Sunday, May 31, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York, where it is quite hot and humid.

It is a day to seek shade and any breeze, with knowledge that thunderstorms will arrive later on.  

On a more beautiful afternoon this week I met a friend for lunch at El Cafe at the Museo del Barrio, followed by a leisurely walk around the magnificent Conservatory Garden in Central Park.


I encourage to click on the above links to learn more about both of these remarkable places.  I'll try to show you, via my afternoon's photographs, some of the atmosphere of the sprawling Garden.


On weekends, the Garden can be a crowded place, and is often the site of quite elegant weddings and other parties.  On a weekday afternoon, I think that there are more birds and bees than people.


I hope that you can imagine a little breeze, and lots of birdsong and bee buzzing.


These fully bloomed peonies had delightfully sweet scents and were the size of dinner plates.


The garden designers have a great skill at mixing colors, textures, scents and proportions to achieve an elegant, welcoming result.


My friend and I were glad that some iris were still in bloom.


Even the post-bloom seed pods on some plants were beautiful.  I do need to get back over to the Garden with my sketchbook.


It had been several years, yes years, since my last visit to this Garden, and I really wondered why.


This shady little nook with reflecting pool and statue is a tribute to the author of The Secret Garden.


Perhaps if you click on the following picture, you will be able to read the letters carved into the stone in the foreground.  We found it amusing that a gardener was refilling his classic large watering can from the reflecting pool in order to water some tender new plants that had recently been added to an adjacent space.


This gardener was very friendly and informative about how changes are constantly being made to the Garden and how the new additions get "hand watered" until their roots are established enough to benefit from the subtle irrigation system's hose tubes that snake their way through the greenery.


I do hope that you all are getting some idea of the beauty of this fabulous place.


There are lots of trees and shrubs throughout the garden.  We were too late to see the wisteria, azaleas or fruit trees in bloom.  Next year!  You can see the gardener in his protective sunhat.


More peonies.


I think that I tried to photograph some huge bumble bees in the following picture.  Perhaps you can spot them near the base of the flowers?


Contrasting colors do add some drama to the multiple shades of green.


A clever bird couple selected a desirable address for their spring 2015 nest.


And another view of the nest in its hiding place.


Some visitors come to sit on benches along these shaded avenues. The ivy growth is thick along the ground.



In another section of the Garden a more strict geometry is at the heart of the design. Late spring growth of the leaves has softened the geometry.




Of course, there is a water feature.


This stairway leads up to the impressive wisteria arbors. They are now very leafy, and still lovely after the flowering days.


Does this not seem a place of tranquility?


Just beyond those trees is Fifth Avenue.


Hundreds, perhaps thousands of rose roses bloomed around a circular pathway.


Are they not splendid?


Let us have one more view of the roses, with a view through the fence of another area of Central Park.  Remember, the Park is quite large.



This shady spot also gives you a perspective on Fifth Avenue buildings.  Mount Sinai Hospital's huge complex of buildings is quite near.  I think you can also see a gardener with his wheelbarrow on the path near more roses.


We were curious to see what a group of gardeners were working on, and discovered that they had been digging up all of the daffodil bulbs since their season was over.  The gardeners said that they were giving away the bulbs and could even provide us with carrier bags.  Unfortunately, neither of us has a garden, but we thought the offer was amazingly generous.  More will be planted in the circular space for summer, and then more bulbs will be planted in autumn.


I wish we could have said yes to the offer.


The pansies edging this knot garden area were also being carefully dug out to be replaced with something else.  The pansies will no doubt go to some sort of greenhouse.



Do imagine the scent.


These beauties are well worth a close up view.


I took the following photograph of the study in greens against an overcast sky, to show how the shrubbery is now due for a clipping.  I loved the look of the little sprigs popping out above the designated top of the box.


There is something about this picture that reminds me of some of my favorite Lucian Freud paintings and etchings.


As we headed up the steps to the Fifth Avenue gate, I turned around to take one last photograph of the formal entry.  This time I thought of those dark green trees in an early scene from Blow Up.




I hope that you all have enjoyed this visit to the Conservatory Garden, and that some day you will be able to stroll its pathways yourselves.

Thank you for your visit to my previous post with the street scenes. I enjoyed reading your comments very much!


