Bryant Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Garden Of Verse

How much fun can we fit in one Friday? As if it wasn’t enough that National Garden Month culminates this weekend (and we’ve left the best for last!), tomorrow is also Arbor Day and Poem in Your Pocket Day!

While we strive on most days to see the forest for the trees, on Arbor Day we allow our gaze to celebrate Earth’s largest and longest-living creatures. They are some of the most majestic sights on the planet, and their history is entwined with ours: for food, for shelter; for transport and shade; trees have been an integral part of human civilization. On Arbor Day, we recognize our debt to them, and celebrate their diversity. Parks in New York City are home to over 150 different species. Stop by Central Park’s Arthur Ross Pinetum and see some hardcore softwoods. Too far? Just stroll to your front door and you’ll most likely see a street tree, one of thousands lining our blocks. They not only paint a pretty picture, but provide a habitat for wildlife, mitigate flooding, and generate oxygen. As a city dweller, I truly appreciate nature’s high rises, and I hope you do too. Tomorrow, show you care by planting a new one, or take part in any of our Arbor Day events throughout the City. Details are at

Poem in Your Pocket Day is part of a larger commemoration, National Poetry Appreciation Month. As an art form, poetry attempts to express the ephemeral. It sculpts with words as others might with marble, and sings a song as sweet as any symphony. It is said that there’s nothing better under a bough than a book of verse and thou, so once you’re through honoring our arbor, take a friend and a moment to read from a poem. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin and Education Chancellor Joel Klein will be doing so at Bryant Park tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., and you’re welcome to join them for an open-mike session. Feel free to clip your favorite poem and keep it in your pocket.

To get you in the spirit, here is a favorite poem of mine:

A Poison Tree

by William Blake

I was angry with my friend:

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe;

I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water'd it in fears,

Night and morning with my tears;

And I sunned it with my smiles

And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,

Till it bore an apple bright;

And my foe beheld it shine,

And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole

When the night had veil'd the pole:

In the morning glad I see

My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.

Holidays are hard, huh? If you’re tired after all that celebrating, join us in Union Square Park on Saturday to take part in the world’s most relaxing hobby: gardening! "NYC Grows" is the signature event of National Garden Month, a joint program of Parks and the National Gardening Association. From 9-3 on the south plaza, information and activities about all things gardening will be provided free of charge to experienced horticulture enthusiasts or budding green-thumbs. Urban Park Rangers, community gardeners, gardening supply merchants, and even fresh veggie recipe demonstrations are all part of the show.

Written by Gary Rozman


A great time of year to find inconspicuous evergreens is after the snow but before leaf out. Such a search in Staten Island’s Bloodroot Valley yielded a new find for the City – wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) a broadleaf evergreen shrublet, collected historically, but not seen in recent times. Working with the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, another new find for the City was made – twinflower (Linnaea borealis). In summer, this plant puts forth pink, bell-like blooms for which it is named.

Written by Bill Tai


"There are two kinds of light:

the glow that illuminates and the glare that obscures."

James Thurber

(1894 – 1961)

Directions to Bryant Park

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