by listening to the Garden's audio tours, which cover a breadth of subjects from horticulture to garden history. Learn more about the research scientists are doing at the Garden, find out what's in bloom, and leave your comments for Garden staff. 

There are over 100 stops to choose from; enjoy them at your own pace and in any order. The tour can also be accessed by phone by calling 718.362.9561.

The New School

Tuesday, December 7, 6:00 p.m.
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
Admission: Free, but RSVP required.
New School President Bob Kerrey engages in a one-on-one discussion with Bill Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit working to end childhood hunger in the United States. The forum features Shore's most recent book, The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men, which profiles a group of scientists' effort to develop a malaria vaccine despite tremendous odds. Their persistence and hope reveal the entrepreneurial strategies and qualities of character required to solve problems affecting people so voiceless, vulnerable, and economically marginalized that the solutions themselves have no market.