NYC's Garden Secrets

by David Sokol, 04/17/2012

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  • Tree Peonies at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
    Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is home to 14 gardens, perhaps the most visited of which is the inspiring New York Chinese Scholar's Garden. Yet this oasis in Staten Island's Richmond Terrace neighborhood also is home to several collections of plant species, with the approximately 60 tree peonies being the most spectacular. The few people who know about the collection happen to be photographers. "It's unusual to get this concentrated a variety of color in one area," Snug Harbor president and CEO Lynn Kelly reports of these silky pinks, whites, lavenders and yellows. Horticulture director Greg Lord advises calling ahead of your visit, because tree peonies have a short blooming period, and to visit in the morning or evening, when petals are arranged more tightly. Beyond the grounds: If you travel to Snug Harbor via the Staten Island Ferry, Lord recommends stopping at Postcards on the way. This September 11 memorial, located on the St. George Esplanade, boasts an incredible view of Lower Manhattan from its manicured grounds. 

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