The New York Botanical Garden is one of the premier botanical gardens in the U.S., located in the Bronx in New York City. It spans some 250 acres of Bronx Park and is home to some of the world’s leading plant laboratories.
At The New York Botanical Garden, they study, exhibit, and teach about plants, the three main activities which define what a classical botanical garden is. Classical botanical gardens have a broader and more comprehensive mission than other kinds of plant-focused institutions, such as display gardens, environmental education centers, universities, or public gardens, that participate in only some of these activities.
The New York Botanical Garden conducts vast global scientific research programs, every year making expeditions to study and collect plants around the world. In New York, the Garden’s scientists use cutting-edge techniques at the Garden’s state-of-the-art laboratories to discover and understand the properties of plants and their relationships to each other, to ecosystems, and to people.
The park is vast and you can go for leisurely walks through various parts of the park (they provide extensive maps) or you can also take one of their free trans which leave just a couple of minutes walk from the main entrance. This section wasn’t normally open but they had a private event later, so we were able to take a stroll through. The lighting in the late afternoon on a September day couldn’t have been more perfect!
Since it is the end of summer, the May-August flowers weren’t in full bloom, but many were still hanging on since the weather has been so warm, some could say, even hot.
There’s an atrium where greenhouses keep plants and flowers blooming and healthy.
A rose garden and other flowers in bloom throughout the garden’s grounds.
The Botanical Garden has 50 gardens and more than one million living plants, including 30,000 mature trees, on its 250-acre landscape. These collections include the most beautiful rose garden in the United States and tropical and desert plants displayed in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, where three public exhibitions are presented each year.
The Garden teaches people of all ages about plants and the environment through its educational programs in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, theHome Gardening Center, the Graduate Studies Program, the School of Professional Horticulture, and the largest Continuing Education program of any botanical Garden in the U.S.
They also have a native forest called The Thain Family Forest, which is the largest remaining tract of original forest that once covered most of New York City. When you visit the Forest, you will walk along Native American hunting trails, see marks left by glaciers, and pass under trees dating back to the American Revolution. It’s oh so lovely in the fall although you can visit it and take in its magic throughout the year, snow and all. You can’t go wrong when the leaves start to change however.
In 1895, founding director Nathaniel Lord Britton selected 250 acres, including the Forest as the site for The New York Botanical Garden. Britton determined the northern end of Bronx Park suitable as the location for the Botanical Garden “for the reasons that it combines all the desirable elements of ready accessibility, rich and varied soil, grand natural scenery, [and] dense natural forest…”
For thousands of years, this old-growth Forest has changed, adapted and survived. Today the Forest remains a magnificent reminder of the beauty and resilience of nature in the face of complex human-caused disturbances. Research has shown that over the past century pollution, soil compaction, and the introduction of invasive plants, pests, and diseases have all impacted the health of the Forest. To preserve the Forest for future generations the Garden manages invasive species, plants native plants, and performs research.
Since there was a private event when we were there, the Kings Brass Band was playing to welcome guests in and us “out” as we left the gardens. It was a treat and a treasure to experience their whimsical and fun loving style and of course, they can all play a mean brass instrument!
They also have fun exhibitions running throughout the year. An upcoming one in October that would be great for families with young kids is the Haunted Pumpkin Garden, where kids can experience the thrills and chills of the season with a garden full of intricately carved pumpkin sculptures, bugs, and bats. On October 19 & 20, 2013, you can watch Master Carvers Ray Villafane and Andy Bergholtz of Food Network fame transform humongous pumpkins into unearthly creatures.
Pumpkin sculptures of spooky scarecrows, frightening spiders, sneaky snakes, and more await discovery at every turn in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. The display includes more than 500 intricately carved pumpkins that are sure to capture your youngster’s imagination. Every day kids can play inside a “gourd- geous” Pumpkin House, put on a scary show at the Pumpkin Puppet Theater, look for wiggly worms under a rotting log, and join a Halloween Parade, while each weekend offers even more treats.