The weather is getting warmer, the crocuses are peeking through, and the trees are budding -- spring is in the air! As we pack up our woolen coats and heavy sweaters, the flowers and plants around us are shaking off the last of winter's chill. We may be living in the concrete jungle, but spring in New York City is still fragrant, blossoming, and lush with new green life. From the manicured Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to the wild Ramble of Central Park to the High Line's elevated escape, New York is home to dozens of places to take in the first signs of spring. Click through for our favorite six!
Arguably our favorite garden in the city, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an ideal place to see the first signs of spring in New York City. Bright yellow buds on the Asiatic dogwood trees, fragrant white magnolias, and dainty daffodils are all showing their colors throughout the BBG’s 52 acres. Plus, a couple of the garden’s most famous inhabitants, the cherry trees, are already bursting with bright pink blooms in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and Cherry Walk. You can track the cherry blossoms here to see when and where the trees flower. Over the next few weeks, the spring bulbs, like tulips, forsythia, and South African wildflowers will all start to appear.
While we’ve spent the last week obsessing over the just-revealed designs for the High Line’s third and final section, let’s not forget about the 20-block long existing portion that we have come to know and love. The High Line is currently halfway through its annual Spring Cutback, where the gardeners prepare the park’s gardens for fresh blooms and warmer weather. The hard work is already paying off, as the cutback has revealed blossoming white squill on the park’s Northern Spur Preserve near 16th Street and pretty pink Dawn bodnant viburnum near Gansevoort Street, between West 14th and West 15th Streets, and between West 21st and West 22nd Streets. You can stay updated on the cutback and new blooms on the High Line’s blog.
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, the sister to Central Park, is a true gem in New York City. Park creators Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux preserved the landscape’s original geography, creating a 585-acre park that boasts rolling hills, a waterfall, lake, lush woodland, and more than 30,000 trees. A springtime stroll along the meandering paths reveals blooming cherry trees, pockets of daffodils, sprinklings of crocuses, and newly budded trees ready to burst with green leaves. Bring a picnic to enjoy under the flowering trees on the Long Meadow or get lost on the wooded paths, where you’ll feel miles away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Tucked away in the Bronx along the Hudson River, Wave Hill is a peaceful 28-acre escape within New York City. The garden features a woodland, pergola and vistas, wildflower garden, and dozens of notable trees, with blooms popping up all over the place. Okame cherry trees, Star Magnolia, Glory of the Snow, and the vibrant South African bulbs are all showing their colors. In the woodland, the purple Chionodoxa flowers blanket the ground, a yearly spring treat before the trees leaf out.
Known as the lungs of New York City, Central Park radiates new life as the seasons turn. Cherry trees and magnolias bloom alongside the Great Lawn and main pathways, but the wild Ramble is our favorite place in the park to hunt for the first signs of spring. Just north of the Lake, the 38-acre Ramble consists of wildwoods and twisting paths marked with outcroppings of rocks. Peaking up through the brush, you’ll find periwinkle crocuses, dainty white snowdrops, bright yellow winter aconite, and perky daffodils while the pink hellebore and winter jasmine spot the bushes.
A lesser known garden in New York City, the Narrows Botanical Garden in Bay Ridge is a lush natural escape with stunning views of the bay and Statue of Liberty. The unique garden is designed and cared for by Bay Ridge residents. In 1995, two life-long Bay Ridgers decided to reclaim an overgrown and neglected section of the park, and today, the enclave has a garden dedicated to plants native to New York, a turtle sanctuary, a butterfly garden, several different tree groves, and an expansive lawn. You can meander through the trees to see the season’s first blooms or you can lounge on the lawn, soaking up the sun.