Making Brooklyn Bloom 2024 - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Making Brooklyn Bloom 2024

Making Brooklyn Bloom 2024

Special Events

Saturday, March 9, 2024 | 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Palm House | Free, in-person event

What’s the Buzz? Plants, Pollinators, People!

Making Brooklyn Bloom

Guided by BBG’s 2024 focus on pollinators, the 42nd annual Making Brooklyn Bloom conference welcomes spring with the question, “What’s the Buzz?”

The day’s workshops, tours, and keynote address will highlight the incredible and interconnected benefits that pollinators provide and inspire urban gardeners to do more toward supporting the web of life all around us. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with NYC greening organizations in the Palm House and participate in a conference that has had Brooklyn buzzing with excitement for over 40 years!

Garden admission is free for attendees. Arrive early—spots for workshops and the keynote address fill quickly. Advance admission for attendees begins at 9:30 a.m. at any public entrance.

Reserve Garden Admission

Note: Garden admission does not guarantee space in Making Brooklyn Bloom programs. Keynote and workshop registration begins in-person at 10 a.m. in the Palm House, first come, first served. You must be present to register.

Email [email protected] by February 23, 2024 to request ASL interpretation. Visit for more information.

symbol for sign language

Wilbur A. Levin Keynote Address

Roots and Relationships: How Native Plants Connect Us to Our Past and Our Future

Courtney Streett, President/Executive Director, Native Roots Farm Foundation

Smiling woman with long black hair

“We’re often told to take time to smell the roses. At Native Roots Farm Foundation, we believe it’s worth listening to plants, too. Our community is reuniting with plant relatives, and they are telling us about their centuries of survival. These stories are about relationships between people and plants, built over generations and threatened by colonization, that are being revitalized today. As we move into our shared future, we can all learn lessons from these plant relatives.”

symbol for sign language

About the Speaker

Courtney Streett (Nanticoke Indian Tribe) cofounded Native Roots Farm Foundation (NRFF) and uses her knowledge of Indigenous communities, horticulture, and visual storytelling to lead the organization. Prior to NRFF, Streett was a television news producer at CBS News and Business Insider. She received an MS from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and wrote her thesis on the local food movement. She earned a BA in Environmental Studies and a BA in Africana Studies from Wellesley College. She focused her undergraduate studies on environmental justice and conducted research on plant responses to organic and conventional growing methods.

Workshops, Talks & Tours

Register on arrival to secure a spot in the morning and afternoon programs of your choosing. Arrive early to get your first choices, space permitting. Due to limited availability, you must be present to receive a workshop ticket at registration.

Workshops repeat at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. There is a different talk in the morning and the afternoon.

Auditorium Talks

ASL interpretation will be available for all talks.

symbol for sign language

11 a.m.–12 p.m.

Bugs of Note: Garden Friends and Foes

Sam Anderson, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Saara Nafici, Red Hook Farms
Go on an arthropological journey to find out where to look for and how to identify a few favorite (and least-liked) insects. Learn unexpected twists of insect life cycles, predator-prey relationships, and unsolved mysteries in our own backyards.

1:30–2:45 p.m.

Roots and Relationships: How Native Plants Connect Us to Our Past and Our Future

Courtney Streett, President/Executive Director, Native Roots Farm Foundation
In the Wilbur A. Levin Keynote Address, Streett explores the relationships between people and plants that have been built over generations while centering indigenous voices and ecological knowledge. Learn about the importance of drawing on the knowledge and wisdom of the past to inform our approach to the future.

3–4 p.m.

Native Plants for Bees and Beyond

Jennifer Blackwell and William Lenihan, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
How do BBG’s gardens support native pollinators? Hear from two of the Garden’s curators whose work is dedicated to conserving and displaying native plants. Their work also includes understanding the relationships these plants have–and make—with pollinators and people, especially the youngest visitors to the Garden. Learn lessons you can take back to the garden spaces in your life.

Classroom Workshops

Each workshop runs twice, 11 a.m.–12 p.m. & 3–4 p.m.

The Blues of the Bees: Celebrating the Gift of Blueberries

Lily Pool Room
Maya Marie S., Deep Routes
Lowbush blueberries have been part of life in what is now Brooklyn for well over 10,000 years, and pollination is still essential to their growth. Join us as we share stories of origin and connection—with pollinators and people across the Indigenous and African diasporas. We’ll also make blueberry and herb sugar.

Beginning With a Seed

Greenhouse 2
Joanne D’Auria, HortAbility
A great workshop for beginning gardeners! Seeds hold so much powerful potential, yet what is a seed? Learn the basics of seed types and life cycles. How do gardeners coax the most out of seeds and how does seed-starting compare to other forms of propagation? You’ll start some seeds for your garden or windowsill.

