Brooklyn Botanic Garden Autumn 2017 Programming

Fall Festivals, Leaf Peeping, Classes for Kids and Adults, and More
by BBG
September 28, 2017

Delight in fall foliage, autumn festivals, classes for children and adults, and more at Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) this season. Through September, colorful flowers in the Annual Border, Shakespeare Garden, and Fragrance Garden, giant hibiscuses in the Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden, and native wildflowers in the Native Flora Garden and other areas continue to display their blooms. As the weather cools in October and November, brilliant fall foliage returns to BBG. New Yorkers don’t need to travel far to witness the dramatic show of colorful leaves throughout the Garden.

Chile Pepper Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary on Sunday, October 1, with a day of scorching global bands, fiery food tastings of hundreds of unique chile-flavored foods, spice market and cookbook pop-up shops, and more, all against the beautiful backdrop of Brooklyn Botanic Garden in early autumn. And on Saturday, October 28, Ghouls & Gourds, BBG’s zany Halloween festival, returns with live music, stilt walkers, harvest-inspired workshops, and a colorful costume parade for all.

The Garden offers ongoing tours, Continuing Education workshops, and special after-hours events for new and seasoned gardeners, food and cocktail connoisseurs, and everyone interested in health and wellness from plant-based sources. This October, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, along with Rockwell Group and Patina Restaurant Group, will host architectural events in the Garden’s historic buildings as part of Archtober and Open House New York. Children and their families can also drop in for free programs in the Discovery Garden all season long.


Chile Pepper Festival: 25th Anniversary!

Sunday, October 1 | 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Admission: adults $25; seniors and children 12+ with valid ID $20; kids under 12 and BBG members free.

Purchase tickets at

For 25 years, New Yorkers have celebrated the change in seasons in spicy fashion at BBG’s Chile Pepper Festival, where visitors can enjoy outdoor performances by world music acts from around the globe alongside a marketplace to sample and buy an array of delicacies featuring chile peppers. This year’s festival welcomes five world-class musical acts—Battle of Santiago, Lost Bayou Ramblers. Ladama, Red Baraat, and Mariachi Tapatio de Alvaro Paulino. MCs Robbins & Ringold light up the stage with fire breathing, sword swallowing, and other fiery feats. In the marketplace on Cherry Esplanade, visitors can sample and buy one-of-a-kind products, including hot sauces, spicy chocolates, and unusual-yet-delicious chile combinations in ice cream, jams, and pickles from independent food purveyors. Brooklyn’s Sahadi Market, a Middle Eastern food store founded in 1895 and winner of the 2017 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics award, returns with Sahadi's Souk, a pop-up market offering spices for sale and talk on cooking. Community Bookstore’s pop-up shop features a selection of spicy food cookbooks and signings with local authors Maricel E. Presilla and Chitra Agrawal. During Chile Chat, Brooklyn gardener Gregory Seaton talks about cultivating and cooking with peppers. Children can check out Hot Chiles for Cool Kids, where kids pot up a pepper plant to take home. Take your photo with murals by local street artists inspired by chile peppers from around the world. During the festival, Yellow Magnolia Café will feature specials honoring the chile in all its spicy glory, including three-bean grass-fed beef chili, jumbo hot dogs with chili, and addictive habanero-honey chicken wings with cool buttermilk ranch dip.

Ghouls & Gourds: Halloween Festival at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Saturday, October 28 | Noon–5:30 p.m.

Admission: Kids under 12 and BBG members free; adults $20; seniors and children 12+ with valid ID $15

Purchase tickets at

Visitors of all ages are invited to enjoy Ghouls & Gourds, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s zany and colorful festival celebrating Halloween and the harvest season. Musical performances by the Persuasions, Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys, Brooklyn United Marching Band, Rana Santacruz, Jenny Hill and Liquid Horn, DJ Ecotone, and Street Mule get visitors grooving. Festival goers can delight in the magical sights of Mortal Beasts & Deities’ troupe of stilt dancers, Mettawee River Theatre Company’s Victorian creatures, Phydeaux’s Flying Flea Circus of Fate, and KENYC’s dashing display of kendama—a Japanese cup-and-ball toy. Kids of all ages can get in the spirit with insects and critters both real and imaginary—meet an entomologist and her amazing bugs at Dr. Rutledge’s Insectorium and Petting Zoo, check out composting demonstrations with adorably icky worms, make new friends while crafting a giant spider web, and, just for toddlers, cuddle up with farm friends in the Pretend Petting Zoo. Other activities include Vegetable Midway with Brussels Sprout Bowling, Rutabaga Skee-Ball, and more! Author Avenue features readings and book signings by local children’s book authors and illustrators and a pop-up book shop from Community Bookstore. At the end of the day, everyone can join in Brooklyn’s wackiest costume parade and a drum circle led by Brazilian percussion band Maracatu NY.


