Maybe you think it’s spring — I don’t, I just looked out through ice-glazed windows at half a foot of new snow — and you’re thinking about the garden. Here’s an idea: you don’t need to take a trip to the Galapagos to study evolution, you can do it right in your backyard. The New York Botanical Garden is opening a new exhibit, called Darwin’s Garden.
In all, the tour is 33 stops, spread throughout about half of the garden’s 250 acres. Visitors who enter the exhibition through the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory will encounter a replica of a room in Darwin’s house, designed so they can look through the window, as he did, to a profusion of plants and bright flowers: hollyhocks, flax and of course primroses, what Todd Forrest, the garden’s vice president for horticulture, calls “a typical British garden.” On a table stands a tray holding quills, brushes, sealing wax and tweezers, the kinds of simple tools Darwin used to conduct his world-shaking research.
Brilliant! Evolution is not something that requires exotic, out of the way locales and weird, obscure organisms to study — it’s everywhere.