If you know me you know I can't get through October without plugging this amazing free show up at the north end of Central Park.
The Conservatory Garden is the only series of formal gardens in the Park, the main entrance located on 5th Avenue and 105th Street. In the north (French) garden every spring 2,000 Korean chrysanthemums are planted and tended to all season long by the staff of trained horticulturists. Eventually the ratio of daylight hours to night is copacetic and these gorgeous old-fashioned mums begin to bring forth the most sensational fall show for all New Yorker's and tourists to see.
The thousands of buds opening as we speak create a mixture of colors you couldn't even dream of, from soft cool whites and violets to hot vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds. Each flower you are convinced is your favorite and then you realize it is impossible because there are so many beautiful visuals and so much variation to the color and character of the different plants.
Korean chrysanthemums are perennial for us New Yorker's in zone 6b or 7a, and do best in a full, full sun application in a organic rich soil with excellent drainage.
However, the display doesn't last forever so you have to get to Central Park now and see them before they pass bloom. As true perennials their bloom time is only a few weeks long and personally I think the last week in October is always the best time to see this magnificent show. Not to mention by mid-November the staff of the Central Park Conservancy will begin to change out the displays to make way for the 20,000 tulips for spring so you don't want to delay.
The Conservatory Garden is open to the public free of charge from 8:00am to dusk every day of the year. For October the garden closes at 6pm and in November they will begin closing at 5pm. The Conservatory Garden, like the rest of Central Park, is maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, hence people often mistakenly call it the Conservancy Garden, which is of course incorrect. To learn more about the Conservancy and all they do for Central Park visit the official website of Central Park, centralparknyc.org
See you in the garden,
oh, and if you want to see more pics of the Korean mums from years past just click on the "Korean chrysanthemum" tag at the bottom of this post, cheers, -aef