Garden Diary - November 2015

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Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden
Monday, 16 November 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year. All sorts of celebrations and among my most favorites is the holiday train show at the New York Botanical Garden. Suitable for children and grownups, grandparents and the whole family. It's mystical and magical and wonderful. Come on. Follow me and see what I mean.

Here's the Enid Haupt Conservatory. Wonderful glasshouse filled with plants.

But at this time of year it is a fairyland too. Now through the looking glass . . . .

image courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden
photo by Ben Hider

Through the main entrance, up the steps, and before we even enter the conservatory here's an intimation of the magic that's awaiting you. Macy's department store, cleverly reduced in size and built from bits and pieces of plants: seeds and pods and cones, twigs and bark and more. A little train goes around and around. An extravagant embellishment like a huge snow-covered tree towers over a landscape of glittering ornaments and snowflake, pine cones and evergreens. Come on, let's open the doors and

enter a new-this-year additional display space that let's us walk around some buildings

image courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden
photo by Ben Hider

for a 360 degree view. There's the conservatory you saw earlier, bridges, the original Pennsylvania Station with trains huffing and chuffing and passing underneath it. And there is a brief video of the making of the train show - the creative people at Applied Imagination who see potential in plant debris, and the engineers who keep the trains running on nearly a half-mile of track.

image courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden
photo by Ivo Vermeulen

The trains are G scale, larger than the HO gauge you might run around a Christmas tree.

The buildings are fantastic. The closer you look, the more detail there is to see.
Such as the New York Public Library, which opened in 1911.

The two library lions are named Patience, who guards the south side of the library's steps
(here made of shelf fungus) and Fortitude, on the north.

And all the embellishments of the building's facade.

These brownstone houses are where fairies go after dancing in the moonlight at the bottom of the garden. They're made with bits and pieces of plants - acorn caps,scales from pine cones, seeds, twigs, shelf fungus, and other things you and I would probably toss in the compost heap.

image courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden
photo by Ben Hider

Or perhaps they take a train to go shopping. Maybe at Macy's . . . .

The same exhaustive level of detail is found here, also.

And on the turret of Belvedere Castle, from Central Park. All the buildings, you see, are based on real buildings. Well, some may have been torn down but photographs and blueprints serve to guide the Applied Imagination designers and builders.

Bridges, high enough to walk beneath, with trains and trolleys overhead.

Iconic structures such as the Statue of Liberty.

When you've worked up an appetite there are several options from the Hudson Grill, a full service restaurant, and the Pine Tree Cafe. Conveniently near the conservatory, just across the water lily plaza, there's the family-friendly Gingerbread Cafe. There's a taco truck with a serving window through to the cafe (and a really good fish taco.) A number of hamburger options from the other gourmet food truck (Paul had his with guacamole, no doubt based on the Frida Kahlo exhibit earlier this summer.) Sandwiches, soups, salads are also available.

And gingerbread of course leads to visions of Sugarplums,
sweets and treats: cupcakes and cookies and donuts and more.

It's a most wonderful time of the year. Make a visit and see for yourself
the magic of the holiday train show at the New York Botanical Garden.

The New York Botanical Garden is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. The Holiday Train Show at opens to the public on Saturday, 21 November 2015 and runs through Monday, 18 January 2016. There are some extended hours - until 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and 26 December to 1 January. Please note that The Garden is closed all day on Thanksgiving, 26 November, and Christmas Day, 25 December. Also, it will close at 3:00 p.m. on 11 December and on Christmas Eve, 24 December.

All-Garden Pass tickets start at $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 2 - 12, and differ during certain peak times and weekends. It is strongly recommended that you purchase advance times tickets to ensure you can visit the show at your chosen time. Weekday, weekend, and holiday tickets are available here

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