So on Thursday, this writer and her reluctant spouse headed for the jewel in the crown of
If you hunger for botanical knowledge even as you lust after gorgeous plants, this is the place for you. Now through August 21, there is the added lure of a world-class exhibit titled “Spanish Paradise: Gardens of
The potted variegated lemon and grapefruit trees alone were worth the price of admission. Equally thrilling were the water-lilies, with huge blooms nodding in a refreshing breeze.
The Enid Haupt Conservatory, which houses the
About 50 acres of the garden are devoted to forest left as when the Lorillard family bought the property – yes, those Lorillards, of tobacco wealth and fame. There is a restored stone building on the property known as the Snuff Mill, with water power supplied by the
In addition to these native trees, including 200-year-old oaks, there are also collections of exotics, artfully displayed. An entire arboretum of conifers takes up another chunk of acreage, with rarities such as Japanese red pines, of which there is a striking small grove. A well-displayed collection of dwarf pines propagated from witches’ brooms by Dr. Sidney Waxman, long a fixture at
Two stars of the gardens are the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, designed by Beatrice Jones Farrand,
The rose garden may not be as enormous as the one in Elizabeth Park, but it is exceptionally well-maintained and well-documented. If you are interested in comparing forty or more of David Austin’s gorgeous, hardy, sweet-scented, disease-resistant shrub roses, go at once! There is even educational signage about some of the more environmentally-friendly roses – roses that require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides than many others do.
And, speaking of maintenance, I did see a weed there: two tiny patches of edible purslane. It was like seeing a beautiful woman with one curl out of place – just a perfect humanizing touch.
The bookstore ought to be visited at the beginning, rather than the end of the tour. A sensible person might then buy only what he or she could carry about for the day. The range of topics, the vibrancy of the photographs, the depth of subject matter, were simply staggering. In these days of vanishing bookstores, how exhilarating to find an anthology of poems about
Next week: How’re you going to keep’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen the NYBG?