As winter slowly turns to spring, observant eyes might find snowdrops and crocuses poking up through the soil, followed closely by daffodils, tulips, forsythia and flowering cherry and dogwood trees that announce the arrival of the new season. Soon the entire park will blossom into a floral display of vibrant colors. To help you make the most of this floral celebration, we’ve compiled a list of our top bloom destinations, both hidden treasures and classic favorites.
Grand Army Plaza
Grand Army Plaza is Prospect Park’s formal entrance, and features some of the park’s most impressive architecture, and ornamental flowers and trees. Among them, early-blooming cherry trees and daffodils are the first to arrive, along with colorful tulip displays. April welcomes Eastern redbud and pink-flowering cherry trees that give way to the white Silverbells in May. As summer approaches, watch for the clustered flowers of the bottlebrush buckeye.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside
At Lakeside, the spring blooms attract park visitors and wildlife alike! Park goers who visit the greenroof at Lakeside in early spring will be able to catch the vibrant yellows, oranges and reds of Witch Hazel. As April advances, Lakeside receives a fresh coating of delicate white blossoms from the many Serviceberry, Chokeberry, Witch Alder, and Foxglove Beardtongue that are buzzing with activity, as well as blooms of yellow from the Fragrant Sumac and Spicebush. Late spring brings with it a crescendo of flowering dogwoods and dewberries, and those with a keen eye might just spot a few of the subtle, deep purple blossoms of Lakeside’s paw paw trees!
The historic Litchfield Villa is a well-known destination for flower lovers. In April, tulips electrify Carmen’s Garden, located directly in front of the pre-Civil War-era mansion, heralding the arrival of warm weather. In May, blossoming crabapple and hawthorn trees paint the landscape in pinks and whites, while annual displays replace the fading tulips. Be sure to head around back to see cream-colored flowers of the Korean dogwood trees.
Passing through the Meadowport or Endale Arch in mid-April, visitors are welcomed by the peach and white bouquet of magnolia and dogwood trees that line the Long Meadow’s north end. The warmer weather brings out lilacs, as well as the hanging flowers of the yellowwood tree. Later in the season, enjoy the view under the shade of a flowering linden tree, and take in the sweet scent of the oakleaf hydrangea near the Picnic House.
Those with an adventurous spirit should head across Binnen Bridge and past the Nethermead to the Park’s woodland Ravine. Look for spicebush with its clusters of white flowers and small red fruits that are rich in nutrients for small birds. Marshy areas are home to chokeberry, a deciduous shrub native to New York, and also American elder. Both shrubs feature berries that attract a variety of wildlife, making them instrumental in the health and diversity of Prospect Park’s natural habitats.
Prospect Park is home to a few dedicated flower gardens. In addition to Grand Army Plaza and Carmen’s Garden, Bartel-Pritchard Square features a variety of springtime blooms. The arching beautybush sprouts small pink flowers with a reddish bud, and it’s hard to miss the old-fashioned weigela, an ornamental shrub with beautiful trumpet-shaped lavender flowers.
Plan your visit to Prospect Park.