A Country Garden High Above the City
Excerpted from Rooftop Gardens: The terraces, conservatories, and balconies of New York
BOOK EXCERPT © ROOFTOP GARDENS BY DENISE LEFRAK CALICCHIO AND ROBERTA MODEL AMON, RIZZOLI:
NEW YORK, 2011. ALL IMAGES © NORMAN MCGRATH FROM ROOFTOP GARDENS, RIZZOLI: NEW YORK, 2011.
Though the time had come to move back into the city, the owners of this apartment could not bear to totally leave behind the pleasures of country living. They spent years looking for a place that incorporated the comfort and easy sophistication of a stylish cottage surrounded by a garden, albeit in the middle of a teeming metropolis.
Visible from almost every room, the terrace garden designed by Halsted Welles Associates is approximately two thousand square feet and wraps around the apartment, affording ample space for repose and private outdoor living.
The enclosed conservatory, designed by architect Robert Stewart Burton, is a space where inside and outside delightfully converge. The space is used all year long; here, the owners grow amaryllis, paperwhite narcissus, and cyclamen during the winter months, and a camellia comes into bloom every February and March.
Beyond the branches of fruit trees brushing against the conservatory in early spring, one can see evergreens that have weathered the winter in deep containers. After a few days of warm sun, fruit trees and spring bulbs burst into flower. These are followed by snowdrop anemones. In late April arches of lattice and trellis are covered in climbing vines, completing the impression of a country garden coming into bloom.
In subsequent months the garden is enhanced by plants that are both bright and sweetly scented, including fuchsias and moonflowers. Nicotiana, sometimes called “flowering tobacco,” provides the look of carefree beauty. Honeysuckle and fragrant petunias come later, along with clematis and heliotrope. As spring gives way to summer, lilies and campanulas add their bell-like blooms to the display. At night the white flowers of viburnum seem to glow, making a perfect backdrop for
outdoor meals or quiet contemplation.