I am about to make my first trip to the New York Botanical Garden, and I decided to do a bit of homework. Let me begin by saying that the NYBG is far more than I ever dreamed it would be. I have visited a few opulent conservatories, and I initially believed that the NYBG would be another one of those.
I didn’t realize that the oppulent conservatory is only the tip of the iceberg. The New York Botanical Garden stretches across 250 acres of land and includes the following 27 seperate, themed gardens:
The Conservatory is at the southern part of the New York Botanical Garden
The Conservatory – Year Round
The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is a stunning example of Victorian-style glasshouse artistry, and a New York City Landmark. It is home to A World of Plants, which showcases the wonders of the Garden’s living collections in lush tropical rain forests, cactus-filled deserts, curated displays of palms from around the world, aquatic and carnivorous plants, and much more. From early summer through fall, the Courtyards come alive with vibrant hardy and tropical water lilies and graceful lotus.
The Conservatory also hosts the Garden’s seasonal exhibitions, including the annual Orchid Show and Holiday Train Showand themed flower shows that reveal surprising connections between plants and culture. These immersive experiences will transport you to another time and place and dazzle you with their ingenious designs.
The Casa Installation of the Frida Kahlo Exhibit is set up in the Conservatory
There are several entrances into NYBG, but it seems to me that the area around the Conservatory is a great place to begin my focus. Along the bottom right of the Conservatory is the Lady’s Border.
Ladies Border – Year Round
Extending the length of the southern end of the Conservatory, this garden was originally designed in the 1930s by leading landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman and got its name from the Women’s Auxiliary Committee – a group of women who were instrumental in establishing many of the Garden’s most beautiful collections.
In the 21st century Shipman’s legacy has been carried on here by landscape designer Lynden B. Miller, who re-imagined the border in 2002. Her vision included tender plants not normally grown in New York, from South African bulbs and Japanese apricot to paperbush and Peruvian lilies. The sheltered, south-facing site allows these plants to thrive. These tender rarities give the border a character unlike any other corner of the Garden.
East of the Conservatory is the Seasonal Walk
Redesigned in 2014, the Seasonal Walk celebrates the ephemeral beauty of plants, which is a central tenet of the work of Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. This double border features a wide array of perennials, grasses, and bulbs selected for their interesting shape, structure, and color in every stage of growth throughout the year. The non-stop floral display is the star of the show. From April to November this garden is sure to delight and inspire!
“The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is among the most popular destinations at the Garden from May to October, when more than 650 varieties of roses are in peak bloom. The roses planted here include heirloom varieties selected for their intoxicating perfumes and modern selections chosen for their resistance to disease and pests as well as their beauty. The sights—and scents—are truly dazzling.
Designed by landscape architect Beatrix Farrand in 1916, this garden was completed in 1988 with the support of David Rockefeller and named after his wife Peggy, a horticulturalist and conservationist who loved roses. The Rose Garden has received many international awards, and is considered to be among the world’s best rose gardens.”
The Rose Garden is in the Northeast part of NYBG and the Cherry Collection is south of that and a bit to the west
Flowering Cherries – March – May | September – November
More than 200 flowering cherry trees are planted across the Garden’s historic landscape, and their cheerful pink and white blossoms follow shortly after the magnolias in spring. A large and diverse planting of cherries is found along the curving path in Cherry Valley. Many can also be found among the evergreens of the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum. A row of pink weeping cherries adorns the front of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, while others are interspersed among daffodils and crabapple trees on Daffodil Hill. The Garden’s cherry trees put on their second annual show in fall. Their leaves turn deep reds, oranges, and yellows in striking contrast to their soft shades in spring. http://www.nybg.org/gardens/plants/cherries.php
Azalea Garden – Year Round
The Mother’s Day crescendo of white, coral, pink, and purple azalea blossoms is one of the Garden’s most striking seasonal spectacles. Set amongst the dramatic rock outcrops, steep slopes and dappled shade of centuries-old native trees, this garden is beautiful throughout the seasons with plants in bloom nearly every day of the year. Alongside the azaleas and rhododendron, you’ll find a diverse assortment of flowering trees and shrubs, woodland perennials, bulbs, ferns and grasses. Collections in this garden include dogwood, mountain laurel, hydrangea, spice-bush, witch-hazel, epimedium, hosta, hellebore, snow-drop, and ferns. Azaleas and rhododendrons continue to provide color through summer, including sweet smelling native azaleas. Follow the paths, highlighted with hydrangea and hosta, to reach the sun-drenched summit meadow. http://www.nybg.org/gardens/azalea-garden/index.php
The Azalea Garden is in the middle eastern part of NYBG
The Crabapples are south and east of the Azalea Garden
Crabapples – March – May | September – November
Crabapples put on two shows each year, covering their branches with flowering in spring and fruit in fall. The 80 varieties in the Crabapple Collection, including the Donald J. Bruckmann Crabapple Collection and plantings that date back to the 1930’s, flower each year with masses of rich red, deep pink, or bright white blossoms. Here you will find mature gnarled old specimens, gracefully weeping forms, and others that proudly extend their branches to the sky. The fall fruits of these trees feed birds, squirrels, and other animals that call the Garden home.
The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is south and to the west of the Azalea Garden
The Children’s Adventure Garden – Year Round
The colored streamers at the front gate of the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden welcome visitors of all ages to a playful space. Here there are countless opportunities for children of all ages to explore the wonders of science and nature.
Climb the boulders and view the landscape below from your high perch. Dash through Beth’s Maze, then invent your own plant in Plant Part Paradise. Check out the cattails and lily pads at Habitat Hub. Fun, hands-on science activities and experiments enhance the experience in the Adventure Garden throughout every season. http://www.nybg.org/gardens/adventure-garden/index.php
Daffodils – March – May
Each year the Garden springs to life with tens of thousands of daffodils. Find new favorites among the latest hybrids on Daylily/Daffodil Walk, and don’t miss Daffodil Hill in April when it’s a sea of yellow and white, including many antique cultivars planted in the early 20th century. Explore the Rock Garden for tiny species daffodils no more than three inches high, and find drifts of glowing color nearby in Daffodil Valley, where the Murray Liasson Narcissus Collection is located.
In October 2015, NYBG will begin a dramatic expansion of the historic Narcissus plants in this collection to commemorate the Garden’s 125th anniversary.
The Daffodils are south and to the east of the Children’s Garden