Sunday, September 09, 2007

Queens Botanical Garden

Queens Botanical Garden
Flushing, New York

Yesterday I left early and visited the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing, New York. I wanted to kind of make a clean sweep of the NYC Botanical gardens having already visited the New York Botanical Garden and Wave Hill in the Bronx, Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the Staten Island Botanical Gardens this summer. It wasn’t as much as an adventure as getting to the Staten Island Garden. I drove to the Metro-North Railroad Station in Katonah, New York and got the train to Manhattan. I then bought a Metrocard and took the #7 Subway train to its terminus at Main Street in Flushing, Queens. It is about a 40-minute ride on the Subway and then I walked the eight blocks south on Main Street to the garden. I took the bus back to the station and you may want to consider taking it to the garden.

The new Visitor and Administration Building at the Queens Botanical Garden

The garden was nice, smallish compared to the others but it really had a country atmosphere, which was kind of amazing to me. If it weren’t for the skyscrapers and the jets taking off from La Guardia you might not know you were in NYC. There is a lot of construction going on at the garden. It looked like a pretty big area was closed off and totally ripped up. The Visitor and Administration Building was brand new and they are so planning a new maintenance building and area.

Some of the highlights of my visit were the Rose Garden, Pinetum, and while I didn’t get to actually go inside the area reserved for Weddings. There was a Wedding later in the day with; I’m guessing 50 guests. I got to see the bride walking down the aisle and I liked the air of anticipation before she arrived. The Rose Garden had a lot of roses and seemed well cared for and my only knock (and it is a small one) was the roses for the most part weren’t labeled and they were kind of scatter planted (mixed up). As I said there were a lot of flowers and a good selection of cultivars. The Pinetum was interesting, I didn’t see anything really rare but there was an interesting selection with some very old specimens. It looked like they are going to need to do some transplanting soon and I would have liked to see a few more dwarf types of trees. If you are not familiar with what a Pinetum is here is the definition: “An area planted with pine trees or related conifers, especially for botanical study.”

One of the Circular Annual Plantings

The rest of the display gardens were nicely presented and tended. There were a couple of very nice annual/tropical plant circles that I found interesting. There was also a large circular perennial and annual border that was impressive. I have tried to make a comprehensive review here since it was hard to find any reviews on the Internet about the QBG. A review would not be complete without mentioning the experience I had in the Senior Garden section. The Senior Garden was located in one of the far corners of the garden, and is made of a lot of small vegetable plots, each tended by a senior. Apparently they just started opening on the weekends for visiting. They were calling over to me to come visit as I walked by. Of course I went in and looked around after a few minutes one of the gardeners approached me and started to talk about the garden. I don’t think I have ever met a group that was more friendly and proud of their garden. They had to show me everything and I found them to be quite knowledgeable. When they heard I was professional that seemed to trigger some questions. It was a very personal and enjoyable visit for me. The kind of experience you wouldn’t get at the other Botanical Gardens in NYC.

Overall it was a very enjoyable visit. I can’t remember the last time I rode one of the Subway lines to the end in the Outer Boroughs. The #7 line drops you in the middle of Chinatown and that is an experience in itself. When I was in Grand Central I had a bolt of fear as the US Open Tennis Tournament and a Mets home game was scheduled on Saturday. It turned out to be baseless as I dodged both with happy accidental timing. You probably wouldn’t want to make this your top destination for Botanical Gardens in NYC but if you are interested or have the time it is certainly worth the visit.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

A quick word about the pictures here. When I go shooting I often give myself a little challenge to try and complete on my journey. Yesterday it was to get a few full frame flower and plant pictures. As usual I took a lot of close ups but tried to complete my personal challenge. I had quite a few failed attempts (which we won’t be seeing) and the three that came out the best.


Sandy Carlson said...

Thanks for the grand tour. What a feast for the eyes!

Lynda Lehmann said...

I took the tour too, and I'm sad to say I've never been to any of these gardens, although I live near enough to get there fairly easily. Thank you for piquing my interest. Of course, I can't wait to go there with camera and tripod in hand!

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Sandy, thanks for the comment

lynda, I think you would like Wave Hill in the Bronx.