I moved to New York in 1993, just in time for the biggest (at the time) snowfall on record. That winter was so relentless that I would have been willing to shovel off a large patch of snow jsut so I could see something green and walk on it. Instead, I discovered there was a wonderful place called the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where they had tow warm conservatories full of green plants.
I jumped on a train for the long trip (2.5 hour) trip, and arrived at the Gardens to see a huge expanse of more snow and bare trees. Then coming around the corner from the sundial, the three conservatories came into view. They were giant domes of glass barely held together by arches made of metal. The first building was clearly a glass enclosed event hall, but the second conservatory was labeled “Tropical”. Walking through the glass doors, suddenly I was surrounded by warmth, and standing in full sunlight, surrounded by tropical plants–some in bloom). I wandered around incredulously, saying over and over, “ooooh”, “Oh my God”. I’m sure the guards thought I’d lost my mind.
The next section was a desert, and I was stunned to realize that I recognized many plants from my home state of Kansas. I’d always heard that Kansas was actually a desert, but until that moment I’d never believed it, because as a city dweller, I’d seldom been out on the open plains. As part of high school freshman class initiation, the seniors took us out to the prairie on a field trip, to whitewash the 20 foot high cement letter “J” (for Junction City), that had been set into a very steep hillside overlooking the city. Of course, they also warned us to look out for the different varieties of rattle snake known to hide in the low grass. Of course they were just trying to scare us, but I found out later that they were right, as well…..Walking through the desert conservatory was like going home…it had all the grasses, prickly plants–including a variety of flat cactus that’s almost invisible in the grass until you step on it–and yucca plants…..
I stayed until it started to get dark outside drinking in the heat and light. I must have been a plant in another life….
Now, whenever I get a “green craving” I know where to go. I jump on a train and head to the gardens….Bonus point: they had great carrot cake with coconut chocolate chip icing, and chili dogs…..