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A Classical Botanical Garden

Show #39/1713
A Classical Botanical Garden


Classical Botanical Garden
THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS A CLASSICAL BOTANICAL GARDEN and that is a good description of what they are and who they are. Their mission is really 2 parts. They run this big public garden - perennial gardens, annual gardens, etc. - for people to learn about home gardening and about plants. They run a conservatory for the same purpose, for people to come and enjoy great plants and learn about them. Along these lines, they're also an educational institution. They start educating kids at age 3, kids that age are learning about plants, how to grow flowers, Zinnias for example, and then they also have a PhD program. Secondly, they maintain research programs with the emphasis on botanical research and those programs are all related nowadays to conservation programs, making the world a better place.

Click here for more info

The Rose Garden
THE GUYS BEGIN THE TOUR IN THE ROSE GARDEN, the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. It's magical and particularly so because the roses are in their second bloom this year. Joe thinks this is the prettiest rose garden he's seen. The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is a very important and historic rose garden. It was designed in 1915 by Beatrix Farrand and first built in 1916 but not completed until the late 1980's when its completion was given as a gift to the garden by a donor. Since the late 1980's this rose garden has had 2 distinct periods of bloom. In June the traditional rose month, the garden is resplendent with roses, but additionally every September it's in bloom again.

Click here for more info

Three Classes Of Roses
There are over 3,000 plants representing more than 600 varieties so it's difficult to determine which roses to really study. THEY FOCUS ON 3 DIFFERENT ROSES, each are classes of roses which have been selected for their ease of maintenance and for their longevity in this landscape. The first is a Kordes Rose, from the German nursery Kordes and is called Rosa 'Lupo.' It's a miniature rose and one in a line of roses that Kordes has selected for the longevity of bloom, they're rebloomers, and selected for their resistance to fungal diseases like black spot and powdery mildew. It's this sort of selection process that will keep roses interesting and relevant to contemporary gardeners who might not have the time or the inclination to spray their roses.

Click here for more info

Rose Maintenance To Encourage Re-flowering
But THE PROPER MAINTENANCE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO GET THE GARDEN TO RE-FLOWER. As an example they look at a Rosa 'Peggy Rockefeller' the signature rose of this rose garden. About 6 weeks ago they came through and gave these roses a pretty serious pruning. They cut them back significantly to a flowering stem which inspired the growth of 2 new flowering stems so that they actually have significantly more flowers now than if they had just deadheaded the whole time. So, cutting back the rose garden hard about 6 weeks before the party in September is an important technique they use to get the rose garden to flower again.

Click here for more info

Benenson Conifer Collection
JOE AND TODD NEXT VISIT THE BENENSON CONIFER COLLECTION. This is New York Botanical Garden's collection of dwarf, variegated and otherwise unusual Conifers that they have selected for use. And Conifers are important for the home garden as well. Todd feels Conifers are underutilized in gardens, they're important garden plants, they add a lot. Most are evergreen, thus add color, plus they're not just green, some are blues, some gold, some variegated. They add that sort of interest throughout the year. They also change the texture and change the feeling of the garden. They add a sense of permanence and resiliency to any garden. And there are different sizes. Conifers are classed into 4 different growth categories, from miniature to dwarf to intermediate to large. And understanding those growth categories is really important when using Conifers in the garden.

Click here for more info

Four Classes Of Conifers
The concept of a dwarf Conifer is often misunderstood. A lot of people think that because you have a dwarf Conifer it will always stay small. But that's not the case, it's one of the misconceptions in gardening. Technically dwarf is a term that refers to the rate of growth on the Conifer. THE AMERICAN CONIFER SOCIETY DIVIDES CONIFERS INTO 4 CLASSES. Miniature Conifers grow an inch or less each year. Dwarf Conifers grow between 1 and 6 inches each year, intermediate Conifers grow between 6 and 12 inches and large Conifers grow more than 12 inches per year.

Click here for more info

Shade Gardening
THERE IS A LOT ONE CAN DO WITH A SHADY CORNER OF YOUR YARD, there are a lot of plants that will actually thrive in shade and add color and brightness to that part of your garden. For example, here they use Coleus and many, many cultivars of Solenostemon scutellarioides. There are many Coleus cultivars on the market to brighten up shady corners. A native perennial, Actaea simplex 'Brunette', with burgundy foliage, is another plant that looks wonderful in a shady nook. Of course Blue Star, another native perennial, looks great in the shade, particularly in the fall, as the leaves turn a nice gold color. And all of these together make a great combination.

