Queens Botanical Garden Visitor Center on AIA Top Ten "Green" List

The Queens Botanical Garden is on my "to visit" list. Last week, their Visitor & Administration Center was named one of the top ten "green" projects of 2008 by the Committee on the Environment (COTE) of the American Institute of Architects (AIA):
In looking to the future, the Garden has propelled itself into the front ranks of its field as the first botanical garden in the country devoted to sustainable environmental stewardship. The goal has been to integrate a beautiful contemporary building into the experience of its varied gardens and landscapes, heightening the visitor experience of the natural environment and conveying the key elements of successful sustainability. A water channel surrounds the building and weaves through the garden, fed by rainwater that cascades off of the sheltering roof canopy.
- Press Release, April 22, 2008, AIA/COTE
The 2008 COTE Top Ten Green Projects program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.
QBG's V&A Center, a LEED Platinum building, officially opened in September 2007 as part of a wide ranging plan to improve sustainability across the Garden:
The Garden’s Master Plan of 2001 launched the Sustainable Landscapes and Buildings Project. As the name implies, the project is much more than buildings. It includes new plants, many of which are native species; bioswales to collect storm water and reduce wear-and-tear on New York City’s combined sewer system; water recycling systems; the new Horticulture/Maintenance Building; the revolutionary Visitor & Administration Center; and the transformation of our existing parking lot into a 125-space parking garden beginning on or around June 2008.
- Sustainable Landscapes & Buildings Project, Queens Botanical Garden
Reusing graywater for flushing toilets reduces the project's potable water consumption by 55%. The building also features waterless urinals and composting toilets. Thanks to extensive bioswales and a green roof on the auditorium, the project manages all stormwater on site. A water channel, fed by rainwater that cascades off the roof canopy, weaves around the building and through the gardens.

The reception building's long, narrow shape is oriented along an east-west axis, allowing daylight to penetrate all interior spaces. An efficient lighting system, daylight dimming, and occupancy sensors reduce energy consumption. Glass doors and windows slide open in temperate weather, providing natural ventilation. The building uses photovoltaic panels and a ground-source heat-pump system to harvest energy on site.

More than 33% of the materials in the building, by cost, were harvested or manufactured within 500 miles of the project site. The project team also preferred materials with high durability, low maintenance requirements, recycled content, low chemical emissions, and Forest Stewardship Council certification.
-Queens Botanical Garden Visitor Center, AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects


Sustainable Landscapes & Buildings Project, Queens Botanical Garden
Queens Botanical Garden Visitor Center, AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects


Walk Coney Island's endangered Surfside Gardens with Kinetic Carnival

The Surfside Gardens, one of the endangered community gardens in Coney Island, is the focus of the latest segment of A Walk Around the Blog.

Related Posts

Endangered Coney Island Community Gardens, February 4, 2008


The episode, Kinetic Carnival: Threatened Community Gardens, is available on A Walk Around the Blog and blip.tv
Gardens To Close as Coney Prepares for Building Boom, Brooklyn Eagle, March 5, 2008

Sunday, May 4: Beverley Square West Bash

West side of Stratford Road, looking south from Slocum Place, Beverley Square West, Flatbush, Brooklyn
Stratford Road, East side, looking south from Slocum Place

This is a reminder to all Beverley Square West residents that the occasional, not quite biennial, Beverley Square West Bash will be held this Sunday, May 4th, from 4:30 – 7:30 PM, at Temple Beth Emeth at the corner of Marlborough Road and Church Avenue. There will be two DJs, a magician and catered banquet food. The menu selection will include:
  • chicken marsala
  • sliced BBQ pork loin
  • baked ziti
  • baked eggplant
  • roast beef with gravy
  • linguine with clam sauce
  • a variety of cooked vegetables
  • salad
  • dessert (cake and fresh fruit salad)
  • cold and hot drinks
Note that there will be a separate table set up with foods that children will especially enjoy. Also, free feel to bring your own wine or beer to this event.

