Exploring NYC: New York Botanical Garden

by Lorien E. Menhennett


Posing in the rose garden.

New York City is a massive concrete jungle. But you don’t have to go far to get a taste of nature. Aside from Central Park (a short walk from my apartment), New York has not one but TWO botanical gardens. I visited the Bronx version yesterday, the New York Botanical Garden. I’d visited here last fall with a couple of classmates, but one of the collections I really wanted to see, the rose garden, was past its prime then. I promised myself I’d return in the summer, and so that’s exactly what I did.


This rose bush, which sports both peach and pink blossoms on the same plant, was one of my favorites.

The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, according to the garden’s website, has more than 650 varieties of blooming roses at its peak. It was funded by the philanthropist David Rockefeller and named after his wife, Peggy. On the day I went, Mr. Rockefeller himself happened to be touring the rose garden—not a place I expected for a celebrity sighting, but there you have it. Just walking through the entrance gate of the rose garden is an experience, both olfactory and visual. So many varieties, all different colors, sizes, and shapes. I’d forgotten how different roses can look from each other.

The top of the conifer

The top of an odd conifer.

The bottom of the conifer

The bottom of an odd conifer.

Another highlight of my trip to the botanical garden was the ornamental conifers collection. I grew up frequently visiting my grandparents’ cabin in the mountains of Colorado, so the smell of pine and the rustle of wind through the branches are among my favorite memories. The conifers here, though, were unlike any I’d ever seen. Strange shapes (like the photos here) and unusual colors abounded. I also learned something new—that some conifers lose their needles. Who knew?

It was a wonderful adventure, and all just an hour’s train + bus ride away. That’s one of the great things about New York—it has a little bit of everything.


One of the garden’s lovely waterfalls.