Thursday, February 25, 2016

The New York Botanical Garden 2016 Orchid Show Exhibit Orchidelirium celebrates the enduring spell of orchids.

Let’s just stop pretending that anything other than beauty matters when it comes to orchids.... Just like any of us who have ever been hopelessly in love, we all swoon when seeing a truly irresistible romantic. Here, at The New York Botanical Garden's orchid show extravangza, there are rainbows of colors, the (good) fragrances, and the incredibly, intricate forms or shapes of an orchid to capture our hearts desire. Plus there is something so inextricably intimate about the orchid blossoms. They are seductive. They draw you in - not unlike their unwitting pollinators. (More on that later - but according to Marc Hachadourian,  Director of the Nolen Greenhouses and Curator of the Orchid Collection, on a pre-event tour of the Orchid Show,
"Most, if not all of the orchid's pollinators, prefer the flower to the female."  Sexy...

We “lean in” to see and smell and admire these exotic plants. They captivate us like no other plant for any number of reasons. So, I’ll let their elegant beauty tell the story.

I was honored to again have an invitation from New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) - (and disclosure, I once worked at the Garden) to attend the 14th Annual Orchid Show. I remember the initial thinking and strategy behind the Orchid Show exhibit. What a blockbuster the Orchid Show has become. This year all exhibits will be, in some way, an homage to the Garden’s 125th Anniversary.

First up: the beauty. As NYBG noted in their background material: “The 19th-century craze sparked by a single orchid bloom, which came to be known as Orchidelirium, is the inspiration for The New York Botanical Garden’s 14th annual Orchid Show, which opens on February 27 and runs through April 17, 2016. Visitors to the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory will be transported on an epic journey that engages all of the senses and underscores the allure and intrigue of these exquisite beauties.

Thousands of orchids in a stunning array of colors, sizes, shapes, and textures will be showcased, highlighting the far-flung adventures of daring explorers who risked life and limb to secure these captivating and exotic flowers from danger-laden jungles around the world for determined collectors. From its origins in England as a symbol of power, wealth, and opulence, the frenzied fascination with orchids underpins the exhibition, which illustrates their transition from the wild to their display and cultivation as well as the Garden’s important role in their conservation today.

And seeing the displays today and with regard to the background information on the Garden’s impressive work to conserve and preserve orchids, I feel there must have been an interloper of sorts listening to a conversation about the upcoming orchid show on a return train trip from the Garden not that long ago with fellow horticulturists. I was detailing how I wished the Garden could could showcase the orchids they’ve respectfully taken care of all these many years - as part of the their abundant role as a designated Plant Rescue Center. So I was thrilled to read this paragraph from NYBG. Maybe in future years we can all view these rescue orchid plants and learn their stories as told from the “bad” plant hunters. There’s a lesson here for all…

"Orchid exploration today is inextricably tied to conservation efforts to preserve species in the wild. Since 1990, The New York Botanical Garden has been a designated Plant Rescue Center, charged with nurturing and bringing back to health orchids that have been collected illegally in the wild and seized at international borders through the Convention on Illegal Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). NYBG’s orchid experts, Matthew Pace, Assistant Curator of the Herbarium, and Marc Hachadourian, Director of the Nolen Greenhouses and Curator of the Orchid Collection, are at the forefront of modern orchidology and conservation. "  Yeah!!
Marc Hachadourian, Director of the Nolen Greenhouses and Curator of the Orchid Collection

Did you know?  
NYBG will tell you, "Orchids belong to the largest family of flowering plants, with more than 30,000 naturally occurring species. NYBG’s celebrated permanent orchid collection represents all of the floristic regions of the world, including Australia, Africa, South America, and Madagascar, and this exhibition will showcase some unusual and rarely seen gems. Specimens of the spectacular Psychopsis papilio, which inspired the Duke of Devonshire’s obsession with orchids that contributed to Orchidelirium in London, will be on view along with Paphiopedilum sanderianum, named for nurseryman Frederick Sander, the self-proclaimed “Orchid King,” renowned for the remarkable length of its petals."

