While balcony container gardeners enjoy their small-space urban gardens, sometimes a few container plants on an apartment balcony above a busy street just isn’t peaceful enough. Balcony gardeners might not be able to have a peaceful, large garden, but there are public gardens and arboretums near every major city. Don’t just fawn over pictures of luxurious gardens, get out there and enjoy a day at a public garden! You may even bring some gardening inspiration home to your own balcony container garden.
If you live in or are visiting the New York City (Staten Island) area, why not visit the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden?
- Snug Harbor (aka Sailors Snug Harbor) opened in 1833 as a home for aged sailors, and in 1976 it was opened to the public as a park. It merged with the Staten Island Botanical Garden in 2008 to become an 83-acre park and botanical garden. There are 26 buildings in the park, each architecturally significant (there are Greek Revival, Baux Arts, Italianate and Victorian buildings).
- The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden opened in 1999. It is the only garden you need to pay to see in the park. It is the only authentic scholar’s garden in the United States: It was designed by Zu Gwongwu and built by 40 Chinese artists. The garden’s design is based on the famous Suzhou Couple’s Retreat Garden built in the 18th Century during the Qing Dynasty.
- The formal Richmond County Savings Foundation Tuscan Garden is based on the Villa Gamberaia in Florence, Italy.
- The Connie Gretz Secret Garden is inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s "The Secret Garden." It is a half-acre garden with a hedge maze made of boxwoods.
- The Healing Garden is a memorial to the 267 Staten Islanders who died on September 11, 2001. The trees are meant to symbolize life and renewal.
- The Carl Grillo Glass House is a 2,800-square-foot greenhouse used to propagate and exhibit rare plants.
- Other notable sites at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens are the White Garden, Rose Garden, Allee and Weissglass Gazebo. The buildings around the park also have beautifully landscaped grounds.
- The Isabel Crowley Library has more than 800 books about horticulture. Make an appointment to read the books (they are only available for research, not for checkout).
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden Quick Info
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, New York
Admission is FREE except for the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden ($5 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, and children under 12 are free)
Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am-5pm
Days they’re closed