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BBG Opens Native Flora Garden expansion on June 12

In a major achievement for the New York Conservation community
by BBG
June 9, 2013

In a benchmark for public gardens worldwide, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) will open its Native Flora Garden expansion on June 12, 2013. The expansion includes the country’s only representation of the unique pine barrens habitat of southern New Jersey and eastern Long Island and has been planted largely with species propagated from wild-collected seed from the New York metropolitan region. The expansion enlarges to three acres the existing Native Flora Garden, which opened as BBG’s first specialty garden in 1911.

Celebrated garden designer Darrel Morrison conceived the Native Flora Garden expansion to represent five unique regional habitats and the extraordinary plant communities that populate those areas. Native Flora Garden curator Uli Lorimer has worked closely with the Greenbelt Native Plant Center and BBG’s Science department to select trees and shrubs, grasses, forbs, aquatic plants, lichens, and mosses to populate Morrison’s design. The garden will be home to over 25 species of special conservation concern, including pixie-moss (Pyxidanthera barbulata), sandmyrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium), and the delicate swamp pink (Helonias bullata), primarily in the pine barrens and serpentine areas.

Plants have been wild collected from local and/or habitat-appropriate sources whenever possible. Horticulturists and botanists from BBG, the Greenbelt Native Plant Center, and other partner institutions collected only in permitted areas and used sustainable methods to conserve existing plant populations and their surrounding communities.

“There is much more to the Native Flora Garden expansion than the wonderful textures and colors that first meet the eye,” said Scot Medbury, president of BBG. In opening this new garden space, we are setting into motion the growth of a landscape with tremendous long-term conservation value—both as an experiment in habitat re-creation and as an educational experience that will inspire millions of visitors over the years to come to care for the wild places near their homes.” The original Native Flora Garden was the first of its kind, reflecting the Garden’s historic commitment to conserving the region’s native plants.

For over three decades, designer Darrel Morrison has been celebrated for designing garden spaces for public gardens, municipalities, and private clients across the nation, all with a distinctive aesthetic derived from nature’s organic patterns and forms. Past projects include extensive plantings at Storm King Art Center, the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

SiteWorks Landscape Architecture served as landscape architect and provided overall construction administration on the project. Annette Wilkus, principal of SiteWorks, has been lauded for leading the firm’s work on other notable city projects, including the High Line, Governors Island, and Teardrop Park. On BBG’s expansion, their scope of work included the unique tasks of developing 7 distinct soils to support the varied plant communities, and sourcing and using Eastern white cedar for the boardwalk, the garden’s central architectural feature.

The Native Flora Garden expansion is part of BBG’s Campaign for the Next Century, which supports a suite of new and enhanced gardens, facilities, and programs created in response to increased attendance at the Garden, ongoing revitalization in Brooklyn, and growing interest in urban horticulture and sustainability. An ambitious series of renovations at the southern end of BBG will soon be under way, including a new Water Garden, a water conservation project, and a new children’s Discovery Garden designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, as well as an expanded and redesigned public entrance at Flatbush Avenue by Architecture Research Office.

BBG is offering an exciting new slate of programming to compliment the opening of the Native Flora Garden expansion (see below for full list).

For more information on the Native Flora Garden expansion, please call 718-623-7241 or email


Edible Native Plants

Tuesday, June 11 | 6–8 p.m.

Hosted by GreenBridge, this workshop is designed for New Yorkers who want to add some local flavor to their dinner table and support local biodiversity. Participants can feast their eyes—and stomach—on the abundance of wild roots, fruits, nuts, and leafy greens native to our region and learn how to grow tasty locals in their own gardens.

Summer Fauna Walks at BBG

Sunday, June 16 | 10:30–11:30 a.m.:

Critters of the Native Flora Garden

Saturday, July 13 | 8–9:30 p.m.: Bats

Sunday, August 11 | 10:30–11:30 a.m.: Dragonflies

Join naturalist Brad Klein at BBG for a family-friendly exploration for birds, mammals, and insects that may call the garden home.

“Hot at BBG” Summer Tours

June 19–August 31 | Every Wednesday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m.

These guided tours of seasonal highlights feature the Native Flora Garden expansion and Sandy Remix, BBG’s new tree house installation.

Wild Side Discovery Walkabout for Tweens

Wednesdays, June 26, July 17 | 5 p.m.

Saturdays, July 13, July 20 | 11 a.m.

Leave the grown-ups behind and go on a plant adventure through the Native Flora Garden and its brand-new bog and meadow. Uncover the creepy, carnivorous plants that inhabit our native bogs, and then venture into the forest to discover the amazing smells and secrets of the plants that Native Americans and pioneers depended on to survive. Free with Garden admission; must preregister online. Open to kids 9 to 12 years old only.

Curator-Led Tour of the Native Flora Garden

August 13 | 1–2 p.m.

Explore the New York metropolitan region’s diverse native plant communities and learn about the newly created expansion with curator Uli Lorimer.

For more information on the Native Flora Garden expansion, please call 718-623-7241 or email

General Information

Founded in 1910, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is an independent nonprofit institution committed to education, research, and the display of horticulture. BBG serves communities in New York City and internationally through its world-class gardens, extensive research collections, and numerous educational and community programs. Situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, the Garden is home to over 12,000 kinds of plants and hosts more than 725,000 visitors annually.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Garden is closed on Mondays except public holidays. General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens (65 and older) and students with ID (with special pricing during Sakura Matsuri). Children under 12, all school groups, and Garden members are admitted free at all times. Visitor entrances are at Flatbush Avenue, 990 Washington Avenue, and Eastern Parkway. For directions, please visit

Learn what’s happening at Brooklyn Botanic Garden at, read the Garden’s blog at, and see photos of current botanical highlights at

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row