Aesthetic delights in the Haupt Conservatory begin in the Palms of the World Gallery’s Reflecting Pool, which will be festooned with a plethora of bold orchids in pots and delicate orchids perched in trees. Proceeding through the exhibition, visitors will be treated to displays of thousands orchids as they grow in the wild, in much the same way the Victorian-era explorers first encountered them in their travels through tropical habitats around the world— cascading from branches, nestled in crevices, reaching up from under rain forest trees. To create this irresistible world of fragrance and color, NYBG horticulturists assemble thousands of flowers from the Garden’s research collections as well as the finest growers across the country. From the rare and oldest to the unusual and iconic, orchids of seemingly every conceivable color, shape, and provenance will be on display.

Moving on through the Conservatory galleries, you’ll learn about the transition of orchids from growing in the wild to cultivation in the greenhouse. The trendsetting Duke of Devonshire began collecting orchids in 1833 at his Chatsworth House estate. His head gardener, Joseph Paxton, revolutionized the way orchids were cultivated in England by innovating larger and more effective glasshouses, beginning with the Great Conservatory there and culminating in his masterpiece, the Crystal Palace of Prince Albert’s Great Exhibition in London in 1851.

A series of vignettes will evoke the dazzling glasshouse displays that the Duke and other obsessed collectors went to great lengths to create with their newly acquired prized specimens brought back by hired hunters, who often endured shipwrecks, animal attacks, and even fatal competition among other hunters.

Antiqued, staged potting benches with specimen orchids of strange and rare species will be featured. Hanging pots, baskets, and Victorian walls containing a diverse selection of orchids from around the world combine formal features with less formal plantings to achieve a lush and enveloping glasshouse environment. A small stone patio will accommodate a stunning Wardian Cases (an early type of protective terrarium for plants that was used as a method of transporting and displaying the orchids) housing a selection of miniature orchids.

Also highlighted throughout the exhibition will be fellow British horticulturists and collectors such as James Bateman, whose beautifully illustrated manuscripts contained detailed renderings of orchids and vignettes depicting New World Spanish colonies. Oakes Ames, the great American botanist and NYBG Patron, traveled the globe with his wife, Blanche, who illustrated their finds. Ames donated his important collection to NYBG in 1906, and several rare plants will be on display.

The Orchid Show: Orchidelirium is designed by Christian Primeau, who oversees the extensive tropical/subtropical plant collections housed in 11 unique environments in the Conservatory. Marc Hachadourian curates the exhibition’s orchid selection and NYBG’s extensive groupings of living plants from around the world housed in the Nolen Greenhouses, the behind-the- scenes glasshouses where plants for the Garden’s indoor and outdoor displays and science program are grown and maintained.

Don't miss this enchanting orchid display.  In the meantime, enjoy this magical orchid hillock display in the video I shot at the preview:

Event Details:
The Orchid Show: Orchidelirium will be on display as NYBG marks its 125th Anniversary from February 27 to March 17th.

§ Orchid Evenings on Saturdays (March 5, 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9,16), Friday (April 15), and Thursday (March 24, LGBT night) bring a nighttime cocktail experience to The Orchid Show: Orchidelirium.

One of New York City’s most romantic date night activities, Orchid Evenings start at 6:30 pm and include a complimentary cocktail. On select evenings, visitors can also upgrade to V.I.P. status and enjoy an Orchid Lounge.

Non-Member $35/Member $25 (Adults 21 and over) Advance tickets recommended.

§ In partnership with the Poetry Society of America, Poetry for Every Season: Ada Limon features poems in the landscape celebrating spring, flowers, and beauty.

§ World Beat: Music and Dance Around the World of Orchids brings live performances from cultures around the world on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the exhibition.

§ On weekends during the exhibition, orchid care demonstrations with topics such as “Easy Orchid Care,” “Fantastically Fragrant Orchids,” and “Orchid Tips for Amateurs” show visitors how to care for their own orchids.

