Native Flora Garden


Native Flora Garden Expansion

BBG’s Native Flora Garden expansion—a newly planted area that features a cultivated pine barrens and a meadow modeled after Long Island's Hempstead Plains—comes a century after BBG first established its Local Flora Section.

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The Native Flora Garden exhibits native plants growing in the New York metropolitan area, a region known for its natural diversity. Highlighting the plants of the Northeast found in three ecoregions: coastal plain, piedmont, and highland, the garden represents a variety of plant communities, including serpentine rock, dry meadow, kettle pond, bog, pine barrens, wet meadow and stream, deciduous woodland, limestone ledge, and conifer forest.

A Natural History

Curator Uli Lorimer reflects on the history and future of the Native Flora Garden.

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First planted by Norman Taylor as a wildflower garden in 1911, the Native Flora Garden was redesigned in 1931 by Henry K. Svenson as a rambling woodland. The first ecologically themed native plant garden of its kind in the U.S., it was Svenson’s vision that only species native to New York City and its environs be included in the display. Due to lack of funding, the Native Flora Garden was closed in 1963 until a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts provided the funding and impetus for the garden's reopening in 1983. The garden's close partnership with BBG's New York Metropolitan Flora Project continues to benefit the collection, as yearly joint field trips into various plant communities enrich the garden with new species and add valuable cultural information about the flora of the region. Shortly after its centennial in 2011, plans were implemented to expand the Native Flora Garden to accommodate habitats that had been slowly shaded out of the garden as the canopy matured. The new expansion includes a coastal meadow, upland pine barrens, lowland pine barrens and pond, serpentine outcrop, and woodland edge.

Uli Lorimer

Uli Lorimer

 

Uli Lorimer is curator of the Native Flora Garden. The Delaware native grew up with an interest in all things green, and after receiving an honors degree from the University of Delaware in landscape horticulture, he moved to New York City to become the woodland gardener at Wave Hill. Since becoming curator of BBG's Native Flora Garden, Uli has tended its historic collection and been instrumental in expanding the garden to include a coastal plain meadow and pine barrens habitat. In his ongoing efforts to collect seed from the wild and bring to the garden rare and unusual indigenous species, Uli works closely with other botanists in the New York region to document and study the biodiversity of our area.

Classes

Current classes taught by Uli Lorimer

Online Articles

Collecting in the Wild
The Quiet Earth: A Forest in Winter
History of the Native Flora Garden
Native Virginia Bluebells Blooming
Spring Beauty in the Native Flora Garden
Wild Bleeding Heart in Bloom
Dutchman’s Breeches in Bloom
Bloodroot in Bloom
Trilliums, Charismatic Spring Ephemerals
An Adventure into Harriman State Park

Contributions to BBG Handbooks

A Native Plants Reader
Edible Gardens
Great Natives for Tough Places
Healthy Soils for Sustainable Gardens
Community Gardening

All plants in the Native Flora Garden are adapted to particular ecological niches based on environmental factors such as topography, geology, soil acidity or alkalinity, moisture, drainage, and light.

Wild flower path, facing north. ©1921 Louis Buhle. All rights reserved. For reproduction permission, contact library@bbg.org. To see more historic images of BBG, visit bbg.org/discover/historicimages/
Uli Lorimer, curator of the Native Flora Garden.
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    • The Native Flora Garden in fall. Photo by Antonio M. Rosario.The Native Flora Garden in fall. Photo by Antonio M. Rosario.
    • A great blue heron visits the Native Flora Garden's new bog. Photo by Sarah Schmidt.A great blue heron visits the Native Flora Garden's new bog. Photo by Sarah Schmidt.
    • Photo by Antonio M. Rosario.Photo by Antonio M. Rosario.
    • A view of the bog in the Native Flora Garden Expansion. Photo by Blanca Begert. A view of the bog in the Native Flora Garden Expansion. Photo by Blanca Begert.
    • Kettle Pond. Photo by Uli Lorimer.Kettle Pond. Photo by Uli Lorimer.
    • Grass blowing in the wind in the Native Flora Garden Expansion. Photo by Blanca Begert.Grass blowing in the wind in the Native Flora Garden Expansion. Photo by Blanca Begert.
    • Butterfly-weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in bloom in the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.Butterfly-weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in bloom in the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.
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      • A highlight of the Serpentine Rock area of the Native Flora Garden, Dicentra eximia creates a beautiful pink and purple color display. Photo by Uli Lorimer.A highlight of the Serpentine Rock area of the Native Flora Garden, Dicentra eximia creates a beautiful pink and purple color display. Photo by Uli Lorimer.
      • Cedar Apple Rust fruiting bodies on J. virginiana in the Border Mound area of the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli LorimerCedar Apple Rust fruiting bodies on J. virginiana in the Border Mound area of the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer
      • Aesculus glabra autumn foliage. Photo by Uli Lorimer.Aesculus glabra autumn foliage. Photo by Uli Lorimer.
      • Anemonella thalictroides in the Limestone Ledge area of the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.Anemonella thalictroides in the Limestone Ledge area of the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.
      • Smilacina racemosa also known as Maianthemum racemosum
 or Feathery False Lily of the Valley can be found in the Pine Barrens area of the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.Smilacina racemosa also known as Maianthemum racemosum or Feathery False Lily of the Valley can be found in the Pine Barrens area of the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.
      • Scientific Name: Asclepias tuberosa. 
Common Name: Butterfly Weed 
Photo by Uli Lorimer.Scientific Name: Asclepias tuberosa. Common Name: Butterfly Weed Photo by Uli Lorimer.
      • Asclepias incarnata in the Bog area of the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.Asclepias incarnata in the Bog area of the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.
      • Trichostema dichotomum common name forked bluecurls in the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.Trichostema dichotomum common name forked bluecurls in the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.
      • Sanguinaria canadensis, common name bloodroot, in the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.Sanguinaria canadensis, common name bloodroot, in the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Uli Lorimer.
      • Photo by Uli LorimerPhoto by Uli Lorimer
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