In the News: Seeds Straight From Your Fridge (NYT)
If we plopped this nugget in a tray of dirt, would it grow into a nutmeg tree? What I was imagining was a kitchen garden in the most literal sense: a crop borne of the pantry instead of the usual seed catalog.- Michael Tortorello, Seeds Straight From Your Fridge (NYT) Photo:T.C. Worley for The New York Times Here at the museum, we’re all about botanical experimentation, and we’ve...
Kids' Gallery: Tanya
Tanya is 5. She likes to dig for worms and she knows just how far away to stand when you mist the plants with your spray bottle (about a foot and a half away). Me Watering the Orange Jasmine and Two Plants from My Imagination. Artist: Tanya/Brooklyn Children’s Museum Three Goldfish and One Geranium. Artist: Tanya/Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Mystery Solved: It's a Magnolia!
Photo: Greta Pemberton/Brooklyn Children’s Museum This tree has been listed in our greenhouse record books as an avocado for years and years. It was able to fly under the radar until it flowered. If you know anything about avocados (which, let’s be honest, I didn’t really until a few days ago) this is not an avocado flower. Photo: Greta Pemberton/Brooklyn Children’s...
Good Question: Crocus Antifreeze
Why don’t crocuses and other early spring flowers freeze in the snow? Photo: Greta Pemberton/Brooklyn Children’s Museum Our first cheerful crocus flowers are poking through the snow drifts in the garden. In New York, we usually get most of our snow in February, and a visitor asked me yesterday if the green bulb shoots in the garden would die back if we got another snow storm. Any...
Have a Heart
Photo: Lynn Cartwright-Punnett/Brooklyn Children’s Museum It’s school vacation week, so we’re running special programs all week. Today’s was one of my favorite programs to teach: chicken heart dissections. Who says you can’t trust a six year old with a scalpel? We’re highlighting the work of great African American scientists all month. Today’s...
Welcome to the World, Baby Cockroaches!
Proud Madagascar Hissing Cockroach parents welcomed 40 new additions to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum family at 10:05 a.m. Monday morning. The 40 bundles of joy were born at home in their greenhouse tank at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights. A representative for the couple was quoted as saying, “The nymphs are doing beautifully and the entire family is over the...
Kids' Gallery: Floral Design Over Costume Design
There’s a station in the Caribbean Travel Agency exhibit where kids can trace a body outline from a stencil and design a costume for a carnival parade. In this design, which I found discarded under a table, the artist wasn’t interested in the costume, but they’ve got a real knack for floral design. I like the spare lines of it and the way the green eyes peer off to the side, as...
New Growth: First Magnolia* Flower!
Isn’t she a beaut? Photo: Greta Pemberton/Brooklyn Children’s Museum * We thought this was an avocado for years and years. Turns out it’s a magnolia! Click here for the full story.
Snow Place Like Home
Sunday’s Earthworks public program was a big hit thanks in large part to the polar bear skin we pulled out from the museum’s natural science collections. The polar bear before the unveiling. Photo: Amanda Smith/Brooklyn Children’s Museum The lesson was about winter animal adaptations — hibernation, brumation, adaptation, migration — but the polar bear quickly...
New Growth: Flower Buds on the Coffee Tree
For the first time in a few years, our Coffea arabica has axillary flower buds (clusters of buds where the leaf petioles meet the stem). If all goes well, we’ll soon have white jasmine-scented flowers, then ripe red coffee “cherries” with two beans per fruit. Photo: Greta Pemberton/Brooklyn Children’s Museum To make a real local Brooklyn cup of coffee (every...
Stick With Me
I was talking with some friends this weekend and I don’t know if it really came up in conversation or if I just forced it there, but I launched into a good five minute monologue about how cool stick bugs are. A few people snuck out while I was talking, but I’d like to think that the brave souls who stayed with me learned A LOT about stick bugs. The first great thing about stick bugs:...
A Cordate Valentine
Photo: Becky Birnholz To a botanist, a leaf that’s long and pointed at both ends is lanceolate (shaped like a lance), a leaf that has points reaching out from a single palm is palmate, a kidney-shaped leaf is reniform, and a fan-shaped leaf is flabellate. This job makes me wish I’d studied Latin in high school. These sweet Costa Rican vines are perfect examples of cordate leaves....
Bodacious Brassica oleracea
“Cabbages are extremely windy, whether you take them as meat or as medicine, as windy meat as can be eaten, unless you eat bag-pipes or bellows…” – Nicholas Culpeper, A Complete Herbal, 1653 A Great Dane and a Chihuahua are the same species, though you’d never know it to look at them. I love teaching kids about Brassica oleracea, a plant species with a pretty absurd...
In the News: Busy Bees Use Flower Petals for Nest...
[S]cientists recently discovered a rare, solitary type of bee that makes tiny nests by plastering together flower petals. Photo: Jerome Rozen/American Museum of Natural History The O. avoseta bee builds a tiny nest about a half-inch long using petals from the flower Onobrychis viciifolia. Each nest usually houses a single egg. Each nest is a multicolored, textured little cocoon — a...
A little girl comes to the museum every Thursday with her father. When she visits me in the greenhouse, we spray the plants, we water things, we start seedlings, but our favorite activity is sorting the worm bin. We have a tiered worm bin in the greenhouse for composting kitchen scraps. I put scraps in the top three layers and the worms can move downwards through small holes in each layer to...