§ Cell phone/Mobile or Smart Phone tour stops at NYBG Shop will be available to provide answers to frequently asked orchid questions and allow visitors to dial up care tips on watering and feeding, reblooming, and repotting for several specific types of orchids. Thousands of top-quality orchids, from exotic, hard-to-find specimens for connoisseurs to elegant yet easy-to-grow varieties for beginners, are available for purchase at NYBG Shop, along with orchid products and books.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Next Renaissance of Horticulture - Planting in a Post-Wild World lecture at NYBG

Anticipation was amped-up for the Thomas Rainer talk at The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). He and co-author, Claudia West recently headlined at Metro Hort’s annual trade show and symposium: Plant-O-Rama. And frankly, I hadn’t heard this kind of frothy excitement for a speaker in I can’t remember when. Well, really I can. It was when Tracy DiSabato Aust launched her series of planting guide books, including or especially, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden

Rainer, landscape architect, teacher, and writer didn’t disappoint. He is authentic, experienced - as in he’s done this - not just come up with some ideas. And he is, understandably, more than inspiring. In a soft-spoken way. Not like the image of a firebrand "revolutionary." But make no mistake - Rainer is at the vanguard of a revolution: a "renaissance of horticulture."

I was lucky to have ridden the train back to Manhattan with Thomas so we got to chat a bit about the business vagaries of today’s horticulture, gardens, deer - they are destroying our understory and our gardens.. and why do we need to import New Zealand lamb when we are being overrun with bloody deer?! And tax credits for maintaining edible gardens (those last two, I confess, are my hot topics!)  Not a surprise Thomas is just as delightfully professional one-on-one as he is in the lecture hall. I can more readily appreciate how he is a leading voice in ecological landscape design. And boy do we need this now.

Rainer and West’s book, Planting in a Post-Wild World has aroused garden designers and landscape professionals to a reverential state. The book claims no less than to be the “future of planting design.” By the end of the lecture, it was with a respectful awe that I rather came round to agree with this assertion. Like a force of nature, it took some time to understand it all. And while I haven’t read the entire book yet, my notes from the lecture and looking through my autographed Post-Wild book (lucky me!), I’ll share the top-line revelations as to why you must get this book and become a Wild advocate.

First, there is the concept of Plant Communities and their “relationships with the environment” not as types or categories but as a series of layers that are sequentially added to the site.” The book notes, “Understanding the distinction between design and functional layers is crucial to balancing beauty with function.”

Like any disciple of fashion knows, it’s all about the layering.

So too, Post-Wild’s planting model utilizes the concept of vertical layering with planting designs. The First Layer or Structural Layer  “describes the tallest, most visually dominant species within a (plant) community.” These are the glamour plants that the book says, “draw your attention with their distinct architecture, tall height, and bold colors and textures.”

Think trees, shrubs, tall perennials and grasses. This layer, the authors assert, is the “design layer because its goal is to create visually pleasing horticultural effects.”

The next layer is the Functional Layer.  Hey, not all plants are divas. This layer, the authors describe, as “the mix of low, ground-covering species.” They claim that “almost no one sees it.” I may not be totally on-board with this suggestion as I’m a meticulous, ie. obsessive garden designer and enthusiast. For me and my clients. But I understand the concept. Which is, according to Wild, “to hold the ground and fill any gaps to prevent weed invasion.” I Love this layer “nook and cranny” planting design.  Plus, let’s not continue to think of mulch as the filler, Rainer suggests.

There is one more element to fostering the true plant community and that is the “Seasonal Theme Layer.” These are the companion plants or "friends" to the Structural Plants. This plant category represents from 25 to 40 percent of the planting and is dominated by the plants’ “filler” performances in terms of structure, and color balance.

What kind of Plants are in the Look-Book Layers?

As the backbone of the planting, Layer 1 or the Structural plants include: Andropogon gerardii, Sorghastrum nutans, or Miscanthus sinensis, as well as perennials such as Asclepias incarnata, in addition to the trees and shrubs. Key notes Wild is the structural frame species must be “long-lived.”

Layer 2 or the Seasonal Theme Plants include : Salvia nemorosa, Calamintha nepeta nepeta, or Mertensia virginica.

Layer 3 or the Ground-Covering Plants include those with “aggressive, clonal-spreading behavior (yikes!) such as ferns, sedges, (ahhh) and woody plants such as Vaccinium or Heath, Calluna vulgaris, or Origanum, Tiarella or Geum.

Rainer lamented the decline of natural wild spaces. There is no doubt that increasingly we live in urban-esque environments. He cites the “enchanting power” of wildness.

