Garden Diary - May

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Wonderland: Curious Nature
at the New York Botanical Garden
Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Open to the public from Saturday, 18 May 2024 through Sunday, 27 October 2024, a magical discovery of the curiousities of nature with a fantastical exploration throughout the New York Botanical Garden. Indoors and outside there are contemporary art installations, daytime programing, fantastical tea parties and after dark experiences. For tickets contact NYBG at 718-817-8716 or email at ticketingsupport@nybg.org

Today will be a trifecta day for me, here at the New York Botanical Gardens. There is a morning lecture, an afternoon workshop, and between the two, a media preview for the splendid Wonderland: Curious Nature event that will open to the public in just a few days, on Saturday. Since I have first and third in the Watson Education building that's the parking lot I used.

Walk past one of the meticulously pruned Carpinus that embellish the library building

and admire the - dare I merely call them "potted plants?" - that grace the Watson entrance.

Now, living as I do in a semi-rural area of western New Jersey we have

an evening rabbit who comes to dine on the mixed greenery that passes for our lawn.

And at last winter's holiday train show there was an outsize rabbit

(or perhaps he is a hare) with rather large ears perkily sitting upright.

But Wonderland has the white rabbit, twelve feet tall. "Wait a minute." you say, "He's green."

Created by Mosaicultures Internationales de Montreal, he is fashioned entirely out of plants.
Remember how the white rabbit greeted Alice, muttering, "I'm late! I'm late! for a very
important date. I haven't the time to say "Hello. Goodbye." I'm late. I'm late. I'm late.

Perhaps the white rabbit realized the time after looking at the nearby Rolex Great Garden Clock.

Rabbit and clock are near the Leon Levy visitors center. But wait, there's more.

Continuing your outside journey, on the Conservatory Lawn by the Enid Haupt Conservatory

there are shrubberies neatly clipped into spirals and spheres, more than 100 geometric shapes.

But wait, there's something . . . something white, appearing from behind topiaries.

. . . they look sort of like mushrooms . . .


Indeed. They are Shrumen Lumen, kinetic mushroom sculptures by FoldHaus Art Collective.
Stop and stare and watch, because they randomly change size (and unlike Alice you needed
not eat the mushroom.) Even wilder, at night LEDs add shifting, changing moving colors.

Mushrooms play a role in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. And also in Wonderland: Curious Nature.
Britain-based Portuguese architect Andre Kong presents Homegrown, an open wooden house

within which is a more solid seeming structure that yes, you may enter. The bricks made of mycelium,
the branching rootlike underground network of fungal threads. Kong partnered with Ecovative Design,
a leading biomaterials company that develops both packaging and building materials from mycelium.

At the edge of the Thain Family Forest, near the Azalea Hill, it's done with mirrors.

Created Alysin Shotz specifically for Wonderland, A World Made of Time uses narrow reedlike mirrors
offer shifting perspectives as sunlight filters through leaves of overhead trees played with by the wind.

Near the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is a puzzling chess game. All is white, board and pieces.

Yoko Ono's Play It By Trust reduces the traditional competition to something that leads to collaboration,
partnership, teamwork, cooperation. After all, as the pieces move out on the board how do you know what
is mine and which are yours. A twist on the game in Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

Have you worked up an appetite, wandering around the grounds and discovering the wonders of Wonderland?

image courtesy The new York Botanical garden all rights reserved
The New York Botanical garden has you covered with all sorts of delicious Where to Have Tea options.
Possibilities include

The Hudson Garden Grill near the conservatory – sit down for lunch and a spot of tea! Scones, petit fours, and other classic tea-time desserts are available.
Special Tea Party Parties at Hudson Garden Grill – this afternoon tea extravaganza takes place Thursdays beginning May 23. Reserve your seat on OpenTable.
Pine Tree Café by the Levy Visitors Center – featuring iced and hot lavender lattes, plus a full tea and coffee menu, and scones, cookies, and pastries.
There's also the Looking Glass and Unbirthday Truck – featuring tea-to-go packages for two to enjoy al fresco. Packages include sandwiches, fruit, snack mix, scones, and sweets—plus a reusable tumbler with your selection of hot or iced tea. Kid-friendly packages are also available.
And adjecent to the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is The Rose Court – featuring a selection of iced teas, sweet treats, and frosé.

See also Wonderland: Curious Nature, Inside at the New York Botanical Garden

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