Click here for more info

New Ways And Methods To Water
One of the problems with gardening in the shade is the competition for water from tree roots. And, supplemental irrigation is often needed. THERE ARE A LOT OF WAYS AND NEW METHODS TO WATER, some more efficient than others and some more fun than others. To check out some of the latest watering tools.

Video Tip

Examples:

Watering Wand
Handy Wand
Revolver
Pistol
Watering Can
New Colorful Hoses



Click here for more info

The Perennial Garden
THE GUYS NEXT VISIT THE PERENNIAL GARDEN. This is the most heavily visited of all the gardens. It's right in front of the Conservatory, thus central to the visitors. The Perennial Garden was designed by Lynden B. Miller, who is known for her work designing gardens in urban spaces. Miller's philosophy is to maximize interest, maximize color throughout the year and in the Perennial Garden she's created a garden that's beautiful from the earliest spring to the latest fall and even into winter. She does that by combining perennials with early flowering bulbs, shrubs, small trees, annuals, tropicals, you name it. If it's going to extend the season of interest, she'll include it in the garden. One way to extend the season of interest in a perennial garden, or really any garden, is by adding shrubs and this garden has an incredible diversity of shrubs of all kinds, of all foliage colors and all flower types to add that interest.

Click here for more info

 


LINKS:

Hotel Indigo-Basking Ridge, New Jersey

New York Botanical Garden

Garden Smart Plant List



Complete transcript of the show.


The New York Botanical Garden has over 1 million plants in an irreplaceable oasis in the middle of New York City. It's the largest conservatory in America. It has beautifully manicured gardens and a fifty acre forest, not to mention an amazing history.
Gregory Long is President and CEO of the New York Botanical Garden. Mr. Long provides some background information about this amazing facility. This is a 250 acre park that came to this location in 1895. It's a National Historic Landmark. The founding board was made up of members of the business and financial community who had been to Europe and knew that a great city like New York needed a great botanical garden, a great place for people to learn about plants. At that time New Yorkers were building museums of art, symphony orchestras, etc. so their founders, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and other leaders in the community, realized if New York was to be a great and cosmopolitan city it needed a great public garden where people could learn about nature and about plants.
THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS A CLASSICAL BOTANICAL GARDEN and that is a good description of what they are and who they are. Their mission is really 2 parts. They run this big public garden - perennial gardens, annual gardens, etc. - for people to learn about home gardening and about plants. They run a conservatory for the same purpose, for people to come and enjoy great plants and learn about them. Along these lines, they're also an educational institution. They start educating kids at age 3, kids that age are learning about plants, how to grow flowers, Zinnias for example, and then they also have a PhD program. Secondly, they maintain research programs with the emphasis on botanical research and those programs are all related nowadays to conservation programs, making the world a better place. To this end they have a very large research facility. At this time they have botanical scientists climbing the trees of Brazil, for example, learning about the plants in the canopy, because the plants of the world are still not very well known. Many worry about wildlife and endangered wildlife but here they worry about the plants those animals eat and the habitats they inhabit. So, that's what a classical botanical garden is - a public place for home gardeners to come and learn about gardening in their own backyards and also big research programs operating internationally. There are not many botanical gardens doing this, in fact, there are very few organizations like this in the world, they're kind of an endangered species. Another great American garden is the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, which Garden Smart visited earlier in the year, but between that garden and the New York Botanical Garden those two are probably it in the U.S.
Since there are 250 acres here, what can the home gardener take away from a visit here? Today, as an example one could see how roses bloom beautifully in September. Most people grow roses for May or June. But September is also a great month for roses if you do it right. As another example, in the perennial garden this morning Gregory saw some Sternbergia flowers. They're little yellow flowers, a fall flowering bulb, something very nice for the September or October garden, and they will grow all over the temperate parts of America. One can see it here, then go out and buy one in the nursery center. It's about coming here to be inspired and to get new information about plants. There are hundreds of thousands of home gardeners coming here all year long, even in the winter, to learn about what they can do at home, in their window boxes, anywhere. There is everything to be learned here if one cares about plants and wants to learn even more. People come here to learn how to be better gardeners at home. Joe thanks Gregory and is off to meet Todd Forest.
Todd is the Vice President of Horticulture and Living Plants Collection. This means he works with a talented staff of about 70 people who take care of the gardens, people who make it beautiful, do the community horticulture outreach programs in the Bronx and elsewhere in New York City. They all work together and make the garden the resource that it is. Todd has been here just over 10 years. He came here from graduate school to work in the science division in the Institute of Economic Botany, then rather quickly became the Curator of Tree Collections at the garden.
His interest in gardening began as a small child growing up in a suburb of New York City, in New Jersey. At that point he would need to fight hard to experience nature in that part of the world. But as he did so he gained an appreciation for the beauty and complexity of nature, which then turned into an appreciation for gardening.
Todd finds this place, these 250 acres in the middle of the Bronx, in the middle of New York City, magical. Because of its' history, because of the wonderful plants that are here and because of how it serves a diverse population of New Yorkers and visitors to New York and how it connects us all to the larger environment makes the New York Botanical Garden really something special.
Top