No Matter How Small: Wildlife-Friendly Container Gardening

Room 123
Margarita Diaz Poulson, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Research shows that even the smallest urban gardens—like whiskey barrels and window boxes—can make a huge difference for pollinator populations and other wildlife. Learn how to make the most of the space you have for the wildlife you want to support.

The State of Composting in NYC

Room 125
Gil Lopez, Smiling Hogshead Ranch, Clare Miflin, Center for Zero Waste Design, and Anneliese Zausner-Mannes, Nuture BK Compost
We all know that “compost happens.” Yet a lot has happened to community composting in NYC over the last few months. Join veteran community composters and advocates in a conversation that picks through the pile to better understand the current moment and the future of composting that we can build—together.

Dance of Urban Trees and Bees— Lessons from the Greenest Block in Brooklyn

Room 236
Phoebe Blake, Pauline Green, Grace Henry, and Carol Reneau, 300 East 25th Street Block Association
The gardeners of East 25th Street—multiple Greenest Block in Brooklyn winners—share their expertise on cultivating streetscape gardens. Learn street tree care basics and how to use a love of trees and pollinators to organize, motivate, and inspire neighborly connection on your block.

Better than Fertilizer: Companion Planting for Pollinators

Magnolia Room
Veronica Odom, Brooklyn Urban Gardener
Learn about the vital role that pollinators play in growing food and how attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects can increase fruits and vegetable yields. Get inspired to plan a food garden that shares the bounty with our insect allies. It’s a win-win!

Special Tours

Join an indoor or outdoor tour with one of our Garden Guides.

Signs of Spring Tour: Plants and Pollinators

11 a.m. & 3 p.m. (Outdoors)
Meet at the Lily Pool Terrace staircase.
Garden Guides Kathryn Patton (11 a.m.) & Kit Schneider (3 p.m.)
No matter the temperature, now is the time that plants and pollinators begin to awaken from winter dormancy. How does this happen? And why are native plants and their relationships to native pollinators so special? Learn amid the budding and buzzing at BBG. Weather permitting. This tour is 60 minutes.

Trees of Little Caribbean Tour

11 a.m. (Indoors)
Steinhardt Conservatory, upper level
Jennifer Napoli, BBG Garden Guide
BBG’s Entry House, Aquatic House, and Tropical Pavilion contain plants representing both the native and colonial botanical histories of the Caribbean. Learn more about native Caribbean trees like guava and allspice as well as plants brought from across the globe. This tour is 40 minutes.

Tour Art from BBG’s Florilegium Society

3 p.m. (Indoors)
Steinhardt Conservatory, lower level
Kathy Crosby, BBG Librarian
Established in 2000, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society includes some of the country’s most accomplished botanical artists who document the Garden’s living collections in watercolor, pen and ink, and other media. Experience these works with the exhibit’s curator while reflecting on plants’ knowledge of—and preparation for—seasonal change in Brooklyn. This tour is 60 minutes.


10–11 a.m.
Registration and Coffee in the Palm House
Register the day of the event to secure space for workshops and the keynote address.
10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Palm House Activities
  • View displays from dozens of NYC greening groups.
  • Learn about the Brooklyn Urban Gardener certificate program.
  • Enter your block in the Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest.
Rotunda Activities
  • Pick up free veggie seeds.
  • Visit the Ask a Gardener table for answers to your horticultural questions.
  • Browse the Library.
11 a.m.

Morning Workshops, Talks & Tours: You may choose one morning and one afternoon workshop, space permitting. See descriptions above.

12–1 p.m.
Bring-Your-Lunch Breakout Sessions

Join a conversation about Composting, Community Gardening, School Gardening, Street Tree Stewardship, or Budget Cuts & Advocacy

Bring a Bag Lunch Zones

Look for signage in the Palm House for an area to sit, eat your lunch, and chat with fellow attendees.

Snacks and lunches are also available for purchase in the Palm House.

1:30–2:45 p.m.

Wilbur A. Levin Keynote Address

“Roots and Relationships: How Native Plants Connect Us to Our Past and Our Future” presented by Courtney Streett, President/Executive Director, Native Roots Farm Foundation

3–4 p.m.
Afternoon Workshops, Talks & Tours

See descriptions above.

4 p.m.
Leave us your feedback and get a token of our thanks!

Questions? Contact [email protected] or call 718-623-7250.

Accommodation can be made for visitors in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. If you need additional accessibility accommodation, please contact us at [email protected] by February 23.


Brooklyn Botanic Garden gratefully acknowledges support for its Community Greening programs from Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Family of Wilbur A. Levin, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the NYC Department of Sanitation, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, and the NYC Council.

Leadership Support, Community Greening Programs
Logo: NY Culture. Department of Cultural Affairs.

Image, top of page: Nina Browne