Much More Than A Garden

by Melody Morrow

There are so many wonderful green spaces and places in NYC to enjoy, but the New York Botanical Gardens, established 100 years ago, is truly a National treasure. What I celebrated with so many on a beautiful Sunday in the Bronx was the annual Orchid Show in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. The variety, colors and exhibition spaces were not only pretty to look at but was a learning experience as well.

There are so many amazing experiences a visitor can take part in even if it’s just sitting on a bench or meandering through the various parts of the gardens, which includes 28 specialty gardens including the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and more. They can boast that they have over 30,000 trees.

Established in 1891, it’s registered on the US National Register of Historic Places and a US National landmark, the NYBG is considered a museum of living plant collections. Their focus is on education and research on their 250 acre “campus” as I like to call it. The campus has over 800,000 visitors per year who enjoy all it has to offer.

What the general public may not know is how this wonderful landmark is also eco-friendly and employs many sustainability practices. Included in the stewardship of this land is the way they conserve energy and reduce emissions. They sequester carbon, clean the air and capture plus clean the storm water. The Gardens use only organic fertilizer, reduces carbon emissions, uses low and no emission vehicles, removes invasive species and composts. There is also a Forest Stewardship Plan to take care of its 50-acre Native Forest. NYBG is also doing more recycling than ever before with the help of NYC partnerships.

Ways for the eco-friendly minded can get involved at this historic site with a very forward thinking strategy is to volunteer as a citizen scientist, learn to green your home garden through their education offerings and share tips on the organization’s blog called Plant Talk for starters.

If the NYBG isn’t near you, maybe you can participate in one of these ways in your own area and start something new in your neighborhood. Maybe it could be the next landmark.

My next visit is to the Wild Medicine exhibit at this extraordinary Bronx jewel.

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