June 28, 2011

Piet Oudolf's Design at The Battery, New York City (Part 1)

Millions of tourists rush to the ports in New York City to catch a ferry to visit landmarks such as The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In the dash for the line, they seem unaware of a peaceful park. By the ferry port, by the water, at the tip of Manhattan, there are gardens overlooking the New York harbor. Paths and benches invite visitors to stroll and pause—but the paths and benches are mostly empty, except for a few who either stop to rest or photograph the flowers.

Introduction to The Battery Conservancy Gardens

I'm a fan of the Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf. A few years ago I started making a list of his gardens and bookmarked The Battery Conservancy. The gardens did not surprise me as I had studied the plant lists and viewed photographs. However, the gardens did inspire me—the scale of the plantings and the combinations of color and texture.

Tourists in line for the ferry seem unaware of
the gardens. I arrived just in time to be greeted by
a Monarch butterfly on the milkweed (asclepias incarnata).
There are two primary gardens to visit, The Gardens of Remembrance and The Battery Bosque.

Along the harbor walkway, 10,000 square feet are planted as The Gardens of Remembrance as a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Piet Oudolf's phase one plan includes 114 varieties of perennials and native plants. Most of these plants are laid to deep rows along the paved walks and waterfront.

Set back in the shade of 140 London Plane trees, The Battery Bosque, Oudolf's phase two, is planted with 34,000 perennials to create a cool, lush garden. Gravel paths, circles and a spiral fountain invite visitors to linger on one of the many garden benches.

There are too many combinations to show in any detail in one post. Over the next few posts, I'll show you close up photographs of the plantings that I found most inspiring—providing you with plant identification, growing information and other attributes of the perennials. Please follow along on this garden tour.


The Gardens of Remembrance, dedicated to the victims of 9/11.
Piet Oudolf's phase one garden plan.
The Battery Bosque.
Piet Oudolf's phase two garden plan.
Oudolf's Stachys Spires (Part 2)
Oudolf's Stellar Perennials (Part 3)

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

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