This garden is an 86-acre sanctuary of natural and cultivated land and the borough's only public garden. Since opening in 1977, its English perennial border has become one of the largest in the city.
Inside the conservatory, exotic blossoms change with the seasons. Rolling lawns are dotted with specimen trees and bordered by wetlands and woodlands. The garden also includes the White Garden, Butterfly Garden and Herb Garden as well as the Pond Garden, the Rose Garden and the Sensory Garden, specifically designed to enhance the experience of the physically challenged visitor. In the reception hall are changing exhibitions on horticulture, such as Mechanical Gardens, a view of forgotten mechanical relics in America's natural landscape and shows featuring the work of artists interested in the nature. The phenomenal new exhibit here is the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden—a subtle juxtaposition of plantings, architecture and rock garden, it may be the garden's single most impressive feature.
Family programs and special events at the Staten Island Botanical Garden include composting and recycling demonstrations, spring plantings, fall tree tours, plant and bulb sales and lectures and field trips, as well as holiday and other seasonal events. The Home Composting Project, available to Staten Island residents, explains how to turn organic material like food and garden and yard waste into an excellent natural fertilizer. Vermi-composting, or composting with worms, is a workshop topic especially popular among children.
The Discovery Classroom: This program is held both indoors and outdoors at the garden. In addition to the courses offered through the Traveling Gardener, classes include Start Growing, Trees, and Sensory Awareness, all of which utilize the Conservatory, Lion's Sensory Garden for the Disabled, The Traveling Gardener: From October through April, the garden's teachers come to schools to present Plants That Dance or Pumpkin Seeds and Autumn Leaves for young children, and the Great American Desert or Christopher Columbus: Accidental Horticulturist for older children. Basic Botany is available to children at all grade levels.
Curriculum Assistance to Teachers the Compost Demonstration Project teaches the 3 Rs—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—the fun way.
All programs include pre- and post-lesson materials. The Staten Island Botanical Garden also offers a summer youth employment program for at-risk teens, a landscaping and greenhouse program.
Most programs: $2-$4 per student; composting classes: free
Teachers must be present