Treasures of New York – The New York Botanical Garden

Air date: 06/27/2013

The New York Botanical Garden Showcased in Next Edition of Treasures of New York, Premiering on June 25 on WLIW21 and June 27 on THIRTEEN

Hosted by Sigourney Weaver, the film explores the Botanical Garden’s history and stunning plant collections


For over 120 years, The New York Botanical Garden has served as a natural haven for New York City dwellers and out-of-town visitors alike. With a vast collection of over one million plants growing throughout its 250 acres, this garden is one of the great cultural institutions of New York City as well as a National Historic Landmark. But The New York Botanical Garden is much more than just a beautiful place; its plant science and research programs stretch across the globe and its educational programs are teaching the next generation important lessons about the natural world.

WNET takes viewers behind the scenes of this historic botanical garden in the next edition of Treasures of New York, airing Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 10:30 p.m. on WLIW21 and Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 10:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN; with encore presentations on Thursday, June 27 at 4 a.m. and July 2 at 11:30 p.m. on WLIW21; and Saturday, June 29 at 1 p.m. and at 5:30 a.m. on THIRTEEN.

Hosted by Sigourney Weaver, Treasures of New York: The New York Botanical Garden takes viewers on in-depth tours of some of its 50 picturesque gardens and plant collections; the 50-acre native Thain Family Forest; and the beautiful Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. This Beaux-Arts crystal palace houses a breathtaking collection of exotic tropical and desert plants, and also plays host to the Garden’s seasonal exhibitions, including the beloved Holiday Train Show and The Orchid Show.

Among the gardens showcased in the program are the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden featuring more than 680 varieties of award-winning roses; the Rock Garden, one of the oldest gardens at The New York Botanical Garden dating back to the late 1930s; the 11-acre Azalea Garden highlighting the global diversity of azaleas and their close relatives  rhododendrons; and the most recent addition, the Native Plant Garden, a mosaic of nearly 100,000 native trees, wildflowers, ferns, and grasses designed to flourish in every season.

Outside of the average visiting experience, this program takes viewers inside the Garden’s renowned science program, where its scientists are using today’s modern technology to unlock the secrets of the plant kingdom, in fields like molecular systematics and genomics. The film also offers a rare look inside a principal component of the Garden’s research program: the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, the largest herbarium in the Western Hemisphere with 7.3 million dried plant specimens in its collection. The Steere Herbarium is used as a reference for botanists worldwide to identify and name newly discovered plants. To this day, botanists in the field are still sending 30 to 50 thousand new plant specimens a year to the Herbarium for conservation, making it a continued leader in the world of plant science.

Founded in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden was created in large part through the efforts of botanists Nathaniel Lord Britton, his wife Elizabeth Gertrude Knight Britton, and a Board that included many of New York’s industrial titans including Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, all of whom shared the desire to build a cultural institution in New York City devoted to the public display and study of the world’s plants. This 250-acre site in the Bronx was chosen primarily for its 50-acre old growth forest, which is the largest remaining tract of original forest that once covered most of New York City. Surrounding the Forest, a striking landscape of fertile fields and orchards provided a natural palette for landscape designers, who transformed the grounds with individual gardens and plant collections over the span of the Garden’s history.

Two buildings were commissioned for the Botanical Garden. The first was a neo-Renaissance Museum building (today known as the Library) designed by Robert Gibson and completed in 1901. Today it houses the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the world’s most comprehensive botanical library with over a million accessioned items. The second structure was the grand Conservatory designed by the glasshouse architectural firm Lord & Burnham. Completed in 1901, it is the best example in the United States of the crystal palace glass-and-steel school of design. Both buildings have been named New York City Landmarks and are featured prominently in this film.

Treasures of New York: The New York Botanical Garden includes interviews with members of the Garden’s leadership, curators, scientists, and staff about its myriad of offerings as well as the countless ways in which the institution’s presence in New York City has enhanced urban life, culture, and the worldwide study and preservation of the environment.

After broadcast, the film will be available to national audiences at The website offers past episodes and conversations with visionaries behind New York’s greatest institutions.

Treasures of New York: The New York Botanical Garden is a production of WLIW21, in association with WNET, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations and operator of NJTV.

Ally Gimbel is producer of the Treasures of New York: The New York Botanical Garden program. Diane Masciale is executive producer of the Treasures of New York series and local programming. Executive-in-Charge of Production is John Servidio.

Treasures of New York explores New York’s cultural heritage by spotlighting its points of interest, distinguished establishments and notable figures.  Treasures of New York: The New York Botanical Garden is funded by Lewis B. and Louise Hirschfeld Cullman and Rosalind P. Walter.




About WNET
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.



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