The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Now Features a Scenic Overlook

Written By Kristina Kennedy-Aguero | December 02, 2019 | Published in Neighborhood News
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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden continues its modernization program with the installation of the Overlook, a sculptural path with unique views and exquisite plantings. This urban botanical garden, which covers 52 acres, is in Mount Prospect Park in the heart of Brooklyn. It was founded in 1910, and since then, the park has changed and evolved with the times. The current renovations have been underway for ten years and some parts of the park have been closed during different periods throughout this year. The Elizabeth Scholtz Woodland Garden will be completed later this month as the final phase of the project, and the modernized gardens will likely attract even more visitors year-round.

The new Robert W. Wilson Overlook has sculptural retaining cast stone walls that follow the curves of the switchback path which extends over 600-feet and has a gentle incline. Along the pathway, there are integrated benches providing the perfect spots for the visitor to stop and contemplate the beauty around him. The new walkway is wheelchair-friendly and so accessible to all. It will also make access between the Cherry esplanade on the lower level, and the upper walkway easier and so improve visitor flow. It also creates new communal spaces for all to enjoy.

The architects, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi of Weiss/Manfredi, designed the overlook to harmonize with the nearby Diane H. and Joseph S. Steinberg Visitor Center, which is also their creation. In a joint statement, the designers stated that their aim was to create “a collection of framed views that reveal the magic of the Garden.” They added that “The Overlook redefines the relationship between visitor and garden, creating an environment that introduces visitors to beautiful plantings across visual planes that rise from the ground to eye level. This adds to the cinematic experience of the Garden, with its ever-evolving landscape, and invites visitors to find new visual relationships and conversations between the diverse plantings.”

Over an acre of new green space has been created on previously undeveloped land, and the Overlook is now home to more than 40,000 new plants. From the highest point, visitors will be able to enjoy spectacular views of the Cherry Esplanade, at its finest when laden with blossom in springtime, the Cranford Rose Garden, and the rest of the gardens. In the late summer, the thirty-four recently planted crape-myrtle trees will grace the garden with their spectacular white, pale pink, and lavender-colored blooms, then provide rich fall colors, and even in the winter, these trees offer a unique appeal, with their strange exfoliating cinnamon bark, and their unusual multi-stem form. Among the recently planted bulbs, there are Tennessee coneflower, Wild strawberry, and Texas sedge. A combination of perennials and native grasses will help to prevent erosion as well as attracting diverse insects and butterflies to develop a resilient ecosystem. The plantings were designed by Toby Wolf of Wolf Landscape Architecture who states, “It will create a nearly continuous ribbon of meadow-inspired gardens, each a distinct response to its site and the Garden’s mission.”

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