As I write this, it is once again snowing outside. And I am therefore grateful to be transported, even electronically, to the New York Botanical Gardens, in the Bronx, the northernmost borough of New York City.
Spring IS Coming . . . Yes!
The New York Botanical Gardens are a many-acred splendor, and it is not easy to find one's way around them. Alas, the same is true of this otherwise-wonderful website! You might begin with the introduction, for a basic orientation. There is also a map of sorts, with accompanying links. There is even a no-frills site index. None of these, however, will take you in an orderly fashion through all of the garden's treasures.
I therefore recommend (modestly, of course) my own tour as set forth below. It begins at the heart of the site, focusing first on individual flowers and then on some of the various gardens.
Individual flowers are naturally the subject of many individual pages. Thus, there is one on tulips and another on daylilies. Daffodils rate not just one page, but a second one as well. The same is true for orchids, which begin on this page and continue on another
If I had to choose just one portion of the entire gardens to visit, it would have to be the rose garden. Here there are not only old garden and shrub roses but modern roses as well.
This is a good time to point out that most (but not all) of the fine photographs that appear at this site can be enlarged. To get the full effect of this feature, you might take a look at this Portland rose or this basic red rose. If time permits, try also to take a peek at my personal favorite, this David Austin rose.
The individual gardens also come in many varieties. Some are visually rather modest, such as the native plant garden and the herb garden. Others are decidedly more spectacular, for instance, the rock garden (featuring Alpine plants), the perennial garden, and the seasonal walk, which specializes in tulips, chrysanthemums, and annuals. The many early spring flowering bulbs are found throughout the focused gardens.
The flowers and the flower gardens form the heart of the Botanical Gardens, but there are other attractions as well. Other forms of plant life at the Gardens are ferns, hydrangeas, and other flowering shrubs and trees. Indeed, trees are found throughout the preserve, the notable trees, ornamental conifers, and the forest.
Where there are flowers and trees, there will also be other forms of life. Butterflies appear in the "wildlife garden"; birds are everywhere; and the acute visitor may spot other animals as well.
The Gardens has an educational mission, fulfilled in great part through its Demo Gardens. The Demo Gardens include a fragrance and a cutting garden, a country and an autumn garden (featuring Korean chrysanthemums). (Note that the material already referenced on the wildlife garden is duplicated here.)
As a living "museum," the Gardens puts on several exhibits each year. The current exhibit is called Nature's Pharmacy, subtitled "Plants that Heal." In April, a new exhibit titled the New Renaissance Garden will go on show.
The Botanical Gardens site will amply repay the time a viewer spends there. And as you go from one gorgeous page to another, do remember to try out some of the enlarged images. Otherwise, you might miss this marvelous photograph of petunias, to say nothing of this view of the rock garden or this one, of the country garden.
February 5, 2001