Conservatory Garden

Conservatory Garden Central Park - Untermyer Fountain

Untermyer Fountain

One of the hidden wonders of Central Park is the Conservatory Garden at Fifth Avenue and 105th St. A secluded oasis, just a few steps down from one of the City’s busiest thoroughfares; the garden offers a fragrant respite from the gasp and clatter of the urban afternoon.

To enter the six-acre Garden from Fifth Avenue and 105th Street, you must pass through the Vanderbilt Gate. Installed in 1939, it originally served as the entrance to the Vanderbilt Mansion at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street (at the present site of the Bergdorf Goodman department store) until its demolition in 1927. One of the best examples of wrought iron work in New York City, the gate was made in France with designs by American architect George B. Post. The only formal garden in Central Park, the Conservatory Garden derives its name from a huge glass conservatory that once stood on the same spot, which was built in 1898. While not the impressive construct included by Olmsted and Vaux in the original Greensward Plan, it was put to brilliant use by the head gardener of the new park, Ignaz Pilat. It was here that many of the first shrubs and trees that were later planted in the park were first cultivated. When maintenance of the facility became too costly it was torn down in 1934 and replaced with the present garden in 1934.

The Conservatory Garden is filled with a myriad of plant life, from carefully cultivated heirloom roses to the most common of indigenous flowers, while portions of the grounds are delineated by hedges of English yew, barberry, Korean holly and the serendipitously named "Manhattan." The Garden itself is divided into three distinct sections, each representing its own specific style. These are the north (or French Garden), the Central (or Italian Garden) and the south (or English Garden).

The North Garden

The north garden is patterned in the classical French style. At its center is a lovely fountain named the Three Dancing Maidens, constructed in 1910 by the famed German Sculptor Walter Schott. (It is also known, somewhat less euphoniously, as the Untermeyer Fountain, after the family who presented it to the City in 1947.) The fountain is surrounded by sloping beds which display a dazzling array of floral designs, which change seasonally. From the twenty thousand tulips that brilliantly proclaim the end of winter to the 2,000 Korean chrysanthemums which bloom in the fall each change in the climate is marked by yet another brilliant floral display. And representing the four seasons are the four entryways to the garden's center, the arbors festooned with climbing "Silver Moon" roses, which produce gleaming white and pink hued blossoms in June.

The Central Garden

At the center lies the Italian style garden. It is bordered on both north and south sides by walkways lined with crabapple trees, which bloom in the spring. Above it, on the west side, is a wrought-iron wisteria pergola which looks down on a beautiful geyser fountain. This array is especially lovely in the spring when the pergola is covered with violet flowers. In the middle lies the meticulously clipped green lawn, providing a restful and understated stage from which to view the floral extravagance surrounding it. The Italian Garden is also the favorite spot of wedding photographers and virtually any season will find couples from all over the world waiting to have their pictures taken.

The South Garden

The Secret Garden

The southern garden features the English style and as such is much less formal than the other two. It is planted to be enjoyed the year round and almost every week there are new blooms to admire. At the center is a bronze sculpture, the Burnett Fountain, depicting a young boy and girl. Based on characters from The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett the fountain was designed and constructed in 1936 by Bessie Potter Vonnoh. It is surrounded by a reflecting pool upon which float hundreds of water lilies and in which swim dozens of extremely sophisticated goldfish (don’t forget the address).

Ringing the fountain and pool are the seasonal planting beds. Around this are arranged an amazing collection of perennial trees and shrubs, which now features, at its southern end a restful shade garden. Perhaps the most popular of the three the English Garden, with its revolving display of seasonal blooms and quiet, magnolia scented walkways, is the favorite of readers, gardeners, strollers and the contentedly sighing stare-ers into space. Stepping through the Vanderbilt Gates offers not only a change of pace and locale, but also the illusion of temporal transport. You not only leave behind the sights and sounds of the city, but the date as well.