If you haven't already, RSVP ASAP. The amount of food we order will be based upon the number of people who commit to the event, so be sure to note how many adults and children will be attending.

The admission price for the bash is $10 per family, but only if you RSVP. Price is $10 at the door with an RSVP, otherwise $20.

RSVP to BSWParty [at] gmail (dot) com

Sources of Plants for Brooklyn Gardeners

Left to right: Gowanus Nursery, Liberty Sunset Garden Center, Chelsea Garden Center, and Brooklyn Terminal Market
Gowanus NurseryLiberty Sunset Garden CenterChelsea Garden Center, Red HookFlats and racks of annuals at Whitey Produce, Brooklyn Terminal Market

Just a timely pointer to my post from last year, Sources of Plants for Brooklyn Gardeners, May 24, 2007. Since Blogspot doesn't give me any means of creating a standing topic page, I continue to keep that post up to date.

Related Posts

Liberty Sunset Garden Center, July 20, 2007
Brooklyn Terminal Market is NOT Closed, June 22, 2007
Chelsea Garden Center, June 16, 2007
Sources of Plants for Brooklyn Gardeners, May 24, 2007
Opening Day at Gowanus, March 31, 2007
A Visit to the Brooklyn Terminal Market, May, 2006

Saturday, May 3: Bay Ridge Narrows Botanical Gardens Spring Festival

Crabapple, taken last fall at the Narrows Botanical Gardens

This Saturday, May 3 (rain date Sunday, May 4), the Narrows Botanical Garden in Bay Ridge is holding their annual Spring Festival:
Join us for our 13th Annual Spring Festival on Saturday, May 3rd between 10am and 4pm (rain date Sunday, May 4th). Browse among our many Craft Booths where you are sure to find something that catches your eye. Stroll along the Shore Road Promenade and meet some of our talented artists whose Art Exhibits will be for sale along the fence line of the gardens.
If gardening is your love, you may just find that special plant, shrub or flower that would suit your taste just in time for spring planting at our Plant Sale! Or, maybe you just have a question that needs answering on plants or gardening, our NBG experts would be glad to help.

It's a Family Event...so bring the kids! The NBG knows that kids are our future! What better way to introduce them to their environment then exposing them to the beauty of the gardens. Showing them how just a few people volunteering together made that difference.

Fun Stuff for Kids! Native Plant Tours: See who can spot a frog, turtle or fish in our pond! Paint a Flower Pot: plant it up in time for Mothers Day. Face Painting. Story telling.
- via email
Narrows Botanical Gardens is in Bay Ridge, along Shore Road between Bay Ridge Avenue and 72nd Street. When I visited it for the first time last fall, due to sidewalk construction along Shore Road, only the northernmost entrance, closest to Bay Ridge Avenue, was open. Unfortunately, the Native Plant Garden - and Turtle Sanctuary! - was also closed when I visited.
Nestled between beautiful Shore Road and the sparkling waters of The Narrows, in the welcoming community of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, four and a half acres of rambling parkland have been transformed by the inspiration and nurturing of a community of volunteers into the Narrows Botanical Gardens.

The Turtle Sanctuary in the Native Plant Garden. Since 1995, this verdant collection of hills, pathways, and gorgeous harbor views has blossomed into a lush conservatory of nature’s beauty and brilliance, providing an unequaled opportunity to stroll amid fragrant blossoms bustling with butterflies, a bubbling brook where turtles sun on the rocks, majestic Redwood trees that seem to touch the sky, and delicate orchids growing wild in a Native Plant Garden. Linger at our city’s only roadside lily pond, or promenade through the towering Linden Tree AllĂ©e. Snap portraits at the picturesque Rock Wall bench, or find meditative calm in the Zen Garden.

