The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields
Welcome to some of the most distinctive and admired gardens in New York City, comprising more than two-thirds of an acre of walks, lawns, and a fine collection of garden standards, rare hybrids and native American flora.
The gardens’ southwest orientation and heat-retaining brick walls create a warm microclimate, allowing a wide variety of flora and fauna to thrive. This green space, with its abundance of berries and flowers, provides a small but important way-station for migrating birds and butterflies during the spring and fall seasons. Over 100 species of birds and 24 types of moths and butterflies have been recorded.
Except on holidays and special occasions, the Barrow Street and North gardens are open to the public daily from 8 am until dusk, and the Rectory Garden is open from 10 am till 5 pm Monday through Thursday.
The Church of St. Luke in the Fields welcomes the public to its private gardens, and is pleased to open them to the community as a place of respite. Food is allowed, but smoking and alcoholic beverages are not. Please refrain from cellphone conversations and from feeding the birds or squirrels. Dispose of your trash. The gardens are a pet-free zone; service dogs are not allowed on the South Lawn, for the sake of the children who play there.
Donations to help maintain the gardens are always welcome and may be dropped in the box on the garden shed or mailed to:
The Church of St. Luke in the Fields
Attn: Garden Fund
487 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014.
Donations may also be made online by clicking here and selecting "Gardens" from the "Donation Destination" drop-down menu.
For more information on the gardens, contact Maureen Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.633.7817
About the Gardens
The landmark Church of St. Luke in the Fields, built in 1821, stands on its own two-acre city block, along with ten surviving row houses of similar age. The beauty and integrity of the block is unique. According to the New York City Landmarks register, it is the “most significant architectural ensemble in the West Village and the earliest in date.”
The first verifiable planting in the Gardens at St. Luke’s was in 1842: a tiny slip taken from England’s famous Glastonbury thorn. The thorn survived until 1990, when it was blown over in a windstorm. Its progeny lives on in the North garden. In the 1950’s Barbara Leighton created the Barrow Street Garden, after buildings on the site were razed. In 1985 the gardens were expanded under the directorship of Deborah Peterson; they were further enhanced by construction of the Allée and hardscape under the direction of Jack Siman. The Gardens are currently undergoing a renovation and redesign by Susan Sipos, our garden designer and horticulturalist.
The Gardens at St. Luke’s are comprised of six basic areas:
1. Through the gate on Hudson Street lies the Barrow Street Garden. This area has paths for strolling and enjoying flowers up close and benches for quiet reflection. The four quadrants are planted to delight in all seasons. The newly planted tree at the center is a Yellowwood, native to Kentucky.
2. Following the path northwest, one encounters the Gene Morin Contemplation Corner. Plantings in shades of pink, lavender and white surround the bluestone patio. The sculpture, donated in 2012 in memory of Irving Gruber, is by Canadian artist E. B. Cox.
3. Within view is the South Lawn, where adults can relax and watch babies crawl on the grass and learn to play. The trees and shrubs in this area are selected to attract birds and butterflies.
4. Around the corner southward from the South Lawn one enters the Allée, planted with 22 cherry trees (Prunus serrulata amanagawa), which blossom in a burst of pink and white in mid-April.
5. The Rectory Garden entrance is located just south of the church on Hudson Street. This is the oldest planted area and features our special rose garden. The ruin wall, a fragment of the former parish hall remaining from the fire of 1981, creates a backdrop for plantings in this area.
6. The North Garden, through the gate on the other side of the church, is dominated by two 100-year-old Silver Maples (Acer saccharinum). They shade what was once part of the church’s burial grounds. On weekends the walkway behind the gates of St. Luke’s School is open to the public.