36 comments:

  1. What bliss to go on a walk with you!
    Reminds me to head up to Central Park - very soon.
    Beautiful photos as always.
    A real treat. I expect you know The Secret Garden was my favorite book as a child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for those kind words, Elizabeth.

      Yes, I do remember your mentioning The Secret Garden. If we can find a day in the next month (June!) without a high heat/humidity index, let's take camera, phone, sketchbook up to this lovely Garden and see what we see.

      xo

      Delete
  2. I was so interested to see that FHB was commemorated in the gardens, you teach us so many things Frances!
    Weren't those peonies gorgeous?
    What a shame you couldn't take advantage of the bulb offer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Elizabeth. There are quite a few locations around New York City that were created years ago by folks (with money and taste) who wished to create memories for future generations.

      Truthfully, I am not so sure what the current folks in that demographic are giving to the City for future generations. (Perhaps I am oblivious to what is right in front of me.)

      xo

      Delete
  3. I'm looking for my son in your pictures Frances. He tells me he was in Central Park today! What glorious scenes of a warm day in New York after that long winter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucille, my Conservatory Garden photos were clicked last Thursday, May 28. Today's humidity, combined with on and off thunderstorms ... due to continue into tomorrow... would provide great opportunities to buy an umbrella from that shoe repair shop on Broadway, just south of 79th St.

      Lots of "local flooding" in various locations. Waterproof shoes are also advised, followed by lots of soap and hot water. Now, does that not take a certain bloom off the romantic beauty of the Conservatory Garden?

      Reality zone here. xo

      Delete
  4. Dear Frances, I shall put this on the list of places to see 'next' time! I've had a lovely catch-up with your posts and especially loved the previous one (though all are thorough enjoyable) for its street views. My younger stepson and his girlfriend have been in your city this last week and we've been feeling very envious. I don't suppose we'll take the helicopter ride they took over Manhattan as I prefer to keep my feet on the ground but the views were superb. All best to you. Cx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chris, hoping those visitors weren't put off by the rain that seems to have set upon us. I sort of agree with you about helicopters and just hope that those that pass overhead stay overhead.

      You'd love the Conservatory Garden...I can always imagine lots of stories beginning there. The street scene post will have some future echoes.
      Thank you so much for your comment! xo

      Delete
  5. I see a lot of familiar plants here, such a stunning garden walk...and I CAN feel the breeze. I am so curious why they would dig up the daffofil bulbs since they simply reproduce more plants underground over the winter months. I guess they are redesigning the space? My son was visiting us from NYC last week, when we go to visit him in NY, I will take a tour of these gardens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeri, I think that bulb part of the Garden is a very formal design that does not wish for naturalizing. Believe me, there are many other parts of Central Park where lots of naturalizing has been underway for decades. I actually helped plant some of those daffs as a tribute to folks lost in awful 9/11.
      Do let me know when you visit NYC. I'd love to show you some lovely gardens in the Park. xo

      Delete
  6. Isn't it wonderful to have such very large open spaces in the centre of the city? Those rose beds are superb and in fact the whole garden looks a delight. Ienjoyed every picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes indeed. It is very wonderful to have these sorts of spaces available to anyone who wishes to visit them It's also astonishing, but very good, to find these places uncrowded mid-week.

      Thank you so much for your visit and comment. I think you know how much I enjoy your own posts. xo

      Delete
  7. The gardens in Central Park look beautiful Frances. It must be lovely to have a park like this on your doorstep. Especially when you live in an apartment. We have a park nearby as well and the zoo, which is virtually next door. When my girls were younger we often went there. Such a delight!

    Wishing you a cool breeze and a lovely week ahead!

    Madelief x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Madelief, thank you so much. The Conservatory Garden is a bit of treck from my own neighborhood, it is a mile and a half uptown and a bus ride or long walk across Central Park to Fifth Avenue. And...as you can tell, well worth the journey. The parts of Central Park I usually show you all are well within easy walking distance. xo

      Delete
  8. Hi Frances, how lovely to see all your beautiful pictures of the gardens in the Park. It takes me back to our one and only visit to New York in 2000. We had a magical time and we must go back soon. So happy to have found your blog.x

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lovely photos and very interesting information. Such beautiful places are very rare in crowded cities where there is pollution of all sorts = sound, smoke and air.

