Soprano Jessye Norman is diversifying: She has been elected to the board of managers of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, thanks to a staghorn fern.

Several years ago, Norman bought the exotic-looking fern at the garden's annual plant auction."I brought it home, looked after it well, but when I went on a long tour, my assistant didn't know what it was and thought it was dead, so she threw it out," she said. "I was so sick about losing that plant, I never bought another one."

But she did continue forging bonds with the garden, serving on various committees.

It's no stretch from opera to gardens, she said.

"I sing so many songs that have to do with trees, flowers, sunlight and moonlight, and I enjoy being outside," she said. "So much of my professional life is spent inside."