... And, when you have visited the Narrows Botanical Gardens, strolled its pathways and smelled its roses, you will be amazed to learn it is wholly created by, built by, and nurtured and maintained by volunteers, making the Narrows Botanical Gardens one of the largest community gardens in our great City of New York.

Related Posts

Narrows Botanical Gardens, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, October 22, 2007


Narrows Botanical Gardens


May 3-10: NYC Wildflower Week

Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman's Breeches, with Onoclea sensibilis, Sensitive Fern, poking through, in the Native Flora Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman's Breeches

This Saturday, May 3, the Torrey Botanical Society kicks off NYC Wildflower Week:
NYC Wildflower Week celebrates all things green and wild in the Big Apple—the hundreds of native flowers, trees, shrubs and grasses that call NYC home. It's a week of inspired environmental learning, with dozens of free activities, walks and talks for all New Yorkers to enjoy.
The week of events actually kicks off this Friday evening, with the first of a series of lectures, at NYU:
Friday May 2nd, 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
New York University
“Native Wildflowers of New York City”
Discover the City’s 25,000 green acres—filled with majestic trees, wildflowers, grasses and ferns— the wild, unplanted thread in the Big Apple’s ecological fabric. Learn what makes a plant native and why local flora is important. Explore how life in the five boroughs means it’s not easy being green due to characteristics of urban forests and threats to indigenous flora. We’ll also discuss what you can do, including how to go native in the garden.

Speaker Marielle Anzelone is a botanist, landscape designer and founder of NYC Wildflower Week. This introduction to the flora of the five boroughs will be hosted by the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education at NYU.

Space is limited.
RSVP by email to kathleen [dot] oliver (at) nyu [dot] edu or call 212-992-9362.

Saturday May 3rd, 8am to 3pm
Greenmarket Events

Free NYC Wildflower Week Bags!
Pick up a NYC Wildflower Week bag for your shopping and get information on the week’s events and why gardening with native plants is the way to go.

Gardening Advice and Demonstrations
Look for our tent at the south side of the Greenmarket. Marielle Anzelone will provide native plant gardening advice and demonstrations throughout the day. Find out what makes a plant native, how to attract butterflies and birds, and the best ways to start a native plant garden.

Greenmarket Native Plant Initiative
As a result of this unique program, Greenmarket vendor Oak Grove Farms will offer certified NYC native plants for sale for the first time starting Saturday May 3, 2008!

Sunday May 4th, 8am to 3pm
Native Plant Display Garden

Wildflower Giveaway
Come by the Native Plant Display Garden (15th St. & Union Square West) from 12 to 3 pm to get a free native plant seedling while supplies last.

Related Posts



NYC Wildflower Week
Torrey Botanical Society
Marielle Anzelone


Ditmas Park West Tree Planting

Updated 2008.04.29: Added link to Anne Pope's Sustainable Flatbush post and Flickr photo set.

Placing the tree

This morning I helped, for the first time, to plant a street tree. It had rained overnight and was still raining when we started. Just one word to sum it all up:


Ditmas Park West is one of the neighborhoods of Victorian Flatbush. It's bounded by Cortelyou Road and Newkirk Avenue to the north and south, and Coney Island Avenue and the B/Q subway cut to the west and east. Over 25 years, Ditmas Park West has planted over 300 trees, averaging more than 10 trees each year.

About 25 people showed up this morning and fanned out to different locations. 6 or 7 trees got planted today. The crew of 10 or so I went with had two jobs: clear trash from a vacant lot and dig out a tree pit for a new tree to be planted.

The realities of urban street planting are not so idyllic as our vision of leafy green streets. First, we had to break through a few inches of concrete dumped over asphalt. Bob was handy with the ax.

Breaking up concrete and asphalt

Beneath all that, we had some not so bad, if compacted, clay.

Breaking up the clay

Once the tree was delivered we measured the depth of our dig and compared it to the height of the root ball.

Measuring depth

And kept digging until we got to the right level.