THE GUYS BEGIN THE TOUR IN THE ROSE GARDEN, the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. It's magical and particularly so because the roses are in their second bloom this year. Joe thinks this is the prettiest rose garden he's seen. The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is a very important and historic rose garden. It was designed in 1915 by Beatrix Farrand and first built in 1916 but not completed until the late 1980's when its completion was given as a gift to the garden by a donor. Since the late 1980's this rose garden has had 2 distinct periods of bloom. In June the traditional rose month, the garden is resplendent with roses, but additionally every September it's in bloom again. It is then they they have a dinner dance, which is used to support the rose garden and actually all horticulture. For that September occasion they make this garden flower again through 2 primary means. Through plant selection and through maintenance techniques. There are thousands of roses that could go in this garden but they narrow it down. They believe that not only should a garden be beautiful but it's also meant to be an educational garden. So they try to achieve a balance of old heirloom roses all the way up to the most current, the newest introduction roses. They really try to get the broadest selection of roses, those that perform the best in this climate.
Top


Joe and Todd go down into the garden to get a closer look. There are over 3,000 plants representing more than 600 varieties so it's difficult to determine which roses to really study. THEY FOCUS ON 3 DIFFERENT ROSES, each are classes of roses which have been selected for their ease of maintenance and for their longevity in this landscape. The first is a Kordes Rose, from the German nursery Kordes and is called Rosa 'Lupo.' It's a miniature rose and one in a line of roses that Kordes has selected for the longevity of bloom, they're rebloomers, and selected for their resistance to fungal diseases like black spot and powdery mildew. It's this sort of selection process that will keep roses interesting and relevant to contemporary gardeners who might not have the time or the inclination to spray their roses. Roses are officially America's flower so the more variety to choose from, that fit into the way we garden, the better for everyone.
Another exciting class of roses that's been selected for their toughness, for their hardiness to the landscape, is Rosa 'Quietness' which was selected by Griffith Bach at Iowa State University. He had a fascinating program, he wanted to grow roses that could survive the winters in Iowa and bloom reliably. But because he had so little money in his budget, he couldn't afford to spray roses, his trial program also selected for disease resistance over the long haul. And Quietness is one of the wonderful Griffith Bach introductions. It's a tough rose, a hardy rose, a disease resistant rose and of course a beautiful rose, all in one package. Being beautiful is certainly important.
Climbing roses are really important features in any garden and the rose climbing on one of their gazebos has a very interesting story. It's Rosa 'Awakening' which is a sport of 'New Dawn' a very popular pink climbing rose. This gazebo previously had New Dawn climbing on it but it wouldn't flower for them again in September so they replaced it 2 years ago with Awakening and Awakening has behaved wonderfully and is flowering again in September. It's a great climbing rose.
Top


One way they get the Rose Garden to flower again in September is through plant selection. They choose, wherever possible, re-blooming roses, roses that will bloom again if given the proper maintenance. But THE PROPER MAINTENANCE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO GET THE GARDEN TO RE-FLOWER. As an example they look at a Rosa 'Peggy Rockefeller' the signature rose of this rose garden. About 6 weeks ago they came through and gave these roses a pretty serious pruning. They cut them back significantly to a flowering stem which inspired the growth of 2 new flowering stems so that they actually have significantly more flowers now than if they had just deadheaded the whole time. So, cutting back the rose garden hard about 6 weeks before the party in September is an important technique they use to get the rose garden to flower again.
Top


