Located in The Bronx neighborhood of New York City inside Bronx Park, the New York Botanical Garden is the largest botanical garden in the United States, featuring more than 50 gardens containing over one million plants.
The garden's inspiration dates back to the late 19th century, when Columbia University botanist Nathaniel Lord Britton visited the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England. Upon his return, he and his wife established a campaign to equip New York with a similar facility, which was chartered by the State of New York in 1891. Britton chose the city-owned property at Bronx Park for the site of the gardens in 1895 and worked with Central Park designer Calvert Vaux to create a schematic design. Frederick Law Olmsted also had a hand in the garden's roadway design.
Beginning in the 1990s with the restoration of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, an ongoing major renovation program revitalized the garden. The program restored original pathways and structures, and added several new gardens, including the planting of 150,000 daffodils as part of a Million Daffodils project.
Gardens and Attractions
Today, the garden is a National Historic Landmark, hosting more than a million annual visitors and serving as an urban oasis within the Bronx neighborhood. It encompasses 250 acres of Bronx Park, serving as an advocate for plant life, a horticultural research facility, and an educational center.
Several historic buildings located throughout the facility are historic landmarks of their own, including the Goldman Stone Mill, built around 1840. The iconic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is the park's most recognizable site, designed in 1902 by the architectural firm Lord and Burnham. It hosts the World of Plants exhibit, containing rainforest, desert, palm, aquatic, and carnivorous plant exhibits. The 1901 LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building, along with a Fountain of Life and Tulip Tree Allée, comprise the facility's neo-Renaissance beaux arts complex.
The park's arboretum collections include the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum, one of the facility's oldest gardens, containing more than 250 species of American and Japanese trees. The Thain Family Forest is New York's largest remaining woodland expanse, dating back thousands of years and featuring preserved glacier carvings, Native American trails, and a 2.5-acre rock garden. A historic maple collection showcases unusual Japanese maples, and the Benenson Ornamental Conifers walk highlights conifers of all shapes, colors, and sized. In spring, Magnolia Way comes to life with fragrant blooms, along with more than 100 specimens in a tree peony collection. Collections of flowering cherry and crabapple trees also sprout seasonally in spring and fall.
The award-winning Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is one of the garden's top attractions, and is considered one of the finest rose gardens in the world. The Ladies' Border Garden dates back to the 1930s, named for the Women's Auxiliary Committee, an influential organization in developing many of the garden's collections. A Native Plant Garden contains more than 100,000 trees, flowers, shrubs, and grasses native to the northeastern United States. The Mitsubishi Wild Wetland Trail, home to ducks, turtles, and red-winged blackbirds, educates visitors about wetland habits. Four themed areas comprise the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden, and the Nancy Bryan Luce Herb Garden grows hops, nasturtiums, and other culinary herbs.
Renovated in 2014, the Marjorie G. Rosen Seasonal Walk features year-round displays of perennial and bulb blooms. The rare Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the corpse flower, has recently returned to display for the first time since 1939. Other special collections of flowers include an azalea garden, a water lilies and lotuses display, and collections of peonies, lilacs, daffodils, daylilies, and orchids.
The Everett Children's Adventure Garden invites young visitors to explore nature through hands-on activities and play on a variety of natural landscape areas. At the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, families can learn about foods from around the world and find out how to grow healthy foods of their own. The Home Gardening Center offers tips from experts about gardening, landscaping, and composting.
Ongoing Programs and Education
The New York Botanical Garden is a world leader in botanical research and conservation. In addition to housing the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the world's largest botanical library with more than 555,000 volumes and 11 million archival holdings, and a research herbarium containing more than 7,800,000 specimens, the garden works with 168 international institutions to protect endangered plant species and strive toward conservation solutions to ensure the future diversity of Earth's plant life.
The garden is a national leader and model for horticultural education, with unique programs serving over 300,000 annual participants. The nationally accredited School of Professional Horticulture, established in 1932, is a 2-year diploma program offering courses in botany, horticulture, and landscape design. A renowned adult education program presents more than 700 courses throughout the New York and New England areas, awarding certificates in seven areas of study. Hands-on courses are also available for students and teachers, emphasizing curriculum integration and STEM principles.
An annual orchid show, the largest curated orchid exhibition in the country, is hosted at the conservatory every spring, and the Holiday Train Show recreates more than 150 New York landmarks as a backdrop for model train displays. Other popular events include a summer concert series, a Mother's Day weekend garden party, and evening events such as Bar Car Nights.
2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458, Phone: 718-817-8700
More Things to Do in NYC