Find your favorite spring blooms in Central Park with a map and interactive guide
Background image: Shinya Suzuki via Flickr
Spring is officially here, and there’s no better place to confirm the good news than Central Park, where the season brings a burst of color to every corner of the park’s 840 acres. Warmer weather brings beautiful blooms and a flurry of activities and events along with photogenic landscapes. The park’s Spring Guide has all you need to know about the park’s prettiest places to visit; a handy map points out where the blooms are, and you can search for your favorites and learn more about them. There are also events for families, Conservancy members and the general public that will help you make the best of the season’s beauty.
Central Park-Conservatory Garden. Image via flickr cc
The map highlights the park’s best blooms so you can find your favorites or discover new ones, with information about what to look for and the best time to visit. A few highlights:
Central Park’s formal six-acre Conservatory Garden is divided into three smaller gardens, each with a distinct style: the northern, French-style garden; the center, Italianate garden; and the southern, English-style garden. The Garden features thousands of colorful blooms, including a popular tulip display that typically peaks the last week of April. Between April and May, look for the fragrant, colorful wisteria gracing the Garden’s beautiful pergola. LOCATION: East Side from 104th to 106th Street
Look closely for four colorful North Meadow Butterfly Gardens just northeast of the North Meadow. These gardens are full of flowers and shrubs that act as host plants and food sources for a variety of butterfly species. They are colorful, beautiful, and provide a wide variety of wonderful fragrances for visitors of all species to enjoy.
LOCATION: East Side between 102nd and 103rd Streets
If cherry trees are your favorite spring bloom, don’t miss the landscapes surrounding the Reservoir. Japan gifted Central Park and Riverside Park with thousands of cherry trees in 1912. Nearly 200 Yoshino cherry trees were planted on the east side of the Reservoir, with a similar number of Kwanzan cherry trees planted on its west side. Peak bloom time varies each year and depends on the weather, but color typically appears between late March and late May.
Central Park co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted described the 36-acre Ramble as a “wild garden.” Though the Ramble may not feature big-name spring blooms like tulips and cherry trees, you’ll spot many colorful native plants throughout its 36 acres. The Ramble also contains several rustic bridges and benches, providing a stunning backdrop to your photos.
LOCATION: Mid-Park from 73rd to 79th Streets
Image via Flickr cc
The park’s online Bloom Guide gives you an insider’s look at the park’s most popular blossoms and where to find them and provides even more facts on your favorites. A search through The Ramble in spring turns up bloodroot, Canada violet, cardinal flower, and many, many more.
Getting the park ready for the blooming season is no small feat, with 200-plus gardeners, groundskeepers and technicians hard at work to get the grounds groomed, seeding 300 acres of lawn, grading four miles of bridle path and flipping the switch on 150 water fountains in addition to prepping the park’s 26 baseball and softball fields for their April 6 opening.
In addition to the above bounty, you can take advantage of programs like Discovery Walks, tours and catch-and-release fishing. Spring Blooms: A Conservatory Garden Tour ($15/$10 for members) happens the last Saturday of every month; the staff-led tour offers an opportunity to learn about the garden’s history, design, and blooms from the people who know it best as well as behold thousands of colorful tulips, two picturesque allées of blooming crabapple trees, and a magnificent wrought-iron gate made in 1894.
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