Musings at The Conservatory Garden, Central Park, NYC

The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know. ~ Michel Legrand

Michel Legrand’s quote sums up how I feel about Central Park. The more I see the less I know, I thought as I left through The Conservatory Garden’s beautiful cast-iron gates yesterday and into the commotion of Fifth Avenue.

The silhouette of Manhattan from the northern end of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

Of his favourite spots to visit in Harlem, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson singled out “the Conservatory Garden in Central Park just off East 105th Street.” I’d filed this mention in the back of my mind.

Main entrance into the Conservatory Garden. The gates once stood at Cornelius Vanderbilt’s mansion on 58th St and 5th Avenue

February, the first: a warmish (59F) winter’s day in New York, a day to make an uptown trip to Central Park North. As I hadn’t done any prior research, I thought  The Conservatory Garden resided in a greenhouse. Not so.

The Conservatory Garden began as a large, E-shaped greenhouse, or conservatory in 1898. It featured an indoor winter garden of exotic tropical plants and outdoor decorative Victorian flowerbeds. In 1937, the deteriorating structure was demolished and this… formal garden was designed in its place.*

Six acres of outdoor gardens define its expanse, a triad of stylized gardens, influenced by France, England and Italy. A little bit of Europe in NYC. I hope you enjoy The Conservatory Garden through this pictorial. Oh, and prepare yourself mentally to enter an “Official Quiet Zone”.

As an aside, I would like to dedicate this post to my few bloggers: Vidal’sNYC for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. I hope you may check out Vidal’s photo-glimpses of New York as he sees it. I’m also so appreciative of the support by robertoalborghetti and MiltonJohns Photography for reblogging my posts on Letting Love Rule @ Radio City Music Hall (Lenny Kravitz) and Gated Abandonment on Bowery ~ downtown NYC. I am really humbled by your kind comments and thank you for your inspiration. I hope you may check out the photography and art portfolios of all three bloggers. I’m a keen follower of their work and hope you will be too.

Musings at The Conservatory Garden

The French inspired part of the Garden, at its northern end.

Fountains stand empty for now. Dancing Maidens sculpture by German artist Walter Schott.

Manicured hedges and patterned green.

Winter’s calm beauty: still trees, a late afternoon sun, long shadows.

Hibernating hydrangeas; sleeping beds of roses..

A stream of late-afternoon sun rays.

The English-inspired part of the Garden, to the south.

Grassy furry plants remind me of Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street.

More puppet reminders, this time of those crazy hairstyled muppets on Fraggle Rock. Do you remember? The English part of the garden is based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic, The Secret Garden, but it is so Jim Henson inspired.

Early bloomering jonguils. Perhaps spring is closer than we think.

The Italian-inspired garden, in the Conservatory’s centre.

Entangled Chinese wisteria against a Fifth Avenue view.

A blue period.

A touch of history : the original 13 states engraved into tile.

The Italian Renaissance Garden: The Medici, the ruling dynasty of Florence, used gardens to demonstrate their own power and magnificence. “During the first half of the sixteenth century, magnificence came to be perceived as a princely virtue, and all over the Italian peninsula architects, sculptors, painters, poets, historians and humanist scholars were commissioned to concoct a magnificent image for their powerful patrons.” **

At dusk, the grand gate must close.

Hello Manhattan.

* http://www.centralparknyc.org/visit/things-to-see/north-end/conservatory-garden.html

**Wikipedia