Seasonal Highlights Tours Through October 31 | Tuesday–Sunday | 1–2 p.m. November 1–29 | Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday | 1–2 p.m.

Discover BBG’s colorful fall foliage, fruits, and flowers in this free Garden-wide guided walk.

Free with Garden admission. No registration necessary. Meet at Magnolia Plaza by the building steps. Learn more.

Archtober 2017

Tuesday, October 10 | 10–11 a.m. Enter at 1000 Washington Avenue Space is limited; register in advance at

As part of Archtober 2017, join Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Gonzalo Bustamante, a studio leader at Rockwell Group, for a special tour of the Garden’s iconic Palm House, a 1917 glass-walled pavilion originally designed by the firm of McKim, Mead & White. Rockwell Group, which this year restored and reimagined the building’s interior, drew from the history of the century-old Garden’s history to update the space in a modern and fresh way. It also designed the new Yellow Magnolia Café. Visitors will also get a glimpse of the rotunda and library of the Administration building, another McKim, Mead & White building and a designated landmark.

Open House New York 2017 Saturday, October 14 | 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Enter at 1000 Washington Avenue More information at

Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Laboratory Building and Conservatory (now called the Administration Building and Palm House respectively) were dedicated in 1917. The Tuscan Revival-style Administration building was designed by the firm of McKim, Mead & White and is now a designated landmark. The Palm House, now a wedding and event space, underwent interior renovations by Rockwell Group in 2017 with a fresh design concept that draws from the history of the century-old botanic garden and the idea of framing nature in the design. During Open House New York, visitors will be able to see the elegant rotunda and library on the second floor of the Administrative Building and access the newly renovated Palm House.


Harvest Dinner

Wednesday, October 4 | 6–10 p.m.

Please join us for an intimate benefit dinner with Chef Morgan Jarrett featuring an exquisite selection of locally sourced ingredients, including delectable produce from BBG’s own gardens. This special evening raises funds for BBG’s Children’s Garden programming. For over 100 years, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has helped children learn how to grow vegetables and love eating them too! More than a thousand kids grow and harvest food in the Children’s Garden each year, many through scholarships that allow all children to participate.

This evening is created in partnership with Patina Restaurant Group. Space is limited. Purchase tickets at

Japanese Tea Ceremony and Garden Tour

Instructor: Keiko Kitazawa Koch

Wednesday, October 11 or Thursday,

October 19 | 4:30–6:00 p.m.

Discover the culture and traditions of an authentic Japanese tea ceremony straight out of Kyoto’s Zen gardens. On a specially crafted tea stage in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, enjoy seasonal sweets and delicious matcha tea as you experience the tranquility of this ancient practice. Students are also treated to a guided tour of the garden at its peak of fall beauty. This program, and the idoshiki chashitsu, or roaming teahouse, is supported by the Globus family. Members $45; non-members $48


Adult courses at Brooklyn Botanic Garden foster lifelong learning and creativity. BBG’s Certificate in Horticulture is offered through a rigorous program of courses taught by BBG staff and other experts. Shorter classes and workshops in gardening, art, cookery, wellness, and more offer a chance to engage your passions or discover something new. For the full schedule for fall, visit

Highlights include the following classes and workshops:

Quick Pickles

Sunday, October 15 | 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

In this course we cover the basics behind quick pickling! We’ll talk history and get you started in all things pickles, from dill pickles to Asian pickles to miso-pickled eggs! Quick, easy, healthy, yummy—join us in looking at these Old World pPreservation techniques! Members $32; nonmembers $36; materials charge $20. Learn more and register.

Botanicals in Resin

Tuesday, October 17 and Tuesday,

October 24 | 6–9 p.m.

Learn the art of making colorful glasslike ornaments with resin using dried flowers, leaves, seeds, ground spices, fabrics, paper, and other small objects. The class covers basic techniques of jewelry making and design; each student creates distinctive resin pendant beads for a necklace. Members $90; nonmembers $99; materials charge $15. Learn more and register.

DIY Seed Saving

Sunday, October 22 | 2–4 p.m.

Seed saving is more than an age-old tradition—it’s also a fun way to experience the Garden in autumn, preserve seed for planting next season, and support genetic diversity. In this hands-on workshop, learn to collect and store vegetable and flower seeds—a valuable part of the gardener’s tool kit. Members $37; nonmembers $40; materials charge $5. Learn more and register.

Flower Arranging for the Senses

Sunday, October 22 or Sunday, November 12 | 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Through the practice of guided meditation, learn flower preparation, design, and aftercare with a heightened awareness and sense of calm. You’ll leave feeling more relaxed and with a stunning arrangement to take home. Members $91; nonmembers $95 (Fee includes $40 materials charge.) Learn more and register.

