Garden Photo of the Day

Big Apple Beauty

A garden paradise in the Bronx

Think of the Bronx in New York City, and you probably don’t think of beautiful gardens and inspiring natural scenery, but you should. Wave Hill is a top-notch public garden, and is well worth adding to your itinerary next time you make a trip to the Big Apple.

The views across the Hudson river from the garden are very photogenic. But turn around and you’ll find gardens so impressive you won’t want to bother with the views.

Many of the beds play with color in exciting, interesting ways. Here, dark foliage and flowers in shades of red work together to create a dark, moody, exciting display.

The flowers of Gladiolus ‘Atom’ are bright scarlet, edged with a tiny line of white. The colors glow all the brighter against the backdrop of dark leaved castor beans (Ricinus communis).

Phytolacca americana ‘Sunny Side Up’ is a vivid, bright yellow leaved version of the common (and obnoxious) pokeweed. Here it is paired with a dark leaved orach (Atripex hortensis), using two plants that some would consider weeds to make garden magic.

I like the spiny, white flowers of rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) and I’m fine with the soft blue flowers of Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolium), but the two of them together? Wow. A perfect combination. And even better, the two plants both thrive in the same dry, sunny conditions. A match made in heaven!

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  1. user-6536305 01/05/2018

    I am expanding my gardens to visit list. Very beautiful especially the first photo. Thanks for sharing!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 01/05/2018

      Nice work, Lilian. Why not expand your list of places to visit even further and come down under and see members of the Proteaceae family, including the genus Isopogon. Here is a pic. of I. latifolius, which is a shrub (up to 10ft high) with flowers (up to 3 inches in diam.) used in the cut-flower industry here. The plant evolved in sandstone country and is very susceptible to root rot caused by the fungus, Phytophthora cinnamomi, under wet soil conditions. Cheers from Oz

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/05/2018

        The Isopogon genus looks fascinating, Frank. The flower 'buds' are as fascinating as the flowers. A quick search turned up the fab foliage of Isopogon ceratophyllus; definitely caught my eye.

        1. frankgreenhalgh 01/05/2018

          Thanks Tim for drawing my attention to I. ceratophyllus - I'm not familiar with it, even though it is endemic to the coast of Victoria. It certainly has interesting foliage and common name. Cheers

          1. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/05/2018

            You just sent me scurrying to the internet to find out the common names! Horny cone-bush I understand, but Wild Irishman? Must be some history behind that derogatory epithet! :) Although perhaps it was complimentary........

      2. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 01/05/2018

        Another beauty, Frank. Was this part of the garden of Proteaceae that you once grew?

        1. frankgreenhalgh 01/05/2018

          No, Linda. We focussed on the South African members of Proteaceae. Funny that - consumers were more interested in exotic flowers. Cheers from south eastern Oz where it will be over 100F today.

      3. User avater
        meander_michaele 01/05/2018

        The cold temps (for east TN) and prolonged time spent indoors are starting to make me a bit stir crazy so getting lost in an exotic looking bloom is a nice way to pass a couple of minutes. I love how the tips look like they were dipped in yellow paint.

      4. user-6536305 01/05/2018

        Australia is on my 1st to visit list. When is the best months to visit Australia? Phytophthora cinnamomi is amazing and have all the possible bright colors on it - hot pink with an orange tips and 3 inches in diameter!

        1. frankgreenhalgh 01/05/2018

          Hi Lilian - Sept and Oct in spring or March, April and May in autumn. I personally like the autumnal weather. In March we have the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, which is well worth seeing. Cheers my friend

  2. frankgreenhalgh 01/05/2018

    Hello Joseph - yes nice gladi, and combination of rattlesnake master (what a name! - the pot calling the kettle black, some might say) and Russian sage. Cheers from Oz

  3. foxglove12 01/05/2018

    All so beautiful! So happy to see that Gladiolus Atom. I just got one last year and it truly is that vibrant.

  4. User avater
    PKKing 01/05/2018

    As a "country girl", going to the Big Apple isn't high on my list of places to visit. But with that view across the Hudson I may have to rethink that. So gorgeous and peaceful. And that "fab glad" is a lovely warm-up for a frigid winter here on the east coast.

    1. user-6945477 01/05/2018

      If you go to Wave Hill in the Bronx, you might want to go to the New York Botanical Garden too. It is also located in the Bronx and has an old growth forest within it! Not to mention an amazing rose garden (the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden). It features wonderful collections of the newer sustainable roses such as those featured in Peter Kukielski's book "Roses without chemicals" and old garden roses that have thrived around old cemeteries and homesteads in spite of neglect.