Planting is a Post-Wild World is truly a doable, revolutionary approach to landscape design.
Later, in line for the book signing, I overheard the woman two after me gush, “You changed my life." This kind of worship is most often reserved for spiritual leaders or life coaches. But then, hearing Rainer’s garden landscape manifesto, there is no doubt that surely, he is indeed a kind of spiritual leader.

Please get this book and come to a new place of garden design…

Plants naturally interact. Wild offers a place and mind-set to reflect on the marriage or intersection of horticulture and ecology. Oh, and one more design and fashion point here, Rainer admonishes a point so close to my garden design ethos: “Abandon the lawn.” Not entirely, mind you. He explains, it’s better as an “area rug vs. a carpet - a terrace when surrounded by plants.”

Published by Timber Press - every plant lover’s favorite - Post-Wild’s blurbs capture the celebrities of the horticulture world, including the cover page’s quote from Doug Tallamy and back-of-book quote from landscape architect, Larry Weaner.  High praise from the best. We can all learn and enjoy the journey. 
Post-Wild suggests that wild is no longer “nature lost” as in we could just leave the city or move to a less-developed area.  Now, the “front lines of the battle for nature are in our own backyard” … parking lots, and public spaces….

Let’s embrace this garden design “revolution.” No need to barricade the gates. After all, they are happy, garden gates - the entry to understanding a sustainable, ecological, landscape.

Rainer’s blog, grounded design by Thomas Rainer offers a potent credo. One of the more salient points is: "Nature should be interpreted not imitated in designed landscapes." Furthermore, the feedback from readers on Amazon delivers plenty of four-star accolades you’ll find inspiring, thought-provoking and well, revolutionary. A glamorous - and sustainable - road map to the future of garden design.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Discover the Relationships Between Plants and Food at NYBG’s Culinary Kids Weekend

Theobroma cacao - Chocolate! Food of the gods & goddesses. Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen, courtesy of NYBG

Discover the Relationships Between Plants and Food at NYBG’s Culinary Kids Weekend 

If all the pretty snow has the family nesting inside and yet wondering what to do on this home-from-school holiday, get to New York Botanical Garden for the last day of the Culinary Kids Weekend. The hands-on food fun runs till 3:00 pm.

NYBG’s Edible Academy celebrates the relationships among plants, farms, and nutritious meals during Culinary Kids Weekend. This family-friendly program offers culinary workshops, hands-on activities, music, and cooking demonstrations with NYC chefs. Activity stations include:

§ Edible Academy: Learn about kitchen tools as you sift, slice, and measure. Then taste-test a favorite winter recipe of the Edible Academy staff.

§ Growing Chefs: Learn about food from field-to-fork with the garden-to-kitchen educational team Growing Chefs. Combine a green thumb with an art project and create a take-home notebook telling the story of a sunflower before sampling a scrumptious “flower power” treat

§ Planthropy: Join Planthropy as they explore the sensory delights of culinary herbs. Learn how herbs can aid health and take home a personal sachet of delicious cooking herbs.

§ Big Apple Edibles: Sample a smoothie borrowed from a worm’s favorite recipe, and learn how these wonderful wigglers make garden soil rich and tasty for plants.

§ Hudson Valley Seed Library: Try solving riddles about which seeds sprout into the plants necessary for growing different meals. Then make a seed envelope to take home.

§ Worksongs: Sing and dance with the Worksongs team as they prepare the harvest for winter storage. Play instruments and be inspired by the stories and photographs of historical singers. Join daily sing-alongs at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (plus a barn dance), and 2:30 p.m.

Cooking demonstrations from NYC Chefs are at 1p.m.

Featured Culinary Workshops with healthy take-home dishes each day at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m.:

§ Health Barn USA: The Very Best Pops

§ By Hand Culinary: Handmade Pasta

§ Chef George Edwards: Squash Noodles

At the Garden, of course! The New York Botanical Garden is located at: 2900 Southern Boulevard; Bronx, NY

Culinary Kids Weekend is included in the All-Garden Pass.
Adults $20, Seniors/Students $18, Children ages 2–12 $8, Children under 2 free. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets. Usually the Garden is closed Mondays but this is a special holiday -- so enjoy the Culinary Kids activities and all the plants in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Ahhhh, the intoxicating rush of that oxygen is a welcome reminder of the power and magic of plants…

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Celebrate Lunar New Year, Asian Gardens & Chinoiserie

The Lingering Garden,  China

It is with great reverence that I approach Asian gardens. See, before I studied landscape design (and earned my certificate from The New York Botanical Garden - NYBG), my Western aesthetic hadn’t prepared me for the artful meaning and beauty to be discovered in Asian garden design. Even my many trips to Japan hadn’t opened my eyes - probably because my heart wasn’t yet ready to embrace this ancient art form.

