At Queens Botanical Garden, we want people to celebrate plants and understand the crucial role that plants play in our lives and our communities. The Queens Botanical Garden is working on a step-by-step basis to transition to a more sustainable landscape that requires fewer resources to stay healthy. In our collections, the Garden features plants that celebrate cultural connections and highlights plants that are native to the New York area.
The new landscapes installed as part of the 2001 Master Plan are functional, meaning the plants and soil all play a role in contributing to a healthier habitat. Many of the plants in these landscapes are indigenous to North East America, including those in the Visitor & Administration Building’s cleansing biotope, constructed wetland, bioswale, and green roof. The structure itself is built on the former site of a parking lot, maximizing the space for new landscapes and optimizing reuse.
In addition to highlighting plants that celebrate cultural connections, the Garden Master Plan calls for rebuilding some indigenous plant communities— including woodland, savannah, wetland, ridge and swale, and prairie ecosystems. The Garden is encouraging the establishment and growth of these communities by taking steps to revitalize soils and reintroducing native plants and seeds.
Plants have families too. More than 15 plant families are highlighted in the Plants in Community garden around the Visitor & Administration Building, such as Rosaceae (Rose Family), Liliaceae (Lily Family) and Compositae (Aster/Daisy/Sunflower Family).
To keep our collections free of unwanted pests and weeds while protecting the environment, the Garden uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is a systematic approach to managing pests that focuses on long term prevention with minimal impact on human health, the environment, and other plants or animals. Using IPM means that the Garden minimizes the use of synthetic chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers in our landscapes.
QBG has the opportunity to share with our visitors the critical role that plants play both culturally and ecologically in our lives as well as the lives of the creatures that share our ecosystems. At the Garden, visitors will have the opportunity to experience beautiful and unique gardens and habitats that will provide diverse habitat, become a functional part of the local hydrology, and offer new opportunities for visitors to connect to plants.
Many people have never had the chance to experience healthy native habitats that once occupied New York since many have been changed by development, pollution, and the introduction of invasive species of plants and animals. Over many years, and with proper stewardship practices, the Garden’s plant communities will showcase the unique role that plants play both culturally and ecologically and provide seed sources for future rebuilding and restoration of landscapes in and around New York.
Photo Credits: Jess Brey