J'Adore: Lynden Miller's Wagner Park in New York's Battery Park

Hudson River and Battery Park in lower Manhattan; photo by L Anne Enke

“People need places to go in a city and sit on a bench and be connected with nature,” says New York public-garden designer Lynden B. Miller.

Featured in Wall Street Journal’s article She Creates Urban Edens, Miller has published a new book “Parks, Plants, and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape” (Norton). In it, Ms. Miller talks trees and tulips and Taxus baccata. She also talks turkey about advocacy, fund raising (friends hurriedly cross to the other side of the street and hide their checkbooks when they see her coming), and what she views as the critical role public gardens play in a city. “It’s about quality of life,” Ms. Miller said. “In bad economic times it’s even more important that you keep your parks in good shape because people need them so much.

Ferry boat in New York’s Battery Park; photo L Anne EnkeThis concept resonates with me totally, reminding me that it’s places like my small Wagner Park in lower Manhattan, that create an oasis in the middle of life’s chaos. Miller is so right in saying that when our wallets are empty or low in funds, we can wander for free along landscapes that nourish our souls and our senses.

This is the other side of my neighborhood, far away from the grit and industrial banging of rebuilding the World Trade Center. It’s a calm place to reflect, to picnic, to hop a ferry boat to dinner at Liberty House, across the water in New Jersey, or perhaps a ride to nowhere. Anne

See “Parks, Plants, and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape” (Norton) at Amazon.

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World Financial Center in New York’s Battery Park City; photo via L Anne enke