I’ve been noticing lately on my night walks the effort that goes into plants that are front-facing. Even plants and flowers in windows or window boxes, and the warmth they bring to the neighborhood, are impressive for what they say about the home’s inhabitants. It says they care, that they want to bring beauty to where they live, that they want to share. This spirit of a gardener was never more evident to me than this weekend.
This weekend we took a jaunt to the Bronx where we saw the fruits of the labor of love by the growers (isn’t that a great word for gardeners — I love the multiple meanings) at the New York Botanical Garden. We took in a dizzying array of colorful flora, and delighted in this garden inspired by Claude Monet‘s own at Giverny. Spattered throughout the stunning visual inspirations are placards with quotes from Monet centered loosely on the theme that flowers are what inspired him to become a painter. To him, his painting and the garden he so lovingly tended were inseparable. His creations — both the gardens and paintings — tell us he was right.
We got to the garden Saturday morning at 10:15 (NYBG opens at 10:00 a.m.), and already the line for parking stretched into the street. I’d recommend an early a.m. weekday visit in order to be able to have time to take in all there is to see here. You may also want to download the NYBG app before your visit, to get the most out of it. I started to download the app but got impatient and set out to catch the sights…
The scent and the sights are swoon worthy.
These orchids — which came in a variety of striking colors — from all sides, look like tiny slippers. I only took a shot straight on, so it’s a little hard to tell, but turn it on its side and it looks like you could slip one of these on a fairy’s foot.
The variety of plants and flowers occupied the floor, the ceiling and everything in between. If you didn’t look up, you would have missed this curious beast, above.
The plants included a smattering of edible variety as well. Here is a striped pineapple. There were also orange trees, and a grapefruit tree too. Yum!
And, of course, it wouldn’t be complete without the water lilies. There are two large ponds with water lilies and a variety of other plants. Colorful and people-friendly fish apparently keep away pests and feed on the moss of the underwater stones on which some of the plants are growing. The littlest visitors seemed most interested in following the trail of the fish as they swam the length of the pond.
Many thanks to the New York Botanical Garden for bringing a slice of Monet’s inspiration, literally to life for us. The painstaking research and growing they did for us is yet another example of the generous spirit captured by Monet, and shared by gardeners throughout the world.
As breathtaking as it was, just a quick peek here, to see Monet’s gardens which were resurrected from disrepair after WWII, tells me I need to take a trip to Giverny soon.