Supporting Your Health with Wild Root Medicine

Wednesday, November 1 | 6–7:30 p.m.

The harvest of autumn can connect us deeply to the healing energies of the earth. Learn how to use the sweet nourishment from both edible and medicinal roots for nutrient-dense remedies that can balance body, mind, and spirit. Members $24; nonmembers $27; materials charge $9. Learn more and register.

Composting with Lovely Red Worms

Wednesday, November 1 | 6–8 p.m.

Compost your food scraps and harvest nutrient-rich vermicompost all year long by harnessing the power of worms. In this workshop we will learn how to make and maintain an indoor vermicomposting system. For information about buying worms at this workshop, email at least two weeks in advance. Free, but preregistration is required. Learn more and register.

Fall Fermentation

Saturday, November 4 | 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Fermentation is one of the oldest food processing methods still used today. Beer, miso, sourdough, kefir, kimchi, and many other delicious foods we love are the product of fermentation. In this course we cover the basic science behind some of our favorite ferments and why such foods are good for you. Get ready to find new ways to use those, beets, pumpkins, apples, and more! Members $32; nonmembers $36; materials charge $15. Learn more and register.

Natural Perfume Blending

Saturday, November 4 | 1–4:30 p.m.

Smell is the most neglected of our senses, yet it has the power to instantly penetrate our consciousness, evoking memories and emotion. Examine the art of natural perfumery. Gain a basic understanding of the sense of smell, the history of perfume, the advent of synthetic ingredients, and the return to naturals. Explore perfume ingredients and formulation, and leave with two bottles of your own bespoke perfume. Bring a notebook; all other materials will be provided. Members $56; nonmembers $62; materials charge $60. Learn more and register.


Kids’ Discovery Stations

Tuesday–Friday | 10:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Through November 3

This is a drop-in program for schools and families with children of all ages. Free with Garden admission. Explore plants and use real science tools alongside Discovery docents at our hands-on activity stations throughout the Discovery Garden. All programs are outdoors and canceled in inclement weather. Check for updates.

Family Discovery Weekends

Sundays | 1–3 p.m.

Through October 29 (no programs October 8)

This is a drop-in program for families with children of all ages. Free with Garden admission. Experiment, learn, and play together in the Discovery Garden. Hands-on stations throughout the garden’s meadow, woodland, and marsh habitats and in the vegetable garden encourage families to explore nature together. Create a nature-based craft, artwork, or invention with Discovery Garden docents. All programs are outdoors and canceled in inclement weather. Check for updates.

First Discoveries for Toddlers

Tuesdays | 9:30–11:30 a.m.

Through October 31

Discovery Garden Pavilion and Hamm Children’s Learning Courtyard This is a drop-in program for families with children of all ages. Free with Garden admission. Calling all explorers 2 to 4 years old (and their caregivers)! Plant a seed, touch a wriggly worm, nestle into the garden to read a story, or create a unique nature craft at special Discovery Garden activity stations designed for toddlers. Activities rotate seasonally. All programs are outdoors and canceled in inclement weather. Check for updates.

Herbs for Kids and the Adults Who Love Them

Tuesday, November 14 | 6–7:30 p.m.

Elderberry honey is a delight if your child has a sore throat; lemon balm popsicles will help sooth a fever; and slippery elm bark is a sore tummy’s best friend. Learn ways to comfort your kids (and yourself) as the weather changes. Discover how to make plants our herbal allies for good health and happiness. Members $24; nonmembers $27; materials charge $9. Learn more and register.


The menu at Yellow Magnolia Café shifts with the season to an autumnal celebration of everything growing in the Garden. Chef Rob Newton and Chef de cuisine Morgan Jarrett embrace the crisp weather with a cornucopia of dishes to ease the chill. Dishes include blistered beans and shishito peppers with garlic aioli and piment espelette, perfect for sharing; silky daikon noodles with cashew cream, fermented black beans, and shiso; and a savory green chile and hominy stew with chayote, zucchini, and cabbage.

There’s no better time to visit BBG than for weekend brunch, and new autumn specials on the menu include braised rainbow chard and egg with stewed chickpeas, preserved lemon, and grilled bread; steak and egg bibimbap with rice, kimchi, garlic scapes, and gochujang; and brûlée challah French toast with blueberries, whipped cream, and Vermont maple syrup. Learn more.

About Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Founded in 1910, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is an urban botanic garden that connects people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the environment. Situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, the Garden is home to over 18,000 kinds of plants and hosts more than 900,000 visitors annually.

Learn what’s happening at Brooklyn Botanic Garden at, read the Garden’s blog at, and find out what’s in bloom at Visitor entrances are at 990 Washington Avenue, 150 Eastern Parkway, and 455 Flatbush Avenue. For hours, directions, and admission information, please visit Follow BBG on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and join the conversation using the hashtag #brooklynbotanic.

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