Spiraea (Rosaceae spiraeoideae)
Spiraea are easy-care shrubs that flower best when grown in full sun. They bloom in the Conservatory Garden from April to May and form a lovely component to the spring landscape. With their clusters of bright white or pink petals they compliment the more colorful blooms that decorate the garden beds during the early months of summer.
This species is native to China and Japan. It blooms best in full sun, and the bloom is heaviest in cool climates, where the small white flowers can cover the entire shrub. In warm climates, the bloom is less intense but lasts for a longer time.
Spiraea, like many of the flowers that decorate the Conservatory Gardens, works best complimenting the colorful blooms around it. It is that rare type of flower that never draws a great deal of attention to itself, but instead works best in a supporting role. In this manner it is one of the most instructive examples of the horticulturalists craft, the ability to paint a picture with flowering plants, the ideal being that the visitor only sees the portrait, not the brushstrokes.
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.