Drifting into autumn

The September equinox is almost upon us and the days will start getting shorter, so I made the most of my late summer day off and took a trip to the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art boasting 3 medieval gardens. It’s easily accessible from Manhattan – just a short trip on the A train to 190th and a leisurely 10 minute stroll through Fort Tryon Park will get you there in just over 30 minutes. Photographs taken inside cannot be published, but this was taken at the entrance to the building before I went in:

The building itself is lovely, with impressive architecture and fascinating exhibits, but it was the gardens I really came to see. The Cuxa Cloister Garth Garden, divided into quadrants with a fountain at the center, didn’t disappoint. The plantings were lush and the flowers combined to form a delicious display of late summer colour.  The Bonnefont Cloister Herb Garden underwhelmed, feeling slighly unloved, although perhaps this was not the best time of year for them. There were some delicately-scented jasmines and citrus in terracotta pots that were appealing. Sadly, the Trie Cloister Garden was under renovation; it was a tangle of overgrown planting so I shall have to revist them, perhaps in the spring.

There was, however, an unexpected and thrillingly floriferous section of Fort Tryon Park that more than made up for the lacklustre Cloisters gardens. In order to get to the Cloisters, the most direct route is to follow Stan Michels Promenade, but if you’re like me, you’ll take the not-so-direct route through the Heather Garden, and you will be richly rewarded. The borders were brimming with the most exquisite blooms, striking foliage and architectural elements. Roses dripping off branches released their delicate fragrance as you walked by; drifts of Japanese anemones danced in the lightest of breezes; pastel Colchicum glistened on a background of Lambs Ears Stachys monnieri ‘Hummelo’; pink Sedum bashed up against dark purple Coleus and the Bishop of Llandaff Dahlias and California poppies added vibrant splashes of gay abandon that would make the steeliest of hearts soar. The entire garden was teaming with wildlife and the chirping crickets almost made you forget the noise of the planes overhead and the taxis two blocks away. I shot this footage in the Heather Garden:

There are a few shaky-cam moments as I didn’t have a tripod, but I think it captures the heady joy I experienced in this little gem of a garden. I hope you can make a visit before winter sets in.


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