This fall, check out what’s blooming at Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers, New York.
The property was purchased in 1899 by Samuel Untermeyer, a successful attorney and astute investor. In 1916, he hired William Welles Bosworth, a Beaux-Arts architect and landscape designer who had planned the Rockefeller gardens at Kykuit to create the "finest garden in the world."
The expansive property originally featured a 99-room mansion on the grounds, which has since been demolished, however, the gardens have been painstakingly restored to their original grandeur. Today, the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy welcomes 100,000 visitors a year and is one of the only great gardens in America that is free to the public.
Multicultural in design, the property is a retrospective of the formal gardens of Persia, India, Pakistan, Spain, and Italy, and evokes the wonders of the ancient world. Influenced by a traditional mid-eastern Garden of Eden theme, the space resonates as a symbol of peace throughout different cultures.
The Walled Garden is an example of the finest Persian garden in the Western Hemisphere. The Vista, located off of the lower terrace of the Walled Garden, leads to a breathtaking staircase down toward the Hudson River. The Ruin Garden takes residence within the walls of the old roofless Gate House on the Carriage Trail. Graffiti within its walls was intentionally left as a preserved artifact. Flowering plants, ornamental grasses, and stunning water features, fountains, and falls grace the structures throughout this 43-acre horticultural masterpiece.
Stephen F. Byrns, President of the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, was formally trained as an architect with a special interest in historic preservation. After visiting the gardens, he decided to start the Conservancy to preserve the property. "It took over my life. I retired from my architectural firm to manage it. It's a true labor of love," says Stephen.
Public and private tours and special affairs are held throughout the year, including events like sunset yoga and bird walks. The grounds attract all types of interest groups, from garden clubs to historical societies, and there are plenty of opportunities for volunteers as well.
The trip to Yonkers from Northwest Bergen is only about 45 minutes via Rt. 87. Plan a quiet morning or afternoon visit to relax and refresh your soul. You will feel like you're worlds away.