Conservatory Garden

The Conservatory Garden is Central Park’s formal garden and one of the most significant public gardens in New York City.

A destination for neighborhood residents and visitors from all over the world, its six acres are well-known for plantings of tulips, lilacs, crabapple trees, summer perennials, and chrysanthemums. Its more formal design and specular floral displays have also made it a popular destination for small weddings.

The Garden opened in 1937 and is named for the glass conservatory that was built at this location in 1899 to offer seasonal plant displays to the public. Even earlier, this area had a horticultural function—it housed a large greenhouse designed by Park co-designer Calvert Vaux for growing plants for the Park’s landscapes.

The Conservatory Garden is composed of three areas, each with a distinct design: the French-style North Garden, the Italianate Center Garden, and the English-style South Garden. The main entrance is marked by an ornate gate, known as the Vanderbilt Gate, which was donated to the City by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and once adorned the mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt II at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street.

Conservatory Garden Stroll

Take a walk through the Conservatory Garden in the spring, when crabapple trees and tulips are in bloom.

View with audio description

Through the gate is the Center Garden, influenced by Italian Renaissance gardens. Its symmetrical design features a central lawn with a single jet fountain, behind which is a semicircular pergola covered in wisteria. The lawn is bordered by yew hedges and flanked with allées of crabapple trees, which burst into pink and white blooms every spring.

The North Garden offers spectacular seasonal displays of tulips each spring and Korean chrysanthemums in autumn. At its center stands the Untermyer Fountain, featuring the Three Dancing Maidens by German sculptor Walter Schott, which is surrounded by an intricate French parterre garden.

The South Garden is arranged in concentric planting beds in the style of an English perennial garden. It contains a diverse array of plantings that bring interest and beauty to every season, including bulbs, annuals, perennials, and numerous flowering trees. This garden also features the Burnett Fountain, a memorial to the author Frances Hodgson Burnett, that stands at one end of a waterlily pool.