A Must-Stop Spot For Central Park Lovers: The Conservatory Garden
Garden Lovers in New York would be hard-pressed to find a space with as much history as The Conservatory Garden— the only formal garden in Central Park. This six-acre formal garden is divided into three smaller gardens, each with a distinct style– Italian, French, and English– with a main entrance through the Vanderbilt Gate on Fifth Avenue, between 104th and 105th Streets. The iron gate at cues the garden’s entrance is a piece of New York history unto itself– made in Paris in 1894, it originally stood before the Vanderbilt mansion at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street– and today, it marks the entrance to one of New York’s most unique and historic gardens.
According to the garden’s official website, “The Italianate center garden is composed of a large lawn surrounded by yew hedges and is bordered by two exquisite allées of spring-blooming pink and white crabapple trees. A 12-foot high jet fountain plays on the western end of the lawn, backed by tiered hedges and stairs that lead up to a wisteria pergola. On the walkway under the pergola are medallions inscribed with the names of the original 13 states.
The northern, French-style garden showcases parterres of germander and spectacular seasonal displays of spring tulips, and Korean chrysanthemums in autumn, all within an ellipse of Japanese holly. In the center is the charming Three Dancing Maidens fountain by German sculptor, Walter Schott.
To the south is the very intimate English-style garden, home to five mixed borders of trees, shrubs, and perennial plants, as well as five seasonal beds featuring spring bulbs that are followed by annual flower displays. A slope of woodland plants lines the western edge of this garden. At the center is sculptor Bessie Potter Vonnoh’s lovely Frances Hodgeson Burnett Memorial Fountain, a tribute to the author of the children’s book, The Secret Garden. The children — a girl and a boy, said to depict Mary and Dickon, the main characters from the classic — stand at one end of a small water lily pool.
The Conservatory Garden is an officially designated Quiet Zone that offers a calm and colorful setting for a leisurely stroll, and intimate wedding, or an escape with a good book.”