Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Secret Garden In Greenwich Village, New York City

My husband and I met in the Greenwich Village neighborhood yesterday to go on a date --more about that on a future blog post. We were a little early, so we decided to walk around a bit and enjoy this charming neighborhood when we spied an unusual brick wall across the street that had an open gate. What could this be?

We walked across the street to see what it was and we saw this sign on the gate (all photos can be clicked on and they will enlarge) It was a beautiful garden of the Episcopal church Saint Luke In The Fields located at 487 Hudson Street.

We walked inside the gate --the early evening sun was shining very brightly over the garden

A flag stone path went right and left.

There are four quadrants inside planted with a large variety of shrubs and perennial flowers along with some annuals.

There are many benches to sit on and enjoy the cool shade and delightful views of the garden and all of its flowers, birds and butterflies. According to a brochure that I found near a garden shed there have been over 100 species of birds and 24 types of moths and butterflies sighted and recorded by garden volunteers.

The garden's heat retaining brick walls create a microclimate allowing a wide variety of flora and fauna to thrive in this green space in the bustling city.

An abundance of berries and flowers provides a small but important way station for migrating birds and butterflies during the spring and fall seasons.

There are rare hybrids and native American flora in the garden. According to the brochure the first planting was in 1942 of a piece of the famous English Glastonbury Thorn. The Thorn survived until 1990, when it was blown over in a wind storm. It's progeny lives on in the north garden.

We sat on a bench and observed this quiet peaceful scene, the only sound was the songs of the birds.

If you enlarge the photo below you can see there were other people enjoying the garden, writing in their journals, reading a book, sketching. I'd love to return one day to do the same!

Next are a few photo close ups of some of the flowers. Unfortunately, I only had my small pocket camera along with me this evening, but I hope I captured some of the beauty:







This was one of a few different gardens surrounding the church, which are comprised of more than three acres of walks, lawns and gardens. Some of those areas are open only on weekends and contain cherry trees and 100 year old Silver Maples. The garden we found is open 10AM until dusk, except on holidays and special occasions.

We entered the landmarked Saint Luke of the Fields church which was built in 1821. You can read about it's history on the church's web site on this link. I was enchanted to learn that One of the founding wardens was Clement Clarke Moore, a gentleman scholar of biblical Hebrew and Greek who also penned "Twas the night before Christmas," which was one of my favorite poems as a child.
The austere interior was wonderfully maintained. I was saddened to learn that in 1981, a fire destroyed much of the interior of the church, the second such fire since the church's founding, and after four years of fundraising and rebuilding, St. Luke's was reconsecrated.

A view of the back of the church and its organ.

The windows were thick wavy glass that looked out at the gardens on one side and the Saint Luke's school on the other.

The landmark sign that announces Saint Luke of The Fields as the third oldest existing church edifice in New York City. It was such a pleasure to find its beautiful garden that enabled us to enjoy a little respite before heading off to a special occasion, which I will be writing about soon.

I hope you also enjoyed these photos and I hope to show you some more "Secret Gardens" I have discovered in New York City in future blog posts.
I added this post to Susan of "A Southern Daydreamer" blog's "Outdoor Wednesday" group! Thank you, Susan, for hosting this wonderful event each week!
Please visit Susan's blog today to view more links to other blogs participating in "Outdoor Wednesday."

48 comments:

steviewren said...

I've learned from reading your blog that NY is full of secret places waiting to be discovered. You found a lovely secret garden.

Catherine said...

That was beautiful! I was relaxed just looking at the pictures.

Claudia said...

Once upon a time, I lived at Hudson and 10th St. I went to St.Lukes and frequently read in the garden. It had burned down before I left NYC and am heartened to see it back. Is that little house deep in the West Village still there? It used to be a blue cottage surrounded by giant sunfowers. Oh, I left a piece of my heart in the Village.

Melanie said...

What an oasis of calm and tranquility you found. I like "Twas the night before Christmas" too. I hope you do manage to go back there and sit and relax.

Lucy said...

Wow. My blood pressure is way down now between that beautiful and that rendition of Unchained Melody. Some things are worth the word 'awesome'. Isn't it interesting how the human spirit needs nature and beauty in both the world and music. I mean it really NEEDS it. Very nice.

Lucy said...

Meaning to say beautiful 'garden' of course. My fingers type faster than I think. That was a beautiful church, also. I like it when I'm somewhere and find one open and can just sit and contemplate.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Pat, That was a lovely post...there are so many beautiful places in the city.
♥, Susan

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pat, that is such a lovely spot, and it looked so peaceful. That truly is a "secret" garden in the city. What a treat! And I think it's the perfect spot for a date.
That's neat about the gentleman who wrote "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" having been a founder and early warden of the church. I'm glad they were able to rebuild it. I wonder what on earth happened that it would burn twice? It certainly is lovely. I liked the windows. Sometimes you don't need stained glass, particularly when surrounded by the beauty of nature like that garden. I also loved the stone paths and arbors.

Did you hook up with Outdoor Wednesday??? This is so beautiful that I know the participants there would love to see it.

XO,

Sheila... who shared Mr. Magpie's three hour jaunt to the Space Coast!

Tracy said...

What a beautiful secret place...it is refreshing to the spirit to just look at your photos here, Pat. To see it for real much have been heavenly! :o) Definitely a place to go back to "recharge the batteries". Thanks for taking us along... Happy Day ((HUGS))

happyone said...

Wow, what a beautiful secret garden. I would love to walk around in there. I love walking paths! :-) and am lucky to have many where I live in Maryland too!
Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.
I'll be back to read more of your posts and the past ones too when I have a bit more time.