Still not deep enough

Then we rolled the tree into place ...

Rolling the tree in Rolling the tree in Placing the tree

... filled in around the base, leveled, and stabilized the tree ...

Tamping in

... and began filling in and tamping down.

More dirt!

Once the tree was stable, we cut off the twine and removed burlap from the top of the ball. Roots got pulled out and spread out as we went along.

Cutting twine and burlap
Removing some burlap

Meanwhile, in the adjacent vacant lot, our comrades had done an incredible job clearing trash and rubbish.


I look forward to future greening opportunities. I need some good work boots for next time.

Related Posts

Flickr photo set
Plant Trees in Ditmas Park West


Ditmas Park West Tree Planting, Sustainable Flatbush
Many more photos from Anne Pope of Sustainable Flatbush

[where: 400 Stratford Road, Brooklyn, NY 11218]


Snake in the Garden, Prospect Park

These are the cherries just inside the entrance to Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. There is a snake in this garden.

Kanzan Cherries, Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza

This is a snake. It's not the snake.

Detail, Calvert Vaux Snake Urn

Calvert Vaux designed the snake urns which flank the Grand Army Plaza entrances.

Calvert Vaux Snake Urn, Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza
Kanzan Cherries, Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza

The cherries were peaking today. All these petals will be on the ground in a few days.

Detail, Kanzan Cherries, Prospect Park

The snake is visible at the far right of the photo at the top. Here's a close-up. This guy was tearing branches off the cherry trees.

Cherry Vandal
Cherry Vandal
Cherry Vandal

Why would someone do this? Oh, so he could give them to his lady friend.

Cherry Vandal

What a classy couple.

Related posts

Flickr photo set


Calvert Vaux, Wikipedia
You can have your very own Calvert Vaux Snake Urn for a modest $11,000.


More Hanami at BBG

Cherry Esplanade, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Cherry Esplanade

On my way to Botany class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden last night, I checked out the Cherry Esplanade. This is the big show, folks. Most of the cherries at BBG are now in full bloom.

The forecast calls for rain most of the weekend. Not the best for viewing, but it will keep the crowds down.

Cherry Esplanade

Cherry Esplanade

The Cherry Esplanade viewed from The Overlook.
Cherry Esplanade from the Overlook

"Roses of Yesterday"

Related Posts

Hanami at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, April 4, 2008
Introducing the BBG Hanami Flickr Group, April 3, 2008


Flowering Cherries at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden


Saturday, April 26: Help cleanup a community garden in Flatbush/PLG

Via email from Anne Pope of Sustainable Flatbush:
This Saturday all are welcome to help clean up a community garden here
in the neighborhood.

Woodruff Seniors Garden Cleanup
Saturday April 26, 12-2pm
Ocean Avenue between Crooke and Woodruff Avenues
(two blocks from the Southeast entrance to Prospect Park)
[Google Map]

(I don't know too many other details at this point -- history of the
garden, future plans, etc., but will post as they become available)
Ditto what Anne says. I'm not familiar with this garden, myself.


Sustainable Flatbush

Sunday, April 27: A day for trees in Flatbush

A reminder that you have two opportunities to get your green on in Victorian Flatbush this Arbor Day weekend on Sunday, April 27.

Ditmas Park West Arbor Day 2008Flyer for Sustainable Flatbush Street Tree Walking Tour

At 9:30am, meet at 458 Rugby Road to plant trees in Ditmas Park West and spruce up tree pits. Over 14 years, Ditmas Park West residents have planted 300 trees. Their long-running tree-planting program can serve as a model for other neighborhoods to green their streets.

Starting at 1pm, meet at 1414 Cortelyou Road to enjoy and learn about some of the trees in Victorian Flatbush. The Sustainable Flatbush Street Tree Walking Tour will loop through the neighborhoods of Beverley Square West and Prospect Park South. A Google Map of the tour route is available.

