Inside The New York Botanical Garden

The Rock Garden is Open for Spring!

Posted in Horticulture on April 3 2015, by Michael Hagen

Michael Hagen is the NYBG’s Curator of the Native Plant Garden and the Rock Garden. He previously served as Staff Horticulturist for Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, NY and Garden Manager at Rocky Hills in Mt. Kisco, a preservation project of the Garden Conservancy.

Cyclamen coum and Iris 'Pauline'
Cyclamen coum and Iris ‘Pauline’

While spring might still feel several long weeks away, the first cheerful blooms of the season have already made their debut in the Rock Garden! We’ve been hard at work cleaning beds, raking leaves, and removing the last of the winter debris in order to open the garden as soon as possible for everyone to enjoy. And now we’re ready.

The very first heralds of spring, the winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) are still in bloom where they were covered until the last snow to melt, and along with our other early bloomers like snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), snow crocus (Crocus tommasinianus), and winter cyclamen (Cyclamen coum), they’re still putting on a great display. This past week they’ve also been joined by even more early bulbs—netted iris hybrids such as Iris ‘Pauline’, ‘Harmony’, and ‘Katharine Hodgkin’; alpine squills (Scilla bifolia); spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum); and glory of the snow (Chionodoxa sardensis).

On the sunny south facing beds we’re even seeing patches of lenten rose (Helleborus × hybridus) start to open (on time with the calendar this year!) in shades of rose pink, speckled white, dark burgundy red, and even rich purplish black. Meanwhile, in a few cool, sheltered spots, Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) is also still in flower. Even the first of our miniature daffodils, Narcissus ‘Midget’ has, just this morning, begun to open its tiny yellow trumpets.

Iris 'Harmony'
Iris ‘Harmony’

It is an enchantingly pretty moment in the Rock Garden. We hope you can stop by to enjoy it with us and take some encouragement that spring really is on the way.