      1. User avater
        PKKing 01/05/2018

        Thanks Carol. It all sounds very tempting. I'd especially love to see the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden in full bloom. I'll check out the book. I'm trying to grow Gallica roses. I hope they survive this arctic winter we're having here on the east coast!

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/05/2018

    It's amazing how, in the first picture, the dense tree cover across the river seems to indicate there is nothing but undisturbed natural forest there. I can't believe that could be true but it certainly makes for a lovely backdrop impression.
    The gladiolus 'Atom', esp. with its dark leaved neighbors as a contrast, is certainly a persuasive ambassador for making anyone a fan. I just zipped off to do a little reading about it and noticed that it is described as a dwarf...that's an attractive feature. By the way, Joseph, do you think they can get away with leaving the corms(?) in the ground and let them winter over?

    1. user-6536305 01/05/2018

      I used to grow gladiolus and non of them could be left in the ground to over winter in my zone 7 garden, may be it is too wet in PNW.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 01/05/2018

        I have a perennial type that is a pale yellow and a modest is decidedly nothing to get excited about. However, it does multiply and spread a bit. I don't remember planting it on purpose but I must have at some point in the past. It looks nice as a contrasting element in a bouquet of hydrangea blooms. As proof that it doesn't thrill me, I don't even have a picture of it.

      2. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/05/2018

        I've been shocked that most florist glads overwinter in my zone 6 garden; perhaps the moisture in PNW does has something to do with it since it certainly gets much colder in Ohio. I've finally yanked most of them out because I tire of having them flop over, plus something often snaps them in my garden; perhaps squirrels or heavy birds landing on them.

      3. user-7007140 01/06/2018

        That may be. To my surprise the glads I left in the ground in my chilly zone 5 have popped up every year for four years. I am usually resigned to losing anything really tender but it’s amazing what a good depth of leaves and a topping of mulch will do.
        Love all the gardens Joseph. Thank you.

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/05/2018

    We've always focused on Manhattan when we go to the City, but I need to remember to make time to get out to Wave Hill; by all reports, including yours, it is a definite destination in and of itself.

  7. sheila_schultz 01/05/2018

    Beautiful views and beautiful gardens, how can you beat that? I'm particularly fond of the shot with the Gladiolus ‘Atom’ backed by the dark leaved castor bean, one of my fave container and garden plants. What an excellent pairing.
    To all of my GPOD friends on the E coast, stay warm and safe this weekend. I'm guessing a few plant catalogs and saved issues of FG might be pulled out in hopes of an early spring! To Joseph, thanks for a fun week introducing us to unexpected public gardens, they have been a treat. It's been a pleasure getting to know you.

  8. LaurelEm 01/05/2018

    I haven't contributed comments in some time. The winter doldrums! But some of the stuff I see here is pretty inspiring. First I never knew you could look across the Hudson in the Bronx and see forest like that? Second, Castor Beans! I rediscovered them this summer and loved using them again. Can't wait til spring to use them again! Rattlesnake master is a new plant to me, since someone gave me one last summer. I love how it was used here with the Russian Sage. I'll keep that in mind. Beautiful pictures and beautiful garden.

  9. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 01/05/2018

    Good morning, Joseph. For those of us that have not been to Brooklyn, this is an eye opener. Who knew that it could be so rural looking. That glad. ‘Atom’ Is stunning but your photo of it is even more stunning. My husband has always liked glads but I’ve been in the “funeral flowers” camp. You are persuading me to take a new look. Thanks for a good 2018 start to the blog. Stay warm everyone.?

  10. NCYarden 01/05/2018

    Beautiful. I had no idea. Love the edging on those gladiolas. Thanks for sharing.

  11. btucker9675 01/05/2018

    If you ever have a change, Wave Hill is a wonderful way to spend a day - and the views along the Hudson are spectacular. We used to go at least once a year when living in northern NJ. The NY Botanical Garden is also a must-see.

  12. cheryl_c 01/06/2018

    The area just north of NYC is surprising in a lot of ways. I am really pleased that this post has created such a buzz about the area - it is a great place to visit. We were in Cold Spring New York, farther north on the Hudson, across from West Point, for a day this past April, and it was fabulous. Joseph, you have had a great first week with us - thanks for sharing these little known but very special gardens.

    1. cynthiamccain 01/06/2018

      We loved visiting Cold Spring when our son and his family lived there—a cute little town in a beautiful setting on the Hudson.

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