Related Posts

Plant Trees in Ditmas Park West
Sustainable Flatbush Street Tree Walking Tour


Sustainable Flatbush
Trees New York


Urban Trees and Social Marketing

Cherry Tree, 244 Argyle Road, Beverley Square West
Cherry Tree, 244 Argyle Road, Beverley Square West

Today's New York Times profiles Parks Urban Forester Arthur Simpson. Transplanted from the Western United States:
Mr. Simpson has been really surprised by only one aspect of New York City life, and that’s the unwelcome reception he sometimes get at the site of an imminent tree-planting. Sometimes the residents or homeowners are worried about their allergies (though the trees are intended to help alleviate asthma and allergy rates citywide); sometimes they’re worried that a branch will fall on their car (a call to 311 will procure a free pruning). Sometimes they’re worried about the extensive construction required to plant a tree in a patch of concrete.
- Big City: For Urban Tree Planters, Concrete Is the Easy Part, New York Times, April 21, 2008
For my non-NYC readers, 311 is the city-wide telephone portal for all city services and information. Street trees fall under the jurisdiction of the City's Department of Parks and Recreation.

It was only a year ago today, April 21, that the City announced MillionTreesNYC, a plan to plant one million new trees in NYC over the next ten years. Ancillary laws and regulations have yet to catch up. This has amplified inconsistencies between who has authority, and who has responsibility and liability, for this narrow strip of land that borders streets and private property.

As a tree advocate myself, I'm still surprised by the virulence of opposition to trees - indeed, to any kind of greening - I sometimes encounter. My local community board voted to oppose City Planning's Yards Text Amendment, which will prevent paving over front yards and define minimum open space requirements. I recently provided information to my neighborhood association about how to request a free street tree. One of my neighbors approached me after the meeting and asked me not to request a street tree in front of their house; they want to put in a driveway.

In a dense, urban environment, where every square foot of turf matters, conflicts inevitably arise over how to make the best use of the land. I believe that we can't afford to wall ourselves off, to pave over every square inch, to value, absolutely, individual property "rights" without regard for the common good. It is up to advocates to make the case for the collective benefits that street trees provide, and ensure that the costs and responsibilities are distributed equitably.

Related content

City Planning Commission Unanimously Approves Green Initiatives, April 2, 2008
Basic Research: The State of the Forest in New York City, November 12, 2007
Preserving Livable Streets: DCP's Yards Text Amendment, November 7, 2007
1M Trees in 10 Years, April 22, 2007


New York Times, April 21, 2008:
Big City: For Urban Tree Planters, Concrete Is the Easy Part
City Room: Who Is Against Planting Trees?

Residents say block is overplanted, Daily News, April 22, 2008


Happy Earth Day!

Earthrise, Apollo 8, December 22, 1968.

Earthrise, Apollo

OEM Tip of the Week: Plant a tree, reduce your flood risk

In recognition of Earth Day tomorrow, April 22, NYC's Office of Emergency Management's (OEM) Tip of the Week advises residents to plant trees:
Celebrate Earth Day this week by planting a tree. In addition to helping slow climate change and improve air quality, trees absorb stormwater, which helps to reduce flooding. Get more information about tree planting through the City's MillionTreesNYC project, which offers NYC residents free street trees and promotes urban forest expansion.

Related Posts

April is MillionTreesNYC Month, April 3, 2008
Factoids: NYC's Street Trees and Stormwater Reduction, November 15, 2007


Learn more about flooding in NYC, NYC OEM
Learn more about the benefits of planting trees, NYC Parks & Recreation


More Heirloom Bulbs in the Front Garden

The front garden Saturday morning
Front Garden

Lots of bulb action in the front garden lately. Just a couple days of warm weather and things really took off. This is what it looked a week ago:

The Front Garden

These photos of the Hyacinths are also from a week ago. Heirloom Hyacinth "Queen of the Blues" is the light blue one. It's hard to render the color accurately on-screen; it's a pale, powder blue which looks different depending on whether it's sunny or overcast, or in the shade or sun. It's been blooming for two weeks now. Today, it's just starting to flop over and fade.

