Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Edible Garden

Throughout the summer and into the fall months up until its conclusion this Sunday, October 17th, The New York Botanical Garden’s exhibition, The Edible Garden, is an elaborate display of food’s journey from the dirt onto our dishes. Made up of a series of several different gardens abundant with all plants that are edible, it is an educational marvel perfect for the food fascinated and gardening aficionados alike.

Last weekend, my long awaited visit to the Edible Garden came just in time before its close. I had never been to the New York Botanical Garden before. Located in the Bronx right across the street from the Bronx Zoo; it is an unexpected wonderland of colorful flowers, vast greenery and woods.

There was much to explore within the Edible Garden, divided into four separate “Kitchen Gardens”: an urban-friendly container garden, home gardening center with celebrity chef and trial beds, Martha Stewart’s culinary herb garden, and children’s vegetable garden. Each with a specific focus, all of the gardens are designed to promote the notion that the best, nutritious, and most rewarding way to enjoy good food is to grow it yourself.

As part of the exhibition, there are ongoing cooking demonstrations that focus on locally grown and seasonal foods. Throughout its run, there have been a number of celebrity demos and book signings. I missed Italian cook and public television cooking show host Lidia Bastianich by one day! For this final upcoming weekend, they are pulling out the big guns with Mario Batali, Todd English, and Michael Psilakis all making an appearance.

I thought that The Edible Garden exhibition was fantastic. From herbs to eggplants, as a cook, you get very excited having all of these fresh and unique ingredients sprouting up all around you. And seeing as that my gardening skills are not so hot (i.e. Garden FAIL) I was very impressed by the many possibilities of planting your own foods, especially as displayed by the container garden. While teaching me more about growing foods that I am already familiar with, the gardens also introduced me to many different plants, herbs, and strange vegetables that I only wish I could have picked myself to bring home and cook. To learn more about The Edible Garden visit:

Snapping away the entire time, I tried to capture some of most interesting and unusual plants growing in the gardens to share with you:

Conservatory with container garden.
Huge pots in front of the conservatory spilled out with all different kinds of edible plants, proving that you don’t need an actual garden to garden.

Martha Stewart's Culinary Herb Garden

Vibrant Purple Basil

Curry Plant.
 This herb smells just like curry but actually tastes more like sage.

Hot Peppers in the Trial Garden

African Scarlet Eggplant
Also from the trial garden. It looks like a tomato or squash, but it's a eggplant! They are said to be a very bitter variety, even when cooked.

Toga Eggplants in the heirloom collection of plants.
Like the most familiar of heirlooms--the heirloom tomato, the seeds of all the plants in this gaden have been past down for generations.

Lettuce Leaf Basil
The largest leaf of any basil. Great for pesto!

Purple Peas
How cool are these?


Magic of Spice said...

Wow, so amazing...Yes those purple peas are fantastic...and those little eggplants too :)

ravienomnoms said...

I love the eggplant and the peas! What beautiful pictures!r

Kim - Liv Life said...

I would love to visit, but your photos brought the gardens all the way across the country to me. Nicely done!

Sommer J said...

Wow- that sounds and looks like a fun learning experience! You're not the only one with gardening fails! Nice to see that there were container exhibits there to give you hope! Gotta read that FAIL post and compare it to my own!

Love the photos of the different plants. My children would love that, however, getting them to eat it may be a different story!! Thanks for sharing your experience!

Dr.Sameena Prathap

Hi Marisa,

The garden looks so pretty...i love kitchen gardens...I had one..But after my daughter's birth,dont get time!!:)


Charmaine @ Speakeasy Kitchen said...

Splendid garden. Thanks for the tour.

Lazaro Cooks! said...

What a fantastic event. Beautiful photos. Awesome African Scarlet Eggplant and purple peas.

Adelina said...

I love seeing NY thru your eyes. I wish to visit here when I make a trip down one day. Too sad that you missed Lydia, but I am sure it was still a great adventure. I love your photos. Purple basil is the most common basil that Armenians use in their food. Every Armenian that loves to garden for sure has purple basil and mint growing in their garden.

Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said...

Oh wow these herbs are so cool! purple peas? the curry plant looks like rosemary. This makes me want to have a bigger herb garden right about now! I should check it out when I visit NY again

Evan @swEEts said...

I wish I got to go to all the awesome places you find yourself adventuring too! Being in central Texas the options aren't as good!

~Lisa~ said...

Marisa! What a spectacular garden. I would love to have visited with you. Purple Basil! Whaaat. Boy would I love Martha's herb garden. Thanks for sharing.

Healthy Mamma said...

Wow Marissa, it looks like my idea of heavan on Earth! Thanks for sharing the great pics! Don't give up on gardening!! No one gets it the first time around.

2 Plus 2 NYC Review said...

We will be visiting tomorrow for the very last day with Todd English! So excited to get a sneak preview on your page. It looks like its going to be a great exhibit. We will be blogging about it as well. Check out our NYC blog!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is FANTASTIC, I can't wate for the next post.