JOE AND TODD NEXT VISIT THE BENENSON CONIFER COLLECTION. This is New York Botanical Garden's collection of dwarf, variegated and otherwise unusual Conifers that they have selected for use. And Conifers are important for the home garden as well. Todd feels Conifers are underutilized in gardens, they're important garden plants, they add a lot. Most are evergreen, thus add color, plus they're not just green, some are blues, some gold, some variegated. They add that sort of interest throughout the year. They also change the texture and change the feeling of the garden. They add a sense of permanence and resiliency to any garden. And there are different sizes. Conifers are classed into 4 different growth categories, from miniature to dwarf to intermediate to large. And understanding those growth categories is really important when using Conifers in the garden.
Top


The concept of a dwarf Conifer is often misunderstood. A lot of people think that because you have a dwarf Conifer it will always stay small. But that's not the case, it's one of the misconceptions in gardening. Technically dwarf is a term that refers to the rate of growth on the Conifer. THE AMERICAN CONIFER SOCIETY DIVIDES CONIFERS INTO 4 CLASSES. Miniature Conifers grow an inch or less each year. Dwarf Conifers grow between 1 and 6 inches each year, intermediate Conifers grow between 6 and 12 inches and large Conifers grow more than 12 inches per year.
Pinus strobes 'Sea Urchin' is one of Todd's favorite plants in the Benenson Ornamental Conifers but there are many other wonderful plants throughout the collection. And it is a collection meant to teach people about the diversity of ornamental Conifers for gardens. Another favorite is the Sciadopitys verticillata 'Wintergreen' Japanese Umbrella Pine. It has leathery needles, has a formal habit of growth that makes it a star in the garden. Another is the Chamaecyparis pisifera Variegated Sawara Cypress, it is a plant that's got a kind of almost creamy white and green variegation and stands out in any garden where planted. Abies koreana 'Silberlocke' Korean Fir is incredible. It's called that because the needles curl up around the branches, creating a white sense. It almost looks like it has snow on it. This plant can be used as a specimen in your front lawn because it looks great throughout the year and can also be used in combination with other plants in a mixed border.
Since Conifers come in about every size and shape they can fit into any garden, no matter how big or small. And they can be used in different types of gardens. Here in their perennial garden they have used Conifers as screens or hedging plants. They are wonderful for that, but they also can be used as garden stars or as focal points or accents in gardens. They've used a Dwarf Blue Colorado Spruce in partnership with Amsonia hubrichtii Arkansas Blue Star and Gomphrena globosa. It's a really magical plant for those sorts of combinations. They have also used Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera Aurea' Golden Threadleaf Sawara Cypress in the perennial garden. It's great in combination with other plants. Todd sees the Benenson Ornamental conifer collection as a way for people to learn about Conifers and once they do they will then incorporate them into their own garden, wherever that garden is. But the idea is if you visit the Benenson Conifer Collection you will fall in love with the plants, and then figure out how to use those plants in your own garden.
Gregory had mentioned earlier how many opportunities there are here at this garden for the home gardener to get great ideas. The guys next visit the Home Demonstration Garden which really drives home that point. Todd feels that, at the New York Botanical Garden, they aim not only to inspire but also to educate. They've put together a series of things that the home gardener can learn from and take ideas back to their own garden. At the top of that is the Home Gardening Center which is dedicated to teaching home gardeners the best plants and the best practices for their own gardens. They have many different areas - several are - a cutting Garden, a Vegetable Garden, a Compost Demonstration Area, a Shade Garden and a Plants Trials Garden. In the last garden they show off, or actually experiment with, new varieties of various plants. So if one wanted to see the latest thing this would be a good place to visit to get good ideas for combinations.
Top