Heirloom Hyacinths

Heirloom Hyacinth 'Queen of the Blues'

Heirloom Hyacinth 'Queen of the Blues'

The dark purple one is heirloom Hyacinth "King of the Blues."

Heirloom Hyacinth 'King of the Blues'

What the camera can't capture at all is the scent. These heirloom Hyacinths are intensely fragrant, especially "Queen"; those eight inflorescences perfume the entire front yard and the sidewalk in front of our house.

Two more bulbs opened up over the past week. An unidentified Daffodil obtained from the Daffodil Project, and the unbelievably red Tulipa linifolia, which I just planted this season.

Daffodils and Tulipa linifolia


Tulipa linifolia

Tulipa linifolia

Tulipa clusiana was just starting to open up today, but I didn't get any shots of that yet. Something to look forward to for later in the week.

Related Posts

Sprign has Sprung, March 2, 2008
The Front Garden Evolving, January 24, 2007


The Values and Ethics of Plant Propagation

A neighbor of mine got his question published in Randy Cohen's weekly column, The Ethicist, in Sunday's New York Times:
"I’m told it is illegal to propagate and sell this tree because the National Geographic Society (NGS) has exclusive rights to it in the United States, but would I be unethical to do so?"
- Pine Away, The Ethicist, NY Times, April 20, 2008
The tree in question, Wollemia nobilis, the Wollemi™ Pine (and note the trademark), is critically endangered in the wild:
The pine was known solely from fossil records and presumed extinct until it was discovered in 1994 in the Wollemi National Park, just outside Sydney, Australia. Dubbed the botanical find of the century, the Wollemi pine is now the focus of extensive research to conserve this ancient species.

Fewer than 100 mature trees are known exist, growing in small groves on moist ledges in a deep rainforest gorge surrounded by rugged mountains and undisturbed forest.
- Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The trademarked name situation arises - ironically, to my mind - from efforts to protect and conserve the species:
Through National Geographic's licensing partnership with Floragem, a portion of the sales will go directly to Wollemi Pine International Pty. Ltd., whose mission is to conserve the Wollemi Pine for future generations and to raise awareness of conservation internationally. Through public participation, Wollemi Pine International will repopulate the Wollemi Pine and return royalties to fund conservation of these trees and other threatened and endangered species.
- Press Release, National Geographic Society, September 19, 2006
The Ethicist, Randy Cohen, responded:
Liz Nickless, a spokeswoman for the society, says that “there are no exclusive agreements for the distribution of the Wollemi pine.” There is a U.S. trademark, she adds, “so anyone wanting to use the name will need permission.” That is, you may become a Johnny Wollemi Seed, disseminating this fine fir under its scientific name, Wollemia nobilis, or for that matter as Sexy Slender Tree or Pinetacular, but not (without consent) as a Wollemi Pine.
While trademarks govern the use of the name, plant patents proscribe unlicensed propagation:
A plant patent is granted by the Government to an inventor (or the inventor's heirs or assigns) who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. The grant, which lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the application, protects the inventor's right to exclude others from asexually reproducing, selling, or using the plant so reproduced.
[emphasis added]- What is a plant patent?, Overview of Plant Patents, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
This example comes from the U.S. Patent Office; similar laws and regulations govern in other countries.

More and more of the varieties I see available for sale are labelled "PPAF" (Plant Patent Applied For) or "PP #XXXXXX", the plant patent number. So what happens when I need to divide my patented perennial?
Asexual reproduction is the propagation of a plant to multiply the plant without the use of genetic seeds to assure an exact genetic copy of the plant being reproduced. ... asexual reproduction would include but may not be limited to:
  • Rooting Cuttings
  • Grafting and Budding
  • Apomictic Seeds
  • Bulbs
  • Division
  • Slips
  • Layering
  • Rhizomes
  • Runners
  • Corms
  • Tissue Culture
  • Nucellar Embryos
- Asexual reproduction, Overview of Plant Patents
When I divide my patented perennial - or god forbid, share it with a neighbor - I'm breaking the law. I could choose to disregard it, or I could choose not to support this system and boycott patented plants altogether.

That F1 hybrid vegetable is a manufactured product and won't come true from seed; its selection and use maintains a dependency on its manufacture and distribution. An open-pollinated heirloom variety can be propagated indefinitely, and shared with others;, a model for sustainable gardening.

As gardeners, the choices we make affect our world, however indirectly. With some reflection, we can reduce the risk of unintended consequences in conflict with out intents. We can choose gardening practices to express our values through action.


Press Release, National Geographic Society, September 19, 2006
The Wollemi Pine Conservation Club
Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Overview of Plant Patents, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Name that Plant - The Misuse of Trademarks in Horticulture, Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery, 2007.12.25 [Added 2008.05.31]


Native Flora Garden, BBG, April 2008

Sanguinaria canadensis, Bloodroot, Native Flora Garden, BBG
Sanguinaria canadensis, Bloodroot, Native Flora Garden, BBG

Set aside the Cherries for a moment. Now is the time to visit the Native Flora Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

There's always something to see in this garden at any time of year - it's a great spot for birdwatching, for example - but right now, during this brief week or two, is when most of the spring ephemerals are in their peak bloom. Check it out soon, or you'll have to wait another year for this show to repeat itself.
With more than two acres divided into eight geographical zones, this wildflower garden exhibits native plants growing in the New York Metropolitan Area, a region known for its natural diversity.

Dating back to 1911, the Native Flora Garden isn't just another wildflower display. In 1931, this wild retreat was ecologically designed to support nine distinct plant communities found within a 100-mile radius of New York City: serpentine rock, dry meadow, kettle pond, bog, pine barrens, wet meadow and stream, deciduous woodland, and limestone ledge, as well as a border mound with several representatives of the region's coniferous forests.

All plants in this garden are appropriate for their particular ecological niches, determined by environmental factors such as topography, geology, soil acidity or alkalinity, moisture, drainage, and light.
I took this set of photos last night on my way to Botany class. This is not even everything that's blooming right now, just the ones I had time to shoot before I had to head off to class.

Caltha palustris, Marsh Marigold
Caltha palustris, Marsh Marigold, Native Flora Garden, BBG

Dicentra eximia, Bleeding-Heart
Dicentra eximia, Bleeding-Heart, Native Flora Garden, BBG

Erythronium americanum, Trout-Lily
Erythronium americanum, Trout-Lily, Native Flora Garden, BBG
Erythronium americanum, Trout-Lily, Native Flora Garden, BBG

Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman's Breeches
Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman's Breeches, Native Flora Garden, BBG

Uvularia sessilifolia, Wild Oats
Uvularia sessilifolia, Wild Oats, Native Flora Garden, BBG

I am also quite fond of ferns.

Osmunda cinnamonea, Cinnamon Fern, with some Skunk Cabbage behind
Osmunda cinnamonea, Cinnamon Fern, Native Flora Garden, BBG

Osmunda regalis, Royal Fern
Osmunda regalis, Royal Fern, Native Flora Garden, BBG

Related Content

Growing a Native Plant Garden in a Flatbush Backyard, August 6, 2007
Resources: Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants, May 22, 2007
Native Plant profile: Dicentra eximia, Bleeding-heart, May 22, 2006
Notes from a visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Late July 2005
My photos of the Native Flora Garden
My other posts about native plants


Native Flora Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Native, New York City Garden, is a great writeup of tips and sources if, like me, you're interested in growing native plants in your own Brooklyn or NYC garden.
Native Plants Database, Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center