JC said...

Thanks for taking me on a walk through that garden. I love brick walkways and older churches.

Marilyn said...

Hard to believe that NYC has such a serene & beautiful secret garden!! Who Knew.....
Love,
Marilyn
xxoo

ClassyChassy said...

Nice shots - relaxing to view the pictures of the walkway and gardens - such beauty!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

A beautiful secret garden, Pat...and I'm so glad you shared the secret! It looks like a wonderful place for a mid-summer date.

Cindy said...

You certainly found alittle jewel didn't you!? Your pics are so gorgeous! Thanks for the view of it. Hugs ~CINDY S~

Elizabeth said...

Lovely.
I've biked past but never been in. Have you been to the High Line yet?
let me know
so near our apartment!

Junie Moon said...

What a delightful respite to find in the city. Your post is aptly named. I love the connection with Clement Clarke Moore.

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Pat! You find a hidden diamond in the rough. Hidden behind a wall that most people walk by and never take a look. My gosh look at what they are missing. Such a beautiful piece of heaven right there off the street. So lush and green and vibrant. I bet you could smell the fragrances around you too. Great post and happy Outdoor Wednesday. Country Hugs, Sherry

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

I enjoyed your post so much, all the photos are wonderful, what a wonderful place you found!!!

Vee said...

Amazing what you find for us in NYC! I imagine that there have been more birds there than in the wilds of other locations. It's a beautiful garden and church with a rich history. I know that you'll be returning. Your little pocket camera did an excellent job for you.

Elisa Day said...

What a lovely secret garden! Your post is beautiful with all the images

Carolyn said...

I love this secret garden-it is beautiful!

Carolyn

prof en retraite said...

What a beautiful secret garden and what a gorgeous church! How wonderful to find such a terrific little corner in NYC! Thanks for sharng!...Debbie

louise said...

How wonderful to stumble across this urban paradise. x

LADY JANE'S EMPORIUM said...

Wow..that is truly a beautiful post! I especially love old churches! Someday I hope to get to New York...lol...I hear the shopping is wonderful too!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

What beautiful gardens! I imagine you must have been surprised to find so much beauty. I love our trips around New York. You truly have a great place to explore.

susan said...

Pat-I felt as if I had visited with you! One of the things I love about blogging is learning about things I might never see--and this is one. Loved the interesting note about "Twas the night..."!

Sue said...

Pat, this truly is a peaceful secret garden that you encountered. It is hard to believe that something like this exists in the city. hugs, Sue

M.Kate said...

I would love to go there Pat as you know I love gardens, and I would love to hear the love story too!! Happy weekend to you, love/M

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Very enjoyable post, what a treasure to find in the middle of the city!

Fifi Flowers said...

FAB place! The church reminds me of a church in Boston where there is a bust of George Washington.

ARLENE said...

As always, Pat, there is something to ooh and ahh over in your every post. What a tranquil oasis you've found here. And I loved the antique car post. Larry has Z28 Camaro (1971); we love classic and antique cars.

Regina said...

Beautiful garden. Thank for sharing.

Oliag said...

Charming! The Secret Garden was one of my favorite childhood books and I have always wanted a true walled garden...what a wonderful place to find by chance! Thanks for sharing it with us:)....and the music that accompanied my stroll through the garden was perfect!

Mary said...

What a beautiful spot. The church, too, is beautiful.

Tracy @ comfortandluxury said...

How beautiful. I have never been to NYC and the thought of living with such a dense population and all the concrete and tall buildings gives me the willies just a little bit. So I love knowing that there are places like this garden. What a lucky discovery for you!

Beverly said...

Pat, what a wonderful place to be able to enjoy as part of your special evening.

This place was surely created by love-filled hearts because it is beautiful.

Charli and me said...

This was so beautiful and interesting. What a lovely and peaceful place to visit. I love going through old churches too. They don't seem to make them like they used to with the traditional feel. Thank you so much for sharing all of these wonderful pictures. I feel like I took a stroll through that lovely garden and old church ♥

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Enchanting Pat! I really enjoyed this post! Thanks!

Linda Lou said...

What a beautiful spot, I love the Village, always wanted to live there in a brownstone, instead of Bay Ridge where I did live...amazing garden and love that church-I think I need a NY fix bad!!

aimee said...

how amazing! the gardens took my breath away! i love to garden. great pictures.
blessings,
aimee

Donna at Mourning Dove Cottage said...

What a beautiful secret garden! I love old churches too. It's amazing what you find in the city!

Hugs,
Donna

Cori G. said...

Hi Pat,
It looks like the garden and chapel were a date in if self. I would have been perfectly content to go home after that ;-).

How are you surviving the summer? We are boiling over...YUK!!!!

xoxo Cori

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Isn't it wonderful to have such a hidden gem in the city? I was walking around in that garden a couple of weeks ago and only one other person was there reading at a bench.

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

Wow. Both the church and the gardens are just beautiful. What a special place.
The one flower with the pink top and the little white blooms is very unusual. I'm wondering what it is.

aliceinparis said...

A peaceful oasis in the hustle and bustle of New York! Thanks for discovering it and sharing. I LOVE wee places like this.Your pictures captured it beautifully:)

Paz said...

I love gardens, especially secret ones. ;-)

I love that there's so much to see and do in NYC!

Paz xoxo

Mary Twiss Connolly said...

I surfed across your blog post today in doing research on secret gardens in NYC (I hope to be there for New Year's Eve) and I just want to tell you how beautiful your photos and what a lovely blog site you have. I've bookmarked it and will come back to peruse for research on upcoming NYC trips. Thanks!