Last month I made a visit to our local Botanical Garden here in New York. It is truly an oasis in the middle of the city and close to my home.
I’d like to share a bit of the magic that goes on around here with you today.
A warning, this also happens to be a long photo essay, but I believe if you stick with me till the end it will be worth your time. And you will see why I consider it to be the greatest botanical garden in the world.
I should start by explaining the location of this most beautiful of gardens. It is in the Bronx, the northern of the five NYC boroughs. It is surrounded by apartment buildings, congestion, highways and noise. This is why I think of it as an oasis.
When we first walked in I was greeted by this unusual lamp-sculpture.
The NYBG was founded back in 1891 and is a National Historic Landmark.
The NYBG is at 250 acres, the largest garden in any city in the United States, with a huge variety of natural habitats to see. There are many winding roads and lots of trees.
But my favorite part is the flowers which grow all over the gardens. And there are many gardens with an abundance of flowers to see.
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At the start of our trip we encounter this long “U shaped road with towering trees, named “the Tulip Tree Allee”.
It leads us to this grand building and a water fountain named “The Fountain of Life” and created by Charles E. Tefft.
The Mertz Library, which is the most important horticultural and botanical library in the world, also houses an Art Gallery and a research center.
Past the buildings, we find picturesque scenes such as this; it even comes with its own rustic fence.
The Twin lakes are just beyond the library.
Visitors can get around the gardens by walking, which is what we did, or by taking a tram that travels all along the roads and drops you off at various gardens. The tram also has a tour guide.
Yes, there are many types of gardens here. A rock Garden, a Native Plant garden, an azalea garden and so much more. It is well worth your while to come back at different times of the year and admire the changing beauty.
Past the Magnolia trees, which were not in bloom at the time of our visit, we reach the Howell Family Garden which provides hands-on gardening experience for those who want to learn.
It is also child friendly. encouraging the young ones to get their hands dirty. I remember this green caterpillar from the days when I used to bring my boys here over 25 years ago.
Let’s take a seat and look over to the lilac collection. And beyond that is the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. I’ll be showing you photos from this extraordinary garden next time.
The NYBG is much more than just gardens. It is a major educational center where people come to learn at the Continuing Education Center.
Walking along the Cherry Collection, we took a path which led us down to the river.
The waterfall, an oasis within the oasis.
We walked up the path that led us to a bridge.
On the bridge overlooking the Bronx River which runs the length of the NYBG. It is 24 miles in length and is the only fresh water river in New York City.
Past the river is the Thain Family Forest. A side note here, when I first came to the NYBG many years ago I was left speechless by the scope of this forest located in the middle of the oasis. It is “the largest remaining tract of original forest that once covered New York City.” You can read more about this magnificent forest here.
Next to the Native Plant Garden is a cascading waterfall.
From a distance we see the Haupt Conservatory. It is what I consider to be the Jewel of the gardens. I was going to talk about it here, but after a while I had added so many photos it became too much. I’ll be sharing these with you soon. After all this special place deserves a photo essay of its own.
There is also a conifer forest but it was such a long walk that we gave up and decided we’d come back in the fall again when the fall foliage is at its best!
And to end this long photo essay, we go to where we started, with a light.
By looking at the photos it may not necessarily be very impressive but when you consider where this oasis is located, well then it puts things in perspective. I have come here many times to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and have found peace and happiness.
This is why it is the greatest botanical garden in the world, just a stones throw from the maddening city streets.
Next time I will share the beauty of the rose garden.
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