Spring and summer may be prime time for blooms in Central Park but, if you know where to look, you can catch gorgeous horticultural displays all year long. Among the most reliable spots to see some of the Park's most brilliant plantings are the large urns along Bow Bridge, at Bethesda Terrace and the Bandshell, at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center and along the Broadway Mall, south of Central Park. These urns are planted seasonally and remain vibrant even through the chill of winter.
"The key to keeping everything alive is using perennials, including shrubs," said Maria Hernandez, the Central Park Conservancy's Director of Horticulture. Conservancy gardeners plant the 51 urns they maintain with different plants each season. In the winter, cold-weather plants like azalea, ivy, ilex and juniper are planted. In the spring, plantings include asparagus, hydrangea, hyacinth, daffodils, tulips and rhododendrons. The summer offers are wide range of possible plantings, including capsicum, fucraea, ipomoea, zinnia, angelonia and much more. In the fall, mums are planted along the Broadway mall with a backdrop of millet and Korean mums are planted in the urns inside the Park.
For much of the twentieth century, there were no urns at Bow Bridge. All but one of the eight cast-iron urns, designed in 1859-60 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, had disappeared. Using the remaining urn and historic photos as guides, the Conservancy recreated and reinstalled the urns at Bow Bridge in 2008.
This nautically themed playground is located just north of Summit Rock, near the Park's Mariners' Gate entrance. It provides a variety of play experiences for younger children.