    Coservatory garden is a wonderful place to breathe in fresh air and enjoy nature in its pristine beauty.

    Best wishes

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a wonderful garden set in the heart of the city and full of associations. You are lucky to have it so close Frances. I have visited the garden in Kent where Frances Hodgson Burnett set The Secret Garden (a favourite book when I was a child). We had an overgrown, neglected garden at the bottom of our garden, full of unusual wild flowers and scary insects - probably a haven for wildlife, where my brother and I spent at lot of our time, dreaming and playing. I used to call it The Secret Garden. It's been built over now sadly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marianne, I would love to see that garden in Kent. Please forgive my bad memory...I hope that I've let you know that I've borrowed two Lucy Boston memoirs from the library...have yet to start reading them, as my book stack is a real tower now.

      Best wishes to you and yours...your wedding photographs were so joyeous! xo

      Delete
    2. The lovely old house where Frances Hodgson Burnett lived is now private appartments, but the garden is still open through the National Gardens Scheme. Here is the link http://www.ngs.org.uk/gardens/find-a-garden/garden.aspx?id=12264

      I used to live just a couple of miles away in a village called Benenden. There are some wonderful gardens in that part of the world - Sissinghurst of course, but also Pashley Manor, Great Dixter, Hole Park - lesser known but just as wonderful. I hope you get there one day Frances. And I do sympathise about the book tower!

      Delete
    3. Thank you so much for the link, Marianne. I'll have a look later on today...after work. xo

      Delete
  11. Such a lovely post, and thanks to your gorgeous photos and words I can just imagine the tranquil atmosphere of this beautiful garden, Frances.
    Wishing you warm temperatures again this coming weekend :)
    Helen xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Helen, we're still having off and on rainy days here, keeping the temp on the low side, which does encourage me to keep going with a current complex knitting project.

      Even outside the Park, NYC is now looking very green courtesy of the rainy days.

      Thank you so much for your comment. xo

      Delete
  12. What a huge and beautiful Park - I wonder how many gardeners are needed to take care of all that. I recognise many of the plants in your photos as being the same as some in my own small garden and I am also in the process of lifting my own narcissus and tulip bulbs, ready to dry out in the greenhouse before re-planting in September. A grand excuse to go and buy some colourful plants suitable for containers! I would love to have a pool too, but I suspect my dog would adopt it as his own special cooling place; it would need topping up every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pool in the Secret garden is drained during the winter. A gardener told me that when the water is turned back on in early spring, all the nearby birds immediately fly over to have a dip in "their" favorite pond.

      Thanks so much for your visit.

      Delete
  13. What a lovely park! Love it! It must be a beautiful walk there Frances...
    Warm hug,
    Titti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Titti, this part of Central Park is really extraordinary. You can truly believe you have left the city streets. Bird song is the only sound.

      Happy weekend to you. xo

      Delete
  14. Thank you for that wonderful tour! Central Park is full of surprises.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Vicki, there are so many other parts of the Park for me to show you all. Even a zoo.

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  16. France's, I really did enjoy this garden tour full of such beautiful areas. I don't believe that I have seen you post about this before. I loved the birds nest and the seated areas which will provide shade and it looked so peaceful and calm. The colour of the roses a wonderful contrast to all the greenery and I can image the scent drifting through the air.
    Yes take your sketch pad and capture some of the shapes and textures, very inspiring.
    I have the book, just started reading it . I have a very informative book on his life it will be interesting to now read about him as part of this novel. Thank you for recommending it, as I collected it from the library my sister told me she has read it.
    Glad you are having such nice walks. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Milly, please forgive me this tardy reply. I've yet to get back to the Conservatory Garden, and will have to wait until the current heat and humidity has a rest. I'm sure to find lots to draw no matter when I sit myself down with the old sketchbook.

      I'm so glad you've gotten the book from the library. My more recent blog post has yet another recommendation for you. xo

      Delete
  17. How beautiful, and what a lovely haven in the middle of the city - definitely one to return to with your sketchbook! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gretel, this particular part of Central Park is a treasure. It can get a bit crowded on weekends with weddings and so forth, but Monday through Friday is usually quite a tranquil spot. Sorry to not have seen your comment before now. xo

      Delete
  18. wonderful pictures, enjoy your summer, thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete