The Botanical Gardens were extraordinary. It was an intimate class experience with a small group of five and we started the day off at the Mertz library. At the library we were able to examine some rare texts including one which was about (praising?) Carolus Linnaeus who created the system by which plants are identified and named according to the sexual components of the plants. The book contained hand-painted plates and florid poetry—the production of the texts lead to the financial ruin of the man who published them (they were great!). There was even a book about a man-eating plant named Elizabite which was written by the same guy who made the Curious George series. The book about Elizabite was the basis for Little Shop of Horrors.

The gardens were also having a display of beautiful contemporary glasswork by an artist named Chihuly, which was an interesting contrast to the old texts we viewed. The sculptures complimented the plants so well and they were littered all over the conservatory—the area in which there were multiple artificial environments (rainforest, more rainforest, more rainforest, and desert).

In the gardens there were so many interesting plants. There were cute little Venus fly-traps and pitcher plants, a palm tree covered in spikes of all sizes, and a turkey oak. It’s amazing to look at these plants and to think of a time when New York was covered in forests. Taking the D-train uptown (despite the crowding) was such a worthwhile experience because it allowed me to feel a little closer to nature and history itself. The gardens are so beautiful and have such a rich history that it’s truly a transcendent experience.

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