Wave Hill: New York’s Secret Garden

We shot part of our October mailer at Wave Hill, a beautiful former estate in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, overlooking the Hudson River. Laurel Rimmer, the Assistant Director of Public Programs, gave us an exclusive tour of the grounds. Laurel is truly an expert—she’s been at Wave Hill for 19 years! 

It’s almost impossible for a gardener to pick a favorite season, but if pressed, I would have to go with autumn. I love that the gardens at Wave Hill avoid displays of gourds, mums, and cornstalks that often herald in the fall season at garden centers, farm stands, and parks across the country. Instead, first-time visitors are often surprised to see our diversity of plants and the eclectic mix of flowers that bloom through October and into November—if we are lucky enough to avoid an early frost. Indeed, the gardens at Wave Hill are truly reaching their peak this month with late-blooming perennials, self-sown annuals, and tropical plants that move out of their snug winter quarters in the greenhouses for an outdoor vacation. Read on for some unexpected fall views in the garden.

Dark-foliaged cannas and dahlias in the “red bed” of the Flower Garden add a vivid dose of color through the month of October.

Canna ‘Intrigue’ and orangey-red dahlias and salvias add color in fall hues (and nary a mum in sight!)

Colorful bromeliads from our tropical greenhouse are tucked into the wall at the Monocot Garden.

One of my absolute favorite fall combinations is in our Shade Border. Fall-bloomer Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (hardy plumbago) makes a lovely pair with Colchicum species, a bulb sometimes known as autumn crocus (a misnomer since it is not a crocus). I have repeated this lovely combination in my own home garden.

To learn more about visiting Wave Hill (which we highly recommend), go to their website. Their instagram is a great follow for frequent doses of natural beauty. All photos courtesy of Wave Hill.

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73 Responses

  1. Karen Snow-Holmes

    Really beautiful.I’ve lived in upstate NY all my life,but never heard of Wave Hill….Will make plans to visit soon. Karen

  2. Elizabeth Cosby

    What a beautiful sight at Wave Hill. Their use of colorful foliage and blooming plants is incredible plus the warm colors of the tress and the Hudson River. Thanks for this inspirational email. Elizabeth

  3. Virginia Merritt

    Just came home from buying mums for my garden! They are beautiful but can’t compare with the beautiful
    Wave Hill. Thank you.

  4. Mary Elizabeth Wing

    I live in California but will be visiting New York for the first time in May 2016. Thanks to Chico, I now have a public garden to visit that I would not have known existed! I can’t wait!

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