Today a friend (and fellow gardener) and I finally got to the new native plant garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Before you enter the garden, which includes a variety of habitats, both sun and shade, you see this wonderful border. Right now, joe-pye week (Eupatorium) and goldenrod (Solidago) dominate, and you can also see pokeweed (Phylolacca americana). It’s almost as messy as my perennial borders at this time of year, and I think, just as beautiful.
The shade garden, built around the garden’s original early-twentieth-century native plant garden and anchored by huge oaks and sweet gums, was the most appealing part of the exhibit on this very hot day. We saw mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) with huge fruits. Mine never set fruit, and they always go dormant long before this time of year.
We saw a striking composite, 6 feet tall and blooming in shade, that neither of us could identify. Turned out to be wingstem, Actinomeris alternifolia. I’ve never seen this plant offered commercially, but it’s certainly one to look for.
The sunny part of the garden is all brand new; the different sections show off plants of different local habitats. Like the introductory border I showed you in the first photo, these gardens are all informal, mingling flowering perennials with grasses in a natural style.
Here’s another joe-pye weed, this time a shorter one, with a Cassia species, either wild senna (C. helocarpa) or partridge pea (C. fasciculata), and native grasses. These plants are suitable for dry, sunny sites.
Finally we got a good view of the green roof of the new visitor’s center, planted with native prairie grasses and designed by New York Green Roofs. I was happy to finally see it, because it was designed by my teacher at NYBG, Chris Brunner, and we learned a lot about it during our course in green technology.