Gardeners are always venting about something in their home landscapes, whether it's too many tree roots or poor drainage. But almost universally gardeners are complaining about too much shade. The big concern is that they can't get enough color with shade. But that's not necessarily the case. THERE IS A LOT ONE CAN DO WITH A SHADY CORNER OF YOUR YARD, there are a lot of plants that will actually thrive in shade and add color and brightness to that part of your garden. For example, here they use Coleus and many, many cultivars of Solenostemon scutellarioides. There are many Coleus cultivars on the market to brighten up shady corners. A native perennial, Actaea simplex 'Brunette', with burgundy foliage, is another plant that looks wonderful in a shady nook. Of course Blue Star, another native perennial, looks great in the shade, particularly in the fall, as the leaves turn a nice gold color. And all of these together make a great combination.
But, not all shade is created equal. Anybody can garden in light shade but it's that deep dark shade that creates even more of a challenge. Fortunately there are a number of plants that will do well in deep shade. In their White Country Garden they use Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana Hardy Begonias which flower very well in the shade. Pearis Japanese Andromeda is a great shrub to use in the shade. Heuchera 'Silver Scrolls' works great in this environment and there are a many different, new Huchera out there in, seemingly, every color. And, of course, everybody's favorite shade plant is the Hosta which has lots of varieties.
Top


One of the problems with gardening in the shade is the competition for water from tree roots. And, supplemental irrigation is often needed. THERE ARE A LOT OF WAYS AND NEW METHODS TO WATER, some more efficient than others and some more fun than others. To check out some of the latest watering tools.

Video Tip

Examples:

Watering Wand
Handy Wand
Revolver
Pistol
Watering Can
New Colorful Hoses

Top


THE GUYS NEXT VISIT THE PERENNIAL GARDEN. This is the most heavily visited of all the gardens. It's right in front of the Conservatory, thus central to the visitors. The Perennial Garden was designed by Lynden B. Miller, who is known for her work designing gardens in urban spaces. Miller's philosophy is to maximize interest, maximize color throughout the year and in the Perennial Garden she's created a garden that's beautiful from the earliest spring to the latest fall and even into winter. She does that by combining perennials with early flowering bulbs, shrubs, small trees, annuals, tropicals, you name it. If it's going to extend the season of interest, she'll include it in the garden. One way to extend the season of interest in a perennial garden, or really any garden, is by adding shrubs and this garden has an incredible diversity of shrubs of all kinds, of all foliage colors and all flower types to add that interest. For example, they have Viburnum Satigerum which has full fruit in the fall, a really magical, special sight. As well included is Hydrangea macrophylla 'Lady in Red' that adds foliage color to the garden. Lady in Red is a relatively new introduction and is beautiful in the summer when in bloom but the red foliage in the fall is spectacular and every bit as beautiful and always works well in a perennial garden. People are familiar with fall tree color but many would be surprised at how much color they can get in their perennial gardens in the fall. That's because many perennials and herbaceous plants are at their best in the fall. Annuals, such as Salvia and the Sages, start flowering in late summer but look good into the fall season. Perennials such as Sedum Autumn Joy have succulent great flowers in the fall and of course wildflowers, or native wildflowers, like Goldenrod Solidago reach their peak in the fall. And grasses, people are planting more and more ornamental grasses and many of them look great in the fall, including Calamagrostis brachytricha Feather-reed grass. Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' Golden Variegated Hakone grass whether in a container or spilling out onto a walkway is spectacular. And they work well either in shade or full sun. It's a great plant, very versatile.
Todd and Joe go inside the Conservatory and there is no shortage of year round color in this building. The Conservatory is home to, not only, their permanent tropic collections but to the 5 seasonal exhibits they put on each year. They have these exhibitions to draw audiences back to the garden and to keep people engaged with the beauty of the gardens throughout the year. And "engagement" is how Todd personally views gardening. Gardening is being engaged with the natural world, it's about learning about plants, it's about learning about the animals that depend on those plants and it's about being creative. Todd thinks that the greatest gift he ever received was the gift of becoming a gardener. As a gardener he can not only sustain the environment, but additionally his acts will sustain wildlife, which means ultimately he sustains himself. Gardening really is a lot of fun and it is the best thing he could ever have done.
Well said Todd. We've enjoyed spending time with you and our visit to the New York Botanical Garden. It truly is a national treasure.
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LINKS:

Hotel Indigo-Basking Ridge, New Jersey

New York Botanical Garden

Garden Smart Plant List

 
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