Posted On: June 13, 2014

Summer Annual Planting

Madison Square Park is showing some touches of color in the gardens now that temperatures have heated up. Our garden crew has worked hard over the past week planting 2,400 annuals throughout the park and on Worth Square. We take pride in our annual displays as they reflect Madison Square Park’s history. The gardens within the park are designed in Victorian style gardening. Gardens of the Victorian Era were filled with exotic and tropical plants from all over the world. Many of these plants are the annuals you see in the park today.

Every year we try to plant a new specimen of the genus Solanum. This year we have Solanum wendlandii starting to climb up the Elm stump near the reflecting pool. This purple flowering giant is native to Costa Rica. Look but don’t touch, these plants feature large spines that help them climb.

Two varieties of pineapple lilies (Eucomis) were planted in the park this year. These plants, originating from South Africa have tropical looking fleshly leaves with flower spikes that look like miniature pineapples. These plants can be seen in the knot garden near the Shake Shack and the playground.

We are featuring some wild orange coleus around the park. ‘Smallwood’s driveway’, ‘Sedona,’ and ‘Iridescent Glow’ have been planted throughout the park. Coleus was favored by Victorian gardeners because of its colorful foliage and shade tolerance. Coleus was also a favorite for indoor terrariums and prized because they were so easy to propagate from cuttings.

Worth Square has some incredibly interesting plants. Abelmoschus ‘Cream Cup,’ a hibiscus relative, will produce huge cream colored flowers throughout the summer. If you look closely you will notice that the flowers have a beautiful red eye in the center. Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant,’ known as the super sized elephant ear, is certainly one of the craziest plants we’ve tried to grow in the park. Each individual leaf can reach an excess of 4′ x4′. Hailing from Australia, we have Anigozanthos’Bush Pearl,’ more commonly known as Pink Kangaroo Paw. These cute pink flowers resemble the paws of our favorite marsupial. We hope that these flowers are effective at attracting butterflies and other pollinators to the park. Last but not least, we are trying to cultivate the Musical Note Plant (Clerodendrum incisum), a rare shrub from Nigeria. We are looking forward to seeing its curious white flowers that resemble musical notes.