Permission to hold weddings can be arranged by calling (212) 360-2766 or (212) 860-1382.

Location: 5th Ave and 105th St.

Details: The Conservatory Garden is open daily from 8 a.m. until dusk. Free tours start at the front gate Saturday at 11 a.m., April - October.

The CentralPark.org Conservatory Garden section below includes a comprehensive inventory of the twenty-seven flowering plants, shrubs and trees that grace the Garden.  And now with The Conservatory Garden Bloom Schedule below, you can not only discover when your favorite flower will be decorating the garden, but you can also find out fascinating background facts about each bloom.  Every plant article is also accompanied by a full color photo so identification is easier than ever.  So enjoy a stroll around the beautiful Conservatory Garden, either in person or online, and learn more about your favorite blossoms.

Astilbe - June - August
Baby's Breath - June - July
Coneflower - July - September
Cornelian Cherry - March
Crabapples - April - May
Daffodils - March - May
Daylillies - June - August
Grape Hyacinths - April - May
Hellebores - March - April
Hollyhocks - June - July
Irises - March & May
Japanese Anemone - July - October
Lilacs, French - May
Lilacs, Japanese - June
Magnolias - April - May
Oakleaf Hydrangea - July - September
Ornamental Grasses - July - October
Peony - June
Phlox - June - September
Purple Coneflower - July - September
Rose of Sharon - July - September
Roses - June - October
Snowdrops - February - March
Spiraea - April - May
Squill - April - May
Tulips - April - May
Water Lilies - June - October

Conservatory Garden

Central Park Bike Tour

  • Our bicycle tour has been ranked as one the top 5 things to do in Central Park by TripAdvisor. It is the only tour that covers the entire length of Central Park and it provides an excellent overview of the whole park.
  • The tour takes approximately 2 hours and it includes various stops along the way. On those stops, you can park the bicycle and go for a short stroll along some of the most stunning views of Central Park.
  • Including Bethesda Terrace, Strawberry Fields, The Bow Bridge, Balto and many more. In addition, you will also visit some of the hidden places in Central Park - the Ravine, the secret waterfall and of course our team’s favorite - the Central Park Ramble!
  • 2 Hours - $53 - Prices are per person
    Book Here.

Central Park Pedicab Tour

  • Allow one of our experienced tour guides to show you the beauty of the park from the back of a pedicab. Those iconic NYC pedicabs are one of the best things to do in Central Park!
  • Sit down and relax while your tour guide tells you about the history of the park, architecture, interesting trivia and of course points out the exact location of all those blockbuster movies filmed in Central Park
  • Reserve either 1 hour or 2 hour guided pedicab tour. If you are already in the park, don’t worry, we can send the tour guide to pick you up from one of the many designated pick up zones inside Central Park.
  • 1 Hour - $53 - 2 Hours - $89 - Prices are per person
  • Book Here.

Central Park Bike Rental

  • Biking in Central Park is one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the park and do it at your own pace.
  • You can pick up your bike from one of our convenient locations around the park. In case you are already inside the park, no worries, we can send our concierge to deliver the bike(s) to one of the many designated bike zones inside the park. At the time of booking, we will direct you to the nearest bike pick up station in the park.
  • Pack some light snacks and a water bottle, take one of the park maps we provide. When reserving your bike rental, you will have an option to include an audio guided tour.
  • 1 Hour $15 - 2 Hours $20 - 3 Hours $25 - All Day (9am -7pm) $40
  • Book Here

Things To Do

From The Philharmonic on the Great Lawn to Shakespeare in the Park to SummerStage, Central Park offers an endless array of things to do, see, hear – and, with two full service restaurants and several cafes, taste.  You can visit The Shakespeare Garden, take in a performance at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, take a ride on the Carousel – or just sit and people watch at Bethesda Terrace!

Contact Us

Contact Info

5th Ave. 
New York, NY, 10028

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