It might be hard to imagine anything growing in this environment….
Surely we can do better than this (above)?
This is one of the many city parks in the middle of Manhattan that is classically planted and impeccably maintained.
And the fountain! Gorgeous.
But this isn’t our destination. Let me take you to the northern tip of Central Park, to an entrance just off 5th Avenue at 106th Street. This is where you will find the Conservatory Garden.
You’ll see this impressive lawn when you enter the enormous iron gates just off busy 5th Avenue. Turn left, walk along the tightly clipped hedge toward the fountain and as you look left, you will see …
…this incredible allee of crabapple trees, with dancing branches, underplanted with ivy that grows up their trunks. Keep walking past and you’ll enter the garden where beds are filled with colour.
Am I right or what? Is this garden not gorgeous?
This fountain sculpture was made in the 1930s as a tribute to Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden.
The design of this garden was the work of Lynden Miller and was completed in 1987, a dedicated five year process. Miller was a painter and part-time gardener at the time but through this work, as well as other public garden spaces within and outside of the city, found her real calling.
The Central Park Conservancy employs 5 gardeners to oversee the grounds and gardens, with the additional help of 25 volunteers. About 100,000 annuals and perennials are planted each year!
Here’s a walk around, with a long, lingering look at the bird action on the fountain!
From centralpark101 (Lonnie, from the Bronx)
And here is Lynden Miller herself talking about her horticultural creations to the College of the Atlantic (especially interesting are her ‘before’ pictures in Central Park!):
If you go, visit in the mid to late summer to see the annuals and tender perennials at their peak. If you’re interested in the question of public parks, their benefits and how they should be approached, read Miller’s book which you can find here.