As part of business trips, I visited many gardens in Japan and most certainly was awestruck by their incredible detail - later I would learn that Asian gardens combine the basic elements of Nature: water, rocks, and of course, plants. I was readily impressed by the gardens - and daresay, humbled by their ability to create an intense aura of mystery. I loved the winding paths (it’s said evil spirits travel in straight lines so one can thwart the spirits with curved paths.).

I also was intrigued by the romance of the quiet fountains, the ponds with their golden fish and moss-covered shores and tree groves that whispered with pine needles underfoot and just the birds to sing hymns to the gods. But I was also confounded by the “karesansui” or “dry landscape garden” raked to super Type A perfection in their Sand and Stone Garden.

Kyoto's Daitoku-ji Temple garden

In my naivete, I wondered, “Why not green or grass there?” I was enchanted when I was told that legend had it that Japanese sailors who went to sea to explore and never returned were thought to have found heaven, never to return. These sand gardens were said to recreate the boats and islands - using the rocks and moss and the sand as sea, in order to bring the gods - and their heaven into the garden.

The boat-shaped stone on the "water"

I have since come to understand the enduring beauty of Asian gardens and further, to not only take to my heart the teachings and fundamentals of this particular garden design and to incorporate some elements of its ancient discipline into my own and client's’ garden designs, including Feng Shui - (“wind and water are associated with health”) and Zen landscapes but to recognize that I’ll always be a student of this eternal, timeless art form.

I am fortunate to be able to attend the many landscape design garden lectures produced by both NYBG and Wave Hill, in particular. Just over the past few years, lessons learned I’ve learned from some of the masters would inspire a lifetime of learning...

Shunmyo Masuno who I covered here in Landscape Design NYBG Lecture Review of Japan's leading Garden Designer and Zen priest: Shunmyo. It was written that “Shunmyo is at once Japan's most-acclaimed landscape architect and the head priest of Kenkoh-ji, his Buddhist Temple in Yokohama. Renowned for his ability to blend striking contemporary elements with the traditional design vernacular, he has established gardens around the world in a wide variety of settings: traditional and contemporary, urban and rural, public and private, and include temple, office, hotel, and campus venues. HIs design work in inseparable from his Buddhist practice. Whether in his celebrated traditional gardens"Vancouver's Nitobe Memorial and the Yuusien in Berlin"or his striking karesansui (dry-landscape gardens) "the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo"each project becomes a Zen garden, "a special spiritual place where the mind dwells.’ “

I also learned much from the Chinese landscape star, Kongjian Yu, who I covered here: NYBG Landscape Design Lecture featured Chinese Star - who spoke about “Green Infrastructure,” and urban gardens. Some background written about Yu, “He is founder and dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Peking University and founder and president of Turenscape, one of the first and largest private architecture and landscape architecture firms in China. His practice includes projects in major cities in the United States and around the world, and his numerous awards include this year’s prestigious ASLA Excellence Award for his work at Qunli Stormwater Park. His guiding design principles are appreciation of the ordinary and a deep embrace of the power of nature. (My emphasis.)

Personal Asian Garden journeys
Perhaps because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day - but really because I lean into the romance of all gardens - including Asian gardens, so I’ll share with you just a few of the gorgeous, hypnotic gardens I’ve had the good fortune/lucky chance to visit in China and Japan. In China, my niece Marissa, who was teaching English to Chinese students in Shanghai, made arrangements for us to visit the UNESCO: World Heritage Lingering Garden, located within the famed garden district, Suzhou, often referred to as the “Venice of China.” The Lingering Garden has long been acclaimed as an “earthly Paradise,” and so begins a Tang Yin poem.

The lingering aspect of the garden - said to exist between Earth and Heaven - is designed to delight and prompt you to stay… The garden is a “series of scenes made up of the elements of rocks -- featuring 12 limestone peaks

-- water, vegetation -- known especially for its paeonia suffruticosa - and buildings was an extraordinary, decorative garden art. In fact, the Lingering Garden is noted as one of the four most famous gardens in China that was originally a private garden and once hosted the wealthy “pleasure-seekers” and gentlemen of leisure.” A key element of Asian garden style is creating vignettes that can't be viewed all at once. The winding paths and axis points beckon you to continue the discovery.

So too, the viewing pavilions and structures allow heart-clutching vistas. They frame your perspective. You have to love the names of some of the viewing pavilions in the Lingering Garden: “Good-For-Farming Under Favorable Weather Conditions” is a best-of.

So many of the gardens featured bonsai & container compositions

Many of the gardens I visited in Japan were the ones that were designed for devotional or ritual experiences, mainly in and around Kyoto -- which is where I think most Westerners think of their imagery of ancient, spiritual Japan. Tao tradition has it that to stroll in a garden is to enter a sacred world; “to follow the example of the immortals, who by walking in nature, sought to become one with eternity.” Amen to that. Couldn’t agree more.

I visited the Golden Palace in the autumn but love this winter look

Entrance to tea house, cleansing

If jetting off to Asia is not in your travel plans, then visit your local botanic gardens or arboreta where there is often stellar Asian gardens to enjoy close to home. (Find a listing at the American Horticultural Society and if you are a member, you have the added benefit of reciprocal admissions). The New York Chinese Scholar's Garden is an authentic garden, created and built by experts from China. The John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden of Locust Valley is a not-to-be-missed garden. Asian gardens were all the rage in Victorian times. Mrs. Caroline Astor built a glamorous one at Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island that I fell in love with the first time I saw it on our honeymoon there.

Mrs. Vanderbilt's Tea House, Marble House, photo courtesy of the Classical Addiction

In terms of decor, Asian style became so popular, the French term Chinoiserie Style (or in the Chinese taste”) that came to be a prominent decorative art style that imitated Asian style in design. I do love the lacquer and blue and white porcelain look that is characteristic of chinoiserie and use it quite a bit in my home design. I think it’s a timeless look that not unlike a true cosmopolitan, fits right in with most everything, everywhere.

Chinoiserie - photo courtesy of Veranda magazine. I have similar ginger jars in the master bedroom & garden rooms

This year, I hosted a luncheon with double celebrations - combining Lunar New Year Celebrate Lunar New Year's Fire Monkey with Valentine’s Day. I hope you’ll agree the lucky colors worked the stunning tablescape, especially the vibrant, fiery red. The jade monkey that I grabbed off our bedroom book shelf did the ultimate honor. It was an artful comeback for this simian. See, shopping in China on that 2005 visit, I really only wanted a few quality things - mainly art. (and some pearls - green water ones for me and a some for my mother, along with a silkscreen of ladies playing golf - a sport which the Chinese claim they invented. This is a funny story in itself, but I digress.) I asked the art vendor for a statue/sculpture of my zodiac or year -- and he ran to get me a monkey. It was solid, well-crafted - and soon it was mine. It was only after I got back home that I came to learn, I am not a monkey! So while I never quite felt the connection to my little simian, this is his year to shine.  And he made the tablescape just sparkle.

Monkey Art Redemption: Year of the Monkey

My Lunar New Year/Valentines Day tablescape

My menu was equally inspired by Asian and Valentine's Day influences. Of course, several of the recipes were selected from my book, "The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook" -- two of them specifically are from Chef James Tchinnis, Swallow Restaurant.

The Year of the Monkey logo was created by a dear friend and talented artist: Bek Millhouse. Adorable isn't it?

If you want recipes or want to "read" the full menu, just email me!

Even the food color-coordinated with the dinnerware. Beautiful.

Here’s to a lucky, art-filled Year of the Monkey.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

New York Botanical Garden Announces 25th Antique Garden Furniture Fair

While it still remains very much the “winter of our discontent” -- to quote the poetic; climate change notwithstanding there have been a few winter wonderland magical storms.

Nevertheless, February - that holiday-rich month (think Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year 2016/Lunar New, President’s Day, Mardi Gras - and more, all eyes are looking ahead to Spring.

So getting news of this year’s NYBG’s 25th Anniversary Antique Garden Furniture Fair and its Kick Off with Exclusive Benefit Preview Party and Renowned Collectors’ Plant Sale on the Evening of April 28, 2016 was a lovely seasonal hug. If you love gardens - and being inspired to design garden room indoors and out - this is the event you must attend. Plus, you can rub shoulders with the likes of Martha Stewart, Bunny Williams, and Virginia Newman - Pennoyer Newman Distinctive Garden Pots

NYBG news says it’s “Featuring 30 of the Country’s Leading Exhibitors Showcasing the Finest Garden Antiques for Purchase, The Fair Continues All Weekend, April 29–May 1.

The New York Botanical Garden’s 2016 Antique Garden Furniture Fair: Antiques for the Garden and the Garden Room opens with a Benefit Preview Party and Collectors’ Plant Sale on Thursday, April 28, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Do not miss this rare opportunity to secure the best plants to take home -- and rub elbows with the horticulture and design world’s hoi polloi.

According to the Garden, “The country’s original, largest, and most important venue for authentic garden antiques, this year’s Fair features playful bee-inspired designs by celebrated interior and event designer Ken Fulk. As Designer Chairman for the 25th Anniversary Fair, Fulk will create a showpiece featuring items from exhibitors that will inspire and enlighten visitors about marrying antiques and modern design with their everyday aesthetic.

Amid 600 guests from the philanthropic, interior and landscape design, architecture, and art worlds, Preview Party attendees can indulge in a Silent Auction and NYBG’s renowned Collectors’ Plant Sale, which features hard-to-find beauties, beloved varieties, and horticultural treasures propagated from NYBG collections, all chosen for their rarity and charm.

Lilacs, Japanese maples, and herbaceous peonies, selected to celebrate the recent expansions of these historic NYBG collections, are among the unique offerings that will be available exclusively to Preview Party guests.

The Preview Party presents enthusiasts and collectors the opportunity to examine the plants, peruse thousands of garden antiques from more than 30 leading exhibitors from across the United States offering their finest pieces for sale, and to make early purchases, while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, in advance of the Fair’s opening to the general public. For Preview Party tickets and information, please call 718.817.8773 or e-mail

All proceeds benefit NYBG’s Fund for Horticulture, directly supporting the work of the curators and gardeners.

The Antique Garden Furniture Fair continues at NYBG from Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Named “Best in America” by experts and long held as the most distinguished stage for authentic garden antiques and rarities, the Fair is a must for leading collectors and designers, as well as purchasers seeking advice from professionals. Included are outdoor sculpture, fountains, sundials, bird baths, gates, garden benches, antique wicker, urns and planters, botanical prints, and architectural ornament, displaying centuries of classic design inspiration gathered from America, Europe, and Asia. These antiques are not only great for the garden, but also for the garden room.

Weekend visitors to the Antique Garden Furniture Fair can browse and purchase unique items of the highest quality and provenance and enjoy a program lineup that includes talks, tours, and eclectic live musical sets. There will be exhibitors offering an array of interesting ways to bring the outdoors inside by creating garden rooms in your home. Experts will be on hand to answer questions on current decorating styles. They will also discuss trends in the acquisition and appreciation of garden ornament, as well as assist buyers looking for the perfect piece to complement a garden, landscape, or interior. On-site shippers are available to facilitate Tri-State New York and New England deliveries during the Fair and other shipping needs in the weeks following.

At the entrance to the Antique Garden Furniture Fair, a Specialty Plant Sale features an extensive selection of unusual, colorful plants representing some of horticulture’s finest growers. A variety of shrubs and trees, perennials, annuals, and herbs will be available. Visitors may purchase refreshments here as well.

The year 2016 marks The New York Botanical Garden’s 125th Anniversary. The Antique Garden Furniture Fair, taking place in a tent amid flowering trees, plants, and shrubs, with the institution’s landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory as its glorious backdrop, is one of many public celebratory events commemorating this historic milestone.

The Antique Garden Furniture Fair is the ideal venue for learning about garden antiques and building personal collections. Admission to the Fair on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 29 through May 1, is included with the All-Garden Pass, which also provides access to the Botanical Garden grounds, seasonal gardens, attractions such as the Haupt Conservatory, and Tram Tour. Advance tickets for the Fair are available for purchase online at