Heathers and Flowers

The Heather Garden

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The Heather Garden in Fort Tryon Park is the largest public garden with unrestricted access in New York City and one of the largest heath and heather gardens on the East Coast. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. hired the Olmsted Brothers firm to design the three-acre jewel, and then donated the land to New York City in 1935. The garden is situated on slopes more than 200 feet above the Hudson River with stunning vistas of the Palisades.

During a much-needed restoration of the garden in 1983, designers extended bloom time in the Heather Garden and added plant varieties in order to create dramatic spring and summer displays, as well as captivating colors during the autumn season. Prior to the Park’s 75th Anniversary in 2009, the Fort Tryon Park Trust engaged public garden designers Lynden B. Miller and Ronda M. Brands to reinvigorate the garden as well as develop a management plan to sustain it for the long-term. 

Miller and Brands built upon the unique horticultural, historic, and scenic assets of the Heather Garden while preserving the spirit of the original plan.  Today, the garden is home to more than 500 varieties of perennials and shrubs. Throughout spring, drifts of Spanish bluebell, catmint, Siberian iris, tulips, spectacular collections of brooms, azaleas, peonies, dogwoods, rhododendrons, and oriental poppies flower. In summer, hybrid musk roses, hibiscus, and thistle make their floral show and rare Franklinia trees bloom. Stately American elms shade the Stan Michels Promenade, which flanks the 600 linear foot perennial bed of the Heather Garden.

Lynden Miller and Ronda Brands are working on a Framework Plan for the Heather Garden so that it can be sustained for the next 75 years and beyond. To help fund this important initiative, contact Jennifer Hoppa.

More Information about the Heather Garden

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Heather Garden Image Gallery