Saturday, February 24, 2007

New York Botanical Garden

I want to go!

The New York Botanical Garden is a big, beautiful book full of dazzling photographs of colorful plants and gardens that contrast sharply with the bare trees, dead grass, and remains of snow outside my windows. As I look through its pages, I want to go to New York, a place I've never been, and wander though the 250 acres of gardens and woods along the Bronx River. It also makes me think of the great gardens and arboretums that I have seen. Some are near me in the Chicago area. Is it still February? I should bundle up and go out any way.

The text of The New York Botanical Gardens tells of the park's history, describes the many special gardens, advises visitors where to find spectacular plants, describes the library and herbarium collections, and tells of international research supported by the organization. The photos, however, are the real emphasis of the book. On page 48 is a photo of late-flowering Korean chrysanthemums that is dazzling. Pages 72 through 81 show the world famous Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. Page 144 shows the double row of huge autumn gold tulip trees approaching the brick, limestone, and terra-cotta library. Pages 171 and 172 show pink magnolias in bloom. Nearly every page of the book impresses.

The New York Botanical Garden is a large book that is a little heavy to hold. Settle onto a comfortable couch or sit at a table. Take your time. Pretend you are there.

The New York Botanical Garden. New York: Abrams, 2006. ISBN 0810957442

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