The Conservatory Garden is Central Park's six-acre formal garden. It is divided into three smaller gardens, each with a distinct style: Italian, French, and English. The Garden's main entrance is through the Vanderbilt Gate, on Fifth Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets. This magnificent iron gate, made in Paris in 1894, originally stood before the Vanderbilt mansion at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street.
The Italianate center garden is composed of a large lawn surrounded by yew hedges and is bordered by two exquisite allées of spring-blooming pink and white crabapple trees. A 12-foot high jet fountain plays on the western end of the lawn, backed by tiered hedges and stairs that lead up to a wisteria pergola. On the walkway under the pergola are medallions inscribed with the names of the original 13 states.
The northern, French-style garden showcases parterres of germander and spectacular seasonal displays of spring tulips, and Korean chrysanthemums in autumn, all within an ellipse of Japanese holly. In the center is the charming Three Dancing Maidens fountain by German sculptor, Walter Schott. To the south is the very intimate English-style garden. There are five mixed borders of trees, shrubs and perennial plants, and five seasonal beds featuring spring bulbs that are followed by annual flower displays. A slope of woodland plants lines the western edge of this garden. At the center is sculptor Bessie Potter Vonnoh's lovely Frances Hodgeson Burnett Memorial Fountain, a tribute to the author of the children's book, The Secret Garden. The children — a girl and a boy, said to depict Mary and Dickon, the main characters from the classic — stand at one end of a small water lily pool.
The Conservatory Garden is an officially designated Quiet Zone and offers a calm and colorful setting for a leisurely stroll, and intimate wedding, or an escape with a good book.
For many years the garden was tended by volunteers from the Garden Club of America and in 1983 it was restored by the Central Park Conservancy.
East Side from 104th-106th Streets. Enter at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street, or 106th Street gate inside the Park.
- Hours: 8am to dusk
- Wheelchair access at 106th St. gate inside Park
- Restroom available
- Quiet Zone (dogs must be leashed and kept on pathways at all times; no running, rollerblading, or bike riding; no organized, active recreation